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Art & Culture / Culture Talks

Ben Kelly on The Haçienda & British Design at the V&A

Conversations with leading cultural figures

Ben Kelly Design are one of the most respected British design firms working today, but despite having been responsible for some of the most groundbreaking interior designs of the modern age – they cut their teeth designing the interior of The Haçienda...


Ben Kelly Design
are one of the most respected British design firms working today, but despite having been responsible for some of the most groundbreaking interior designs of the modern age – they cut their teeth designing the interior of legendary Manchester club The Haçienda – they choose to remain an entity that works firmly under the radar, allowing their interventions into space to speak for themselves.

"Ben Kelly talks about the strange game of mirrors played between contemporary design and the zeitgeist it represents"

It‘s rare indeed then that Ben Kelly agrees to be interviewed, but in view of the fact his team are responsible for creating the stunning interior of the V&A’s major new show British Design: Innovation In The Modern Age, AnOther managed to convince the leading creative to explain his approach to creating a space that houses exhibits as seemingly disparate as Margaret Calvert’s Children Crossing road sign, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costume and Johnathan Ive’s original Apple Mac.

Here, he tells John-Paul Pryor about the strange game of mirrors played between contemporary design and the zeitgeist it represents, and how that plays out in an exhibition that explores over half a century of innovation: from tensions between tradition and modernity in the years following the World War II, to the more radically subversive nature of the British design from the 1960s to the 1990s, and beyond.

The V&A's exhibition, British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age runs until August 12, 2012.

Suggested Reading: Read our Vintage Style post of Manchester musician and Haçienda performer Ian Curtis here.

Directed and produced by John-Paul Pryor and Craig Thomas

John-Paul Pryor is European Editor at Flaunt Magazine, Editor-at-large at Port Magazine and Editor, Contributing Art Editor to AnOther Magazine and Art Director at Topman Generation. He writes for Flaunt, Dazed & Confused, Port,Tank, AnOther, Nowness and directs fashion shoots for Topman Generation. His debut novel Spectacles is out now.

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