DATE & TIME
Monday 25th September 2017
8:45 am – 10:00 am
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL
Enjoy an exclusive private view of the exhibition, and discover how plywood has shaped contemporary design, from the 1850s to today.
VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The V&A is located in the Brompton district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in an area that has become known as « Albertopolis » because of its association with Prince Albert, the Albert Memorial and the major cultural institutions with which he was associated. These include the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Royal Albert Hall.
The V&A has 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of human creativity, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium and drawn from across Europe, the Middle East, India, China, Japan and many other parts of the world. The collection includes paintings, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, furniture, fashion and textiles, theatre and performance, photography, glass, jewellery and metalwork. Many of the V&A’s collections have national status including the Art of photography, British watercolours and drawings, ceramics, fashion, furniture and woodwork, glass, jewellery, metalwork including silver, portrait miniatures, sculpture to 1914 and digital art.
PLYWOOD: MATERIAL OF THE MODERN WORLD
SPONSORED BY MADE.COM
SUPPORTED BY THE AMERICAN FRIENDS OF THE V&A
From cars to aeroplanes, furniture to architecture and hand-making to digital manufacture, plywood is the often-overlooked material that has helped shape the modern world.
Plywood is made from thin layers of wood veneer, glued together to form a light and strong form of engineered wood. The versatility of plywood and the fact that it does not shrink or warp has lent itself to its use in everything from a 1908 plywood-bound book printed during the Nimrod Antarctic expedition, to a 1917 moulded canoe and a 60s British racing car.
From its early beginnings in the 1850s, plywood has faced many reputational transformations; from a cheap product that was often hidden or maligned for its inferiority to solid timber, to the material prized by mid-century modernist such as Marcel Breuer and Charles and Ray Eames and by today’s flourishing maker movement.
The exhibition space of the Porter Gallery is used to its full potential, with over 120 objects on show, including a model of the fastest flying aeroplane of the Second World War, the de Havilland Mosquito and a full-scale 1930s prefabricated house.
Christopher Wilk, exhibition co-curator and Keeper of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion at the V&A, said: “Plywood is such a common, every day material that most people barely notice when it is used. One could say that it has been hidden in plain sight. Since Victorian times, it has been one of the most popular and versatile materials used in manufacturing, and by designers and architects. Today it is more popular than ever.”