Story: Jack Foley
THE V&A, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, is presenting
a uniquely touchable contemporary design exhibition, Touch
Me, which explores the pleasures and sensations of touch,
looking at the designed world around us now and what the future
The event runs from June 16 to August 29, 2005.
What would it be like to squeeze a doorbell rather than press
it? Or stroke the TV to turn it on?
Would people rather kiss when they meet or shake hands?
From site specific art and design commissions to games, live
science experiments and a garden of the senses, Touch Me is both
fun and thought-provoking as it looks at contemporary design products
and installations that relate to our sense of touch.
The first section displays around 90 designs in a series of roomsets
including a living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, office
and garden shed.
In the kitchen are Julia Leihener's Thups, drinking glasses which
rest on the thumb for the new 'thumb' generation of texters and
computer gamers; BlackBerry mobiles are in the office; Yoshi Saito's
Hug chair is in the living room, a contemporary take on the traditional
kissing seat which encourages people to hug each other when they
sit down, and pleasurable sensations are in the bedroom - from
silks to sensual jewellery.
An interactive garden of the senses fills the second section
of the exhibition where visitors can play games, take part in
live science experiments and engage all their senses in an immersive
Visitors will be able to challenge
each other to a game of 'chicken' on the Painstation, play table
tennis with a difference on MIT Medialab's PingPongPlus or take
part in a human-scale 'PacMan' game using Spacehoppers.
Touch Me features work by a diverse range of international furniture,
product, fashion and interaction designers including Hella Jongerius,
IDEO, Karim Rashid, Marcel Wanders, Matali Crasset, Paul Cocksedge,
Gitta Gschwendtner, Tokujin Yoshioka, Naomi Filmer and Shelley
The exhibition also showcases a range of innovative designs for
the future - from the Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins,
Interaction Design Institute Ivrea and MIT Medialab.
Touch Me explores the social, scientific, emotional and personal
aspects of how we relate through touch and raises a series of
questions about the future.
Do we live in a touch-starved society? Can 'virtual'
touch interaction ever be a substitute for real touch? What are
designers doing to improve the quality of how we touch and use
products of all kinds?
Can our sense of touch help us develop stronger emotional and
social relationships with each other?
V&A South Kensington
London SW7 2RL
0207 942 2000.
Opening times: 10am to 5.45pm daily (10am to 10pm Wednesdays
and the last Friday of the month)