Dezeen Magazine

Wouldn't it be nice... at Somerset House

An exhibition entitled Wouldn't it be nice... exploring the common ground between art and design, including work by Jurgen Bey, Dunne & Raby, Martino Gamper and Martí Guixé, will open at the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House in London this September.


The exhibition will feature new and recent work from ten practitioners and will be accompanied by performances, installations and talks.

Above: Jurgen Bey, The Modelworld Maquette, 2007
Top image and below: Bless, Fat Knit Hammock, 2007


Wouldn't it be nice... will also incorporate new commissions by Martino Gamper, Bless, and Graphic Thought Facility.


All photographs installation views, Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève by Francis Ware.

The following information is from Somerset House:


Constantly changing contemporary art and design exhibition at Somerset House:
Wouldn’t it be nice… …Wishful thinking in art and design
17 September – 7 December 2008

Somerset House announces a major exhibition of contemporary art and design full of wit and subversion. Featuring new and recent work from 10 leading practitioners from the world of art and design, the exhibition explores the common ground between the two fields. The exhibition’s content will constantly change and develop with a programme of performance-based installations during its run. Wouldn’t it be nice.. will also include new commissions from Martino Gamper, Bless, and Graphic Thought Facility.

Above and below: Alicia Famis, China Five Stars, 100 Ways to Wear a Flag, 2007


The MacGuffin Library
One performance-driven installation will involve the design and fabrication in the gallery of 20 objects using a rapid prototyping machine. The MacGuffin Library by Onkar Kular and Noam Toran is based on a concept attributed to Alfred Hitchcock; a MacGuffin is a cinematic plot device that exists solely to drive the story forward. Kular and Toran will write 20 film synopses and then manufacture the accompanying collection of MacGuffins.

Below: Dunne & Raby and Michael Anastassiades, Alignment, 2007


Korean artist Chosil Kil will spend a week in residence in the gallery, building a cocoon from found material as part of her project building shelters which visualise her assimilation process as a foreigner arriving in London.

Below: Dunne & Raby and Michael Anastassiades, Statistical Clock, 2007


In the exhibition:
Jurgen Bey, Bless, Dexter Sinister, Dunne & Raby with Michael Anastassiades , Alicia Framis, Martino Gamper, Ryan Gander, Martí Guixé, Tobias Rehberger and Superflex. Commissions by Graphic Thought Facility and performance installations by Noam Toran and Onkar Kular, Chosil Kil, !bäke and Europa.

Below: Dunne & Raby and Michael Anastassiades, Hideaway Type 2, 2004


The ‘wishful thinking’ in the title refers to a determinedly optimistic approach to production, whether political, social or conceptual. The exhibition will show how contemporary art and design have recently been fostering some intriguing shared ideals; rejecting traditional definitions of their practice and instead treating their work as an investigation.

Below: Tobias Rehberger, MoF 94,7%, 2007


Offering open-ended readings of the works, the exhibition focuses on art and design’s cultural role as a medium for social experimentation, and as a catalyst for questioning and change. Rather than delivering straight answers, it offers a space for reflection.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of talks given by artists, designers and academics. Details will be announced at

Above and below: Martino Gamper, Gallery Furniture, 2007


Wouldn’t it be nice.. embodies the ambitions of the Embankment Galleries programme at Somerset House to be fast-moving, cross-disciplinary and content-generating. It will be characterised by unpredictability; where new routes of practice are forged, new works created, and ideas turned over.

Below: Ryan Gander, I couldn't See But A Day Of It (Multiverse), 2007


Wouldn’t it be nice… is the second exhibition in the new Embankment Galleries at Somerset House, devoted to a broad spectrum of the contemporary arts and organised by Somerset House Trust under the curatorial direction of Claire Catterall. The programme launched in April 2008 with the hugely successful Skin + Bones, Parallel Practice in Fashion and Architecture which closes 10 August.

The exhibition is curated by Katya García-Antón and Emily King, and produced by the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève and the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich. The exhibition formed part of the wider project AC*DC, a collaboration with the Geneva University of Art and Design, including an international conference and a series of master classes. It comes to Somerset House after successful shows in Geneva and Zurich. This is the exhibition’s only venue in the UK.

Wouldn’t it be nice…
…Wishful thinking in art and design
Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, ed.
With contributions from Katya García-Antón, Emily King and Christian Brändle
Design: Graphic Thought Facility, 320 pages, JRP|Ringier.

Wouldn’t it be nice…
17 September – 7 December 2008
Opening hours 10.00 – 18.00 daily
Late opening Thursday until 21.00
Tickets £8, concessions £6
Somerset House,
Victoria Embankment,
London WC2R 1LA

For the exhibition Somerset House is partnering with London Design Festival, 13 – 23 September 2008.