Paul smith exhibition


We had the opportunity to attend the Paul smith exhibition at the design museum in London. This was to be our first inspiration towards the new window display project. What I noticed was how the museum had tried to replicate how his studio and office would have looked, and it was interesting to see how his mind worked and how he generated ideas for his collections. In the recreated studio it had his sketchbooks and his bodice blocks and what his first collection looked like. It was fascinating to read about how his small collection began to pick up and investors became interested in his work and wanting to do collaborative work, soon enough ‘Paul smith’ became a brand and a household name. My favourite collaborative pieces outside of fashion were the Evian bottles and the mini that both showcased the signature Paul smith pattern. In another room there displayed were different pieces from his collections over the years and there was so much to take in it was inspiring and humbling to see how it all began and progressed. My initial expectations for the exhibition were that it would just be a timeline of his collections, but the design museum really impressed me in being able to show all the aspects of what Paul smith is, and that helped me gain a greater perspective on his work. In the last room I believe I saw the walls were jam packed with posters and notes that were personal to smith such as birthday messages and well wishes, I thought it was interesting to end an exhibition to show his achievements through his own personal collection of things his kept over the years and I was impressed about how much there was. There was even an opportunity to take a picture with a cardboard cut-out of the man him-self and I certainly didn’t hesitate to do so.

So what?

What I learnt about the exhibition was how attention to detail can go a long way for the observer. It made the experience more personal and just that it was an ‘experience’ rather than what most exhibitions tend to do which is to only display the work. Therefore it made the experience different from what I expected and that was credit I can give to the museum as they took into consideration what the experience would be like for the observer, the museum succeeded in making it interesting and not dull. It made me learn things about Paul smith I never knew before, such as how he created his first collection and displayed it folded on a bed in France. I liked how we were given permission to take pictures because there was so much visual information that I knew I wouldn’t have been able to document if I didn’t have my camera. I knew the pictures allowed me to document exactly what I needed and it was easier to write about because I could remember what pieces caught my attention. However what didn’t work so well was the way images were used around the exhibition instead of the real thing for examples Paul smith explained how all his stores are different from the other and it would have been a bonus if the design museum had recreated one his stores just like they recreated other aspects of his work space and that could have added to the interaction experience. As for myself I think what didn’t work so well was the way I wasn’t able to illustrate what I was observing whilst exploring the exhibition, that could have helped me draw on my experience of the whole exhibition. I really did enjoy the exhibition and it was worth the effort to go, as I have been to the design museum before, I have to say the exhibition made me have an appreciation for it.

Now what?

The main learning element I took away from the exhibition was how if I wanted my window project to be a success I would have to make it interactive and attention grabbing, which is exactly what the exhibition did for me as an observer. I could have improved my experience by doing some observation sketches and drawings so I could have another form of documentation aside from photography, and that would have shown my skill to reflect on what I’d learnt. I think what I would have done differently would have been to take time and read the notes of information next to each piece of work. Because I just kept taking pictures and not reading the notes I feel like that was just hindering my learning because I didn’t allow myself  to read the information that was available to me at the first hand source. I know I would have been able to remember certain texts of information better about what was on display if I had read it extensively. What I would like to do now is to start my sketchbook and document what I observed at the exhibition, I would also like to start thinking about the new brief and how to immerse myself in the new project. I would finally like to blog about what I did.

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