V&A museum acquires most headline-making designs of 2016

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V&A museum acquires most headline-making designs of 2016

London's V&A museum has purchased a number of design objects that "mirrored society" in 2016, including a burkini, a Vote Leave leaflet, a tile from Grayson Perry's holiday house and the flag of the Refugee Olympic Team.

The items were acquired through the museum's Rapid Response Collecting programme – a strategy for collecting objects as soon as they become newsworthy to reflect the changing way fast-moving global events influence society.

V&A rapid response collecting of important artefacts of 2016
London's V&A museum has acquired a number of objects that "mirrored society" in 2016, including a burkini designed by Aheda Zanetti to encourage Muslim women to take part in sports

Each of the items, which the V&A's Corinna Gardner – acting keeper of the design, architecture and digital department – describes as worth "more than their material value", are now on show inside the museum's dedicated gallery.

"Design is a mirror to society," said Gardner. "The objects that the V&A collects through its Rapid Response Collecting programme are evidence of social, political, technological and economic change and therefore mean more than their material value."

V&A rapid response collecting of important artefacts of 2016
Another acquisition is an orange and black flag designed for the Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016

"These objects have become newsworthy because they advance what design can do, or because they reveal truths about how we live today and how we might live tomorrow," she continued.

The objects in question include a burkini – a full-body swimming costume – designed by Aheda Zanetti to encourage Muslim women to take part in sports.

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A Vote Leave campaign leaflet distributed in the run-up to the referendum has also become part of the museum's collection

However, the garment caused upset in France this summer when the so-called "burkini ban" meant women were fined for wearing one in public.

The burkini is joined by an orange and black flag designed for the Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016, which is intended to represent the life jackets worn by asylum seekers.

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A tile made for the exterior of A House for Essex is also included in the list

This was also the year that Britain voted to leave the EU, and to reflect this, the V&A collected a Vote Leave campaign leaflet distributed in the run-up to the referendum.

Emblazoned with the words "Help protect your local hospital", the leaflet became part of a parliamentary inquiry which questioned the absence of hard facts in the cases made for and against leaving the EU.

A less politically fuelled addition includes a green tile made for the exterior of A House for Essex – the holiday home designed by artist Grayson Perry in collaboration with FAT Architecture studio.

V&A rapid response collecting of important artefacts of 2016
The 3D-printed handlebar used by cyclist Bradley Wiggins when he broke the prestigious Hour Record is also on show inside the museum

Other recently acquired objects on display include Mon Mon, an internet-enabled soft toy activated via Chinese social media platform WeChat and a 3D-printed handlebar used by cyclist Bradley Wiggins when he broke the prestigious Hour Record.

The V&A is thought to be the first major museum in the world to adopt a rapid response strategy, which is radically different from traditional methods for curating design and manufactured objects.

Other items acquired under the scheme so far include a set of false eyelashes by pop star Katy Perry and the first 3D-printed gun.

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V&A rapid response collecting of important artefacts of 2016