Between them they run some of London’s great cultural institutions, but now the people in charge of Tate, the V&A and English National Ballet are going back to the drawing board to become designers for a day.
They are among 10 cultural figures, including Young Vic artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah and Serpentine Galleries CEO Yana Peel, teaming up with a designer to create a permanent piece of work for this year’s London Design Festival.
Festival chairman — and noted designer — Sir John Sorrell asked them to come up with “a legacy piece of design” using American red oak which they could potentially pass on to the institutions they lead.
All the designs will be built by staff at Benchmark Furniture in Berkshire, whose founder Sean Sutcliffe said he hoped the blueprints would offer “a brief glimpse into the personal thinking of some of the leaders of London’s major cultural institutions”,
Science Museum chief executive Sir Ian Blatchford, who is also taking part in the project, has been paired with designer Marlene Huissoud who will build a wooden beehive.
He said: “The Science Museum is passionate about creating a sustainable future, and biodiversity and agriculture are central concerns.
“Marlene will create a stunning beehive, reminding our visitors, in the heart of this vast city, that these humble insects are vital allies, and also her work is just so gloriously organic and intelligent.”
The V&A will host this year’s festival, which runs over nine days in September, with work also going on show at different sites across the capital.
The museum will also be home to a series of talks, debates and workshops as part of the festival’s Global Design Forum.
Last year, around 588,000 people took part in the festival which was first set up in 2003.
Its director Ben Evans said: “London has the biggest creative economy in the world, and design is a key part of it. London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London’s design excellence in a period when showcasing creativity is even more important.”