V&A Bags Inside Out
by Studio MUTT

Studio MUTT were appointed by the V&A in 2019, through an invited competition, to design Bags: Inside Out, a major exhibition dedicated to bags and their impact on culture and society, curated by Dr Lucia Savi.

The design of the exhibition responds to the particular duality of bags - at once symbolic and intimately private - by creating two very different experiences across both levels of the Fashion Gallery.

The existing lower level of the gallery is made up of 12 existing cabinets arranged in no particular sequence. Studio MUTT embraced the oddness of the space, looking to the poche plan of the museum as inspiration to create a series of semi-transparent rooms to form curatorial sections.

The first section of the exhibition on Function examines bags as practical objects designed to hold our belongings. Screen-printed blockwork and lintel patterns on the fabric walls create a surreal functionality in the space.

Status and Identity, the second ground floor section, looks at the role of the bag in celebrity culture and its notoriety among the political and societal elite. A series of arched openings in the green fabric walls frame views of the objects, which are elevated on new classical-inspired plinths.

Upstairs, the third section of the show looks at the Design and Making process from sketching to sampling, sewing to selling. Four large glass cabinets have been clad as an imagined Parisian fashion house and an anonymous industrial building, reflecting the different ways in which bags are conceived and made

The buildings are split and pulled apart to create alleys and are arranged as a miniature cityscape through which visitors are encouraged to wander and explore.

Finally, The Makers’ Table, a supersized, theatrical recycled workshop table, presents an opportunity to get up close to the techniques and materials used in making bags. The tabletop contains sketches, samples, tools and prototypes from international fashion houses and emerging designers.

Author Studio MUTT
Client V&A
Exhibition Curator Dr Lucia Savi
Collaborators setWorks (Main Contractor), V&A Design
Studio (Graphic Designer), Studio ZNA (Lighting Designer),
Flemming Associates (Project Manager), DHD Service Ltd
(AV Hardware Designer), Designer Cultureshock (AV Software)

Year 2020
Surface 665 sqm
Budget £288,000 
Photography FRENCH+TYE

The Ordnance Pavilion Green Gallery YAP MAXXI Courtyard Transversal Collaborations Cinemapepe Belvedere Lesser Houses Out of Character

a project powered by Itinerant Office

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