Foster + Partners exhibition opens at Aram Gallery in London

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Foster + Partners opens exhibition of industrial design at Aram Gallery

British architecture firm Foster + Partners has opened the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to its industrial design work at London's Aram Gallery (+ slideshow).

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
Foster + Partners' Arc table for Italian brand Molteni&C is among the pieces on show in the firm's Craft + Manufacture exhibition

Titled Craft + Manufacture and running until 2 July, the exhibition explores the interaction between the firm's architecture and design work, as well as between the processes of design and making.

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
Foster + Partners' new table lamp, Eva, is also on show at the Aram Store in London alongside the exhibition

It includes key pieces like the Arc table for Italian brand Molteni&C, Foster 502 chair for German furniture company Walter Knoll, Solus Chair from Foster + Partners' architectural work for Cathay Pacific and even the specialised drafting tables the practice designed for its own offices in 1981.

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
Craft + Manufacture displays pieces from Foster + Partners' new Maggie's Centre for Cancer Care in Manchester

"Industrial design occupies a special position at Foster + Partners, it operates both within – supporting the architectural projects – and outside the practice, working with industrial partners to develop new products," said Mike Holland, head of industrial design at Foster + Partners.

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
The Flo light, in a range of finishes, was Foster + Partners' first collaboration with Italian manufacturer Lumina

"It is this broad approach and the diversity of scale, whether it be products, furniture, building components or transportation, that enables us to bring fresh thinking to each one of our projects," he added.

One example comes from Foster + Partners' yacht designs, which are represented by two scale models within the exhibition.

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
The firm's designs for a fleet of YachtPlus vessels in 2010

The projects, which began with the design of the motor yacht Izanami in 1993 and extended to a YachtPlus fleet in 2010, taught the team how to bend aluminium and led to the creation of the firm's 20-06 chair for Emeco in 2006.

The all-aluminium chair has been in the news this week following an out-of-court settlement between Ikea and Emeco, which accused the Swedish retail giant of copying the design.

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
Other furniture pieces in the exhibition include the Foster 502 chair designed for furniture company Walter Knoll

"A huge amount of knowledge [was] gained from what can be perceived as a rich man's toy," said Holland.

Foster + Partners was founded by British architect Norman Foster in 1967 and has been responsible for buildings including London's Gherkin and Millenium Bridge, New York City's Hearst Tower and Berlin's Reichstag.

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
A prototype frame for the Solus Chair, created for Cathay Pacific's airport lounge to provide space and privacy

The Aram Gallery exhibition shows Foster + Partners' processes through the display of photographs, models, prototypes, parts and finished works.

The evolution of the Arc table is explored through early prototypes, while photography, models and a finished kitchen table take visitors inside one of Foster's most recent projects, the Maggie's Centre for cancer care in Manchester.

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
A number presentation models created by the practice, including its proposal for a new London bus, are also on display

Craft + Manufacture also previews a set of tactile taps with textured metal surfaces in a variety of finishes, which Foster + Partners will launch in September with Spanish manufacturer Porcelanosa.

Craft + Manufacture: A Foster + Partners retrospective at the Aram Gallery in London, UK
Specialised drafting desks designed by Foster + Partners for use in its own studios

Concurrently to the exhibition, Foster + Partners is launching two new lamps, collaborations with Italian manufacturer Lumina, downstairs in Aram Store.

Eva is a a tabletop design that emits a gentle glow through a glass tube, while Dot is a pendant lamp that appears like a disc of light.