Experiments in Design looks at the design process and working practices of the Bloomsbury Groups experimental design collective, the Omega Workshops, established by the art critic and painter Roger Fry in 1913. Initially set up to help struggling young artists make a living, theWorkshops were a laboratory of design ideas, creating a range of objects for the home, from rugs and linens to ceramics, furniture and clothing all boldly coloured and patterned with radical abstract designs. The artists, including Fry,Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, were not allowed to sign their work; everything produced by theWorkshops bore only the greek letter Ω. A small coterie of artistic patrons would visit the showroom in Fitzroy Square, interested in buying a Post-impressionist chair or a Futurist dinnerservice. The wider response was mixed, with the Daily Mail writing in November 1913, would you like your house fitted with post-impressionist furniture, carpets and hangings? and adding, under a picture of the main showroom, the warning: the kind of room in which you would live that is if your nerves could stand it.
Author: Alexandra Gerstein
Publication date: 2009