IN REVIEW : MAKERS HOUSE

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06.06.17

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IN REVIEW : MAKERS HOUSE

Located in what was once the original Foyles bookstore of Londons' Charing Cross road – a location steeped in history as for so many years the bookshop, opening its doors here in 1929, sat alongside Central St Martins. Founder William Foyle declared it to be 'the world's first purpose-built bookshop' and it quickly became one of the capital's most well-known literary landmarks.

Makers House: 'Inspiration & Process' was a unique collaboration between Burberry and the Henry Moore Foundation. Inviting visitors into an intertwining world of art and design heritage, the exhibit acted as a simultaneous showcase of one of Britains’ greatest artists, and one of it's oldest and most renowned fashion names. Directly following on from Burberry’s London Fashion Week show in February, which was held within the same space and inspired by Moore's unique use of texture and form, the seven day exhibition displayed the brands latest collection directly alongside Moore's original works. Offering an in-depth explanation of the process Moore undertook with each of his bronze sculptures, from conception to eventual casting, the show also offered unprecedented insight into Burberry’s inner workings. By placing garments within this context, the often closed world of fashion was demystified, and presented as something which can be as inclusive and appreciated as any other form of art or design.

'Family Group'. 1949, cast in 1950–1

By celebrating Moore’s work and the impact he continues to have to this day, Burberry subtly reiterated their own significance, and intention for continued longevity and integrity. As you entered the space, the ‘Plimsoll Blue’ (by Paint & Paper Library) brick walls were aligned with Moore exhibition posters stretching from the 1940’s to the upcoming ‘Becoming Henry Moore’ opening on 14 April at the Henry Moore Studios & Gardens. Each one an exceptional example of graphic design, boldly informing the observer of the immense breadth of Moore’s career and provoking undeniable awe. Burberry undertook substantial works to modify the space, including removing a whole wall to create a mezzanine overlooking the cavernous main atrium. As well as commissioning set design studio Karmer Sets to build a pair of circular metal stairs (pictured below), and cut round holes in the ceiling so visitors could get a birds eye view of exhibits.

The clear centrepiece of this space was 70 couture capes hung on mannequins in the main auditorium which were flooded with light from the huge glass roof above. Placed alongside the works of Moore this dramatic piece of staging drew immediate focus on the painstaking skill invested in both creative endeavours. The décor surrounding the exhibits, crumbling brick work painted with deep greens and blues, alluded to the hours and hours that were toiled by artists and designer alike in the pursuit of perfection. Burberry is a brand with a storied history in craft. This experience, which in drawing parallels between two creative mediums, subtly educated on the wider picture of the art and design process, demonstrating a distinct concern for it’s future. It also showed the impact a brand can have when audiences are able to understand how a product has come to exist.

A glass cape handcrafted over 80 hours

Visitor numbers in the shows short span stretched to somewhere in the region of 30,000, with nearly 40,000 Instagram posts on the subject at the time of writing this article. Figures that will surely translate into yet more followers for Burberry and Moore. Burberry have sat at the forefront of fashion and design for a long time and the first to adopt digital and social media opportunities, streaming the first ever show live on Facebook. This exhibit was another way to put the customer at the heart of the brand and encouraging a sense of inclusion. Once again Burberry are leading the way in innovation by implementing their new ‘see now, buy now’ approach.

Moore exhibition posters from the 1940's to present day

‘Becoming Henry Moore’ opens on 14 April at the Henry Moore Studios & Gardens For more information visit https://www.henry-moore.org/

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  • Words & Photography by Samuel John Weeks
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