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Great Expectations: New British Design Stories

Start Date 07 August 2003
End Date 01 February 2004
Venue Powerhouse Museum
Location Sydney, Australia
Designer Casson Mann
A white-lit table with black frame showcase various exhibits including a bike an Mac computer at the front of the image. The table is surrounded by grey and brown angled chairs.

An ultra-chic dog house, fashion that travels as an air-mail envelope, a self chilling drink can…over 100 examples of intriguing and ground-breaking British design were displayed in Great Expectations, a new and highly interactive exhibition.

Taking its inspiration from the banquet scene in Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations was a feast of design excellence laid out on a vast glowing table. Designed by acclaimed team Casson Mann (responsible for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s stunning new British decorative arts and design galleries), the exhibition invited visitors to take a seat and, through speakers and screens set into the chairs and table, learn more about the ideas that inspired these creations and the processes involved in bringing them to life.

A cornucopia of products and a vast array of design disciplines were on display from names such as Stella McCartney, Tom Dixon, Jasper Morrison, Jonathan Glazer and Hussein Chalayan, and covering architecture, fashion, product and web design, interactive media, advertising, software, graphics, film and TV.

Some products at first glance may have appeared quite ordinary but appearances are deceptive. Visitors were able to discover the aluminium can which is actually self chilling, Marc Newson’s funky looking bike also made from aluminium which glows in the dark, or the laundry basket that not only weighs your laundry but brings the clothes up to you as you empty the basket!

The exhibition contained video screens with the latest Bjork video combining robotic animation and real people, digital animation in the award-winning Guinness advertisement, where surfers ride a wave that appears to contain a herd of stampeding horses, and Michael Young’s upmarket dog house for Italian design manufacturer Magis.