The Design Museum – Much ado about nothing (ish)…

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Despite the buzz about the new Design Museum which is all over my Facebook feed and some London based design magazines, the whole experience didn’t exactly live up to my expectations.

The architecture of the venue is beautiful, with a multi purpose staircase, a Guggenheim structure spin with the walkways spiraling upwards. The design however wasn’t that well thought out, a series of photographs on the second floor and a display of 6 designs on the third floor. When you get to the fourth floor you are bombarded with information, you don’t know where to look.

The Design. Maker. User exhibit delivered a rather delightful experience, even if the exhibition suffered due to the problem the entire venue had: small spaces and overcrowding issues.

Reaching the designated floor, audiences are meant to face a large crowd sourced wall that displays what design means to people. Bottle openers, cameras, denim jeans were hanging on the wall, giving us the chance to understand how design is an everyday thing.

Entering the overcrowded “labyrinth”, there was a high-tech section that contained the history of technology and multiple examples of how things are made, like this metal casting mould used to create a £50 pound orange squeezer.

Die-cut logos of famous brands were hanging from the ceiling all around and a Vespa Piaggio was placed above our heads, which I found amusing because they reminded me of a scene taken straight from Harry Potter. The remaining parts of the exhibition were mainly written type on walls, which were difficult to read due to people standing in front of them.

In conclusion, this journey started with a really good first impression with few enjoyable moments, and ended as a bitter-sweet experience…

…much ado about nothing!

Lights off! – The Shape Shifting square of Piccadilly Circus

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When talking about billboards and advertisement is impossible not to think of places like Piccadilly Circus (Also called “the mini time square of Europe”) where tourists all over the globe come to see the gigantic LED billboards and be amazed by the mesmerizing vibes. Tying to JP latest CTS about empty billboards, from this month throughout all 2017 the giant billboards that have lit up London’s Piccadilly Circus for more than 100 years have been switched off for renovation.

The six famous screens, which have long been a tourist attraction in the capital, are to be replaced by a single, large curved screen. Vasiliki Arvaniti, Portfolio Manager at Land Securities, which has owned the Lights since the Seventies, said: “This is a huge day for Piccadilly Lights and though it will be a strange feeling to see them go dark, we’re incredibly excited about their future” continues Arvaniti. Will this renovation affect tourism in London? Will this change affects the way tourists will relate to one of the most iconic sightseeing in the UK capital?

To answer the last question, it is necessary to talk about the ongoing changings this gigantic LED billboard has always gone through. Since the late 30’s, this square has always been linked to advertisement and product placement. As WWII started, Piccadilly’s lights went off and they were switched back on in 1949. During the early 50’s the first animated billboards started showing up until they started adopting video billboard back in the 1970’s. No major changes occurred since the 90’s, years where a slight billboard renovation came into place. Since then things did not change much, until now.

As we can see Piccadilly Circus went through different changings over the last fifty years or so, this year renovation is just part of an ongoing enhancement process of one of the top sightseeing in the capital. Go forward London.

1937

1937: Piccadilly Circus at night on New Years Day

1949

March 1949: The Piccadilly Circus lights were switched back on in 1949 having been off since the Second World War started

1959

January 1959: Piccadilly Circus is shrouded in fog in the late 1950s, with adverts for Bovril, Schweppes and Coca-Cola visible

1998

November 1998: Land Securities, which owns the site, was given permission to perform the overhaul by Westminster Council

2006

July 2006: The normally-lit neon signs are seen switched off at Piccadilly Circus after a power cut hit part of Central London

2014

November 2014: A familiar scene in Central London of Piccadilly Circus – and heavy rain sweeping over the area