Sunday, 21 February 2010


We visited the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green today and thoroughly enjoyed the current exhibition, 'Sit Down: Seating for Kids', sponsored by Ercol. Designs by Charles and Ray Eames, Robin Day and Thomas Chippendale are amongst those featured. The main hall also plays host to the Ercol chair arch (pictured), commissioned by Wallpaper* magazine and previously exhibited at the V&A in South Kensington.

Curators Catherine Bornet and Noreen Marshall have created a show that brings a potentially dull subject to life, helped greatly by playful illustrations by Emma Houlston and 3D design from Wells Mackereth.

The show deserves extra praise for its efforts to engage children (and adults, of course) in the chair manufacturing process:

'The earliest of these seats (1680) look back to a tradition where designer and maker were the same craft worker. Even when individual furniture designers became fashionable and well known, like Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779), they usually began by learning practical techniques. More recently Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) was a jeweller and sculptor as well as a designer and Verner Panton (1926-1998) trained as an architectural engineer.'

Sit Down: Seating for Kids closes on 5th September 2010. Admission to the exhibition is FREE. V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA. Nearest tube: Bethnal Green. Open daily: 10.00 – 17.45, last admission 17.30. Switchboard: 020 8983 5200

Images from Emma Houlston's site