Foster + Partners at Aram Gallery (Review)


Foster + Partners at Aram gallery review
12th May- 2nd July

Now I know what you are thinking…This is just a high end furniture store utilising its space to put on exhibitions…and you would be right, that is exactly what this is, but it is also so much more…

Sitting in the middle of Covent Garden, Aram Store has been cleverly (and quietly) moulding itself into a multi-layered creative hub for contemporary designers. Putting on 5 selective shows per year, from May to July it is award winning British architectural firm Fosters + Partners time to shine.

Upon entering I was greeted with the option of champagne or beer (and not a plastic cup in sight!) and a warm smile. The bottom floor was a mix of the Aram stores own budget obliterating sublime furniture (I stepped on a carpet the price of a very nice car and quickly retracted my unworthy foot!). Makingtheir debut in the central space of this floor are Foster + Partners “EVA” lamps for Lumina. These table top clear cones sit inside a Perspex box with a black bottom making them stand out.

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In a clever bit of curating the next two large floors are filled to the brim with…more Aram Store Furniture. At this point, loud but not overbearing music starts wafting out and canopies magically float under my nose (and into my mouth) every 30 seconds. The only hints that an exhibition is actually happening are the small TV’s on each floor playing animations of Fosters + Partners designs. After perusing for a while you step out on to the 4th and final floor…and here’s where the magic happens.

Foster + Partners bring some of their finest work together to present a glossy, gorgeous exhibition. From the industrial, interior, residential, urban and even political, Fosters+ Partners have a hand in designing everything. With mini-models, sleek photos and actual final pieces displayed it makes for a visual overload.
Right off the bat The 80’s “Techno Nomos Table” (designed by Norman Foster in the late 80’s) sits in front of you in all its shiny glory. Even if you did not know Fosters + Partners before you will probably come across some design or building that you recognise which gives the whole show an almost retrospective feel. Covering the entire right facing wall is a photographic “scrapbook” of their triumphs dating back to the 1967. Along the far left hand side sits a long row of mini models and tiny scaled buildings. It is easy to get lost in this Mini Metropolis complete with 2d floor plans.
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If you don’t mind stairs (the lift although exquisite is made for no more than 3 people so you might have a long wait) Then Foster + Partners at Aram gallery is well worth a viewing. Mixing a retrospective with a new product launch and placing it in the middle of a successful contemporary design store is borderline genius. It’s also nice to see a successful British design firm putting their own vast back catalogue on display. The show is on until July 2nd.

Oh and did I mention…it’s free!