Disegno 2013 Review

Disegno 2013 Review: Ab Rogers


25 December 2013

To mark the end of 2013, Disegno is looking back at the year in review. We approached a collection of of international designers, architects and fashion designers to each select an event, phenomena or project that they feel have most shaped their industries over the past year, and document their choice in a short text and accompanying illustration.

Our second review is owed to Ab Rogers, a London-based designer and the head of his eponymous studio. Rogers is the head of the Royal College of Art's Interior Design Programme and is widely celebrated for his exhibition design. This year, he was responsible for the vibrant, colour-saturated design of Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out, an exhibition at the Royal Academy that celebrated the career of Ab's architect father Richard Rogers.

Ab Rogers' 2013 selection: The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns at the Barbican

There was much to be inspired by and fall in love with in 2013. Luis Laplace’s extraordinary conversion of an 18th-Century farmhouse in Bruton for Hauser & Wirth, where he peeled back the layers to let the house talk and become a new artists residence with integral installations by Pipilotti Rist and Guillermo Kuitca - a true Gesamtkunstwerk; Jenny Jones' poetic conversion of a London dairy into a beautiful, sensitive art space; the exquisitely curated retrospective of Mira Schendel at the Tate Modern; the birth of the Shard; and Michael Anastassiades incredible crisps of marble that defy their materiality.

However, if I had to choose one thing that has had a great impact on design in 2013, I would say the exhibition The Bride and the Bachelors: Duchamp with Cage, Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns, which was part of the Dancing around Duchamp season at the Barbican. It was an exhibition of ephemeral concepts drawn around a dialogue of collaboration in celebration of a moment where painting communicated with performance, music, cinematography, light and costume. The incredible curation by Carlos Basualdo and design by international contemporary artist Philippe Parreno united all of these ingredients together, exquisitely placing the work in an extraordinary space in a way that exploited its architecture and brought the gallery to life.

Visiting it was liberating and life altering, expressing so much more than just the sum of its parts. Its design was responsive, had a strong, readable thesis at its heart, and delivered an immersive experience that steeped you in the ideas at the core of the work.