R for Repair: London x Singapore is the second edition of the R for Repair exhibition, opening on 17th September at the V&A London. Running until 2nd November, the exhibition shines a timely spotlight on consumerism by showing how, with a little ingenuity, cherished but broken objects can be given both new meaning and a fresh lease of life.
Presented by DesignSingapore Council (Dsg), National Design Centre (NDC, Singapore) and the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A, London) the second edition of the project makes its international debut at the V&A. Co-curated by Hans Tan Studio (SG) and Jane Withers Studio (UK), as a London x Singapore exchange, R for Repair: London x Singapore will be shown during the London Design Festival 2022, and in conjunction with Singapore Design Week.
The original exhibition debuted at NDC in January 2021. Initiated by Hans Tan Studio and commissioned by Dsg, the project sits within a growing landscape of initiatives designed to encourage a repair culture. As we address global waste output and the need to rethink our relationship to objects, R for Repair embraces our attachment to things and explores how creative repair can both preserve meaning and breathe new life into our possessions.
For the first edition of R for Repair, there was a call out for people to submit broken objects as well as share the stories that gave these items significance. The objects were then passed on to designers for creative repair, with the brief of giving them a new persona or form while respecting the owner’s attachment.
For LDF 2022, this edition of R for Repair will include ten items repaired by ten different designers, alongside three repaired objects from the original exhibition in 2021. All final repaired objects will feature in an exhibition at the V&A from 17 September to 2 November 2022. Everything on display will be returned to the owners thereafter.
The charm of ‘R for Repair’ lies in the stories behind the objects and their owners’ attachment to them, ranging from oddities (a wooden puffin, for instance) to the ordinary (a green glass bottle, a dog ball). The rich histories that accompany the objects, despite their fractured state, add a unique sense of character and sentiment to the items, inviting us to rethink the ways in which we, as a society, relate to old and damaged objects and ascribe value to the material items in our lives. Even a humble plate can tell an epic story, such as the tea saucer included in the exhibition that was smuggled out of Paris’ iconic Maxim’s restaurant by actress Jane Birkin in the 1970s. Donated by Andrew and Karen Birkin, this memento to the fashion muse will be repurposed by designers Studio Dam.
Stories of personal loved ones and memories of celebratory life events are also attached to the various objects in the exhibition. These include a grandmother’s no-longer-working camera, which will be redesigned by Singaporean experimental architect and designer Syafiq Jubri – whose work focuses on drawing and mechanical design; and a shattered wedding glass, which will be redesigned by London-based multidisciplinary artist, Attua Aparicio Torinos – who works at the intersection of design, craft and art.
The owners have kept these objects, despite the fact they have lost their utility, highlighting an unseen element – an emotional connection – between object and owner. By entrusting these cherished broken objects to the designers, the owners are taking a leap of faith – demonstrating the belief in the value of creative repair, not only to preserve, but to add a new layer of memories.
Presented by DesignSingapore Council, National Design Centre (SG) and the V&A (UK). Curated by Hans Tan Studio and Jane Withers Studio.
The V&A (London) is a leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.8 million objects, books and archives that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. The museum houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance.
Hans Tan (Singapore) is a designer and educator whose work tiptoes on the boundaries between design, craft and art. He believes that design not only helps us “do” but also “understand”. The embedded narratives in his works comment on design and its industry as a phenomenon, especially in the context of heritage, consumption and waste.
Jane Withers is a leading design consultant, curator, and writer. Jane Withers Studio provides design-led strategy, concept development, curation and creative direction to international cultural and commercial clients. The Studio has a particular interest in raising awareness of environmental issues and inspiring change through design.
Name: Jane Withers Studio
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