Perfect products: The best in modern industrial design

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A new exhibition highlights the best in modern industrial design. Here, its curator picks his Top 10.

The Serpentine Gallery first opened its doors to the public in 1970.

That summer, visitors flocked to the defunct 1930s tearoom in Kensington Gardens to pore over a ground-breaking collection by recent graduates from art colleges across the country. Since then, this lustrously located exhibition space has played host to some of the world's most celebrated – and attention-grabbing – contemporary artworks. Be it Cornelia Parker's 1995 installation The Maybe – in which the Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton was suspended in a glass box, four feet above ground level, apparently asleep – or In the Darkest House There May Be Light, a collection of works from artists including Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol, brought together by the show's curator, Damien Hirst.

In recent years, the Serpentine has attempted to broaden its remit – going to great efforts to introduce architecture and design to its programme. The first major step in this direction came in 2000, with the launch of the Pavilion Commission. An annual architectural show, this project, held in the grounds of the main gallery, kicked off with an imposing open-air construction from Zaha Hadid. For a few days, nearly 10 years ago, this deliberately temporary edifice stood side-by-side with the main building – and every year since, other architects, high-profile and otherwise, have invented their own eye-catching pavilions, the most recent of which was a huge, partially aluminium construct resembling a meandering pool of water running through the park gardens, masterminded by the Japanese partners Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.

While notions of design have crept into the gallery's schedule through the Pavilion programme, this weekend marks another landmark for the gallery, which is fast approaching its 40th anniversary, as it launches its first-ever exhibition solely dedicated to modern design.

Design Real is curated by the lauded German industrial designer Konstantin Gcric. Speaking from his studio in Munich, Gcric explains the concept behind this notable event. "This exhibition talks about the meaning of industrial design today," the 44-year-old begins. "It is an investigation into how industrial products fit in our complex material world, and the effect these products, individually or as part of a wider framework, have on our daily lives.

"Almost all of the 43 items I have chosen were first produced in the last decade, and every single one of them is in production today," Gcric continues. "Some of them are familiar; they are things that we come into contact with in our daily lives. Others have a far more remote connection with our lives – we rarely see them up close and may not even know that they exist." With this in mind, the items in Gcric's collection range from instantly recognisable bits of Ikea furniture to ambiguous-looking computerised gadgets.

As well as technological and aesthetic value, Gcric celebrates simplicity of form, and the economical, social and environmental credentials of each object. Many of those taking pride of place in his collection, such as the aluminium aircraft shipping container, combine all of the above. "This object," Gcric says, "is rarely given much consideration, yet it is integral to the business of import and export, and has a significant impact on the global economy." These structures are designed to be durable enough to withstand constant movement, but light and compact enough not to consume additional fuel or space. They are also made to be easily recycled, which, Gcric says, raises possibilities about the future of industrial design. "This is what excites me," he concludes. "Simple forms with complexity behind them. That is what truly great design is all about." Design Real runs until 7 February at the Serpentine Gallery, London W2. The exhibition will be open until 8.30pm on 3 December with a 20 per cent discount on selected Serpentine Gallery limited-editions.

See for details

Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Jude Law in Black Sea


In Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before

Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops


Arts and Entertainment
Scare tactics: Michael Palin and Jodie Comer in ‘Remember Me’

TVReview: Remember Me, BBC1
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game