The exhibition Design for Thought: Contemporary Product Design from Britain is a timely and illuminating example of how the recent infusion of different cultures within the British design scene has turned London into a hothouse of design, absorbing a remarkable spectrum of inputs and influences. Ranging from photographs and videos through prototypes to actual products, the works presented here reflect the spirit of a new generation of British designers whose enthusiasm for, and deep curiosity about, the power of design is clearly evident. What makes them stand out is their critique of philosophical and social issues that are often ignored by the world of mass production and the global market, which are more typically driven by the forces of consumerism and fashion. The results of these new British initiatives, as illuminated here, are sometimes surprising, often humorous, and always thought provoking. And their critical outlook has already begun to infiltrate the international design scene, making the timing of this exhibition particularly opportune.
Design for Thought comprises two adjoining chapters connected by this common theme. Found/Made/Thought presents the work of the London-based Industrial Facility studio, headed by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin . A graduate of the Royal College of Art's Industrial Design Department, Hecht is known for his work on the cutting edge of technology with the multinational firm IDEO. PopNoir features projects by the largest group of young designers working under the umbrella of "critical design" ever to be exhibited together. Most of these are graduates of the Royal College of Art who studied with Anthony Dunne , a founding member - with Fiona Raby and others -of the College's Computer Related Design Research Studio and an influential teacher in its Design Products Department, as well as the newly appointed Head of its Interaction Design Department. Together, these artists reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity that enriches London today. Benefiting from these sources and resources, Design for Thought challenges the boundaries of contemporary product design and conveys the vibrant energy of the center of world design which London today has surely become.
In organizing the exhibition, we have enjoyed the enthusiastic support and assistance of the British Council, and we are grateful to them for their participation and especially for their financial support for the exhibition's publication and for related ancillary programming. We are also grateful to the donors to the Museum's 2005 Exhibition Fund, whose financial support has made the exhibition possible. Finally, we acknowledge the work of Alex Ward, the Museum's curator of design and architecture and curator of this exhibition, whose capacity for surfacing what is new and exciting in the world of design and bringing these international developments to Israel enriches our program greatly. Alex and all of the Museum staff members who worked with him in realizing this project deserve our warm gratitude.