TfL to host pop-up design festival on London’s Regent Street

Transport for London is hosting a pop-up design festival on London’s Regent Street next month, with a look at vintage tube carriages, classic advertising posters and fabrics and talks on the future of transport technology…

The Transported by Design festival will take place on Sunday July 3 as part of Regent Street’s Summer Streets programme, which will see the street go traffic free each Sunday in July. An exhibition stretching from Picadilly Circus to Oxford Circus Tube station will be divided into three zones exploring the past, present and future of London’s transport design.

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Poster by Edward McKnight Kauffer (1930). Lead image: Tube map by Harry Beck (1931), courtesy of Transport for London
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Vintage Tube carriage. Image: @ltmuseum

Historic designs will include horse-drawn buses, a 1920s Tube carriage, staff uniforms and classic advertising posters and maps, as well as ‘Moquette Land’ – a showcase of fabrics used across the transport network, from the distinctive orange and brown design used on seating to colourful textiles from the sixties and seventies.

A section on contemporary design and technology promises a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at how contactless payment works while a ‘London 2040’ zone will imagine the future of transport, with talks from Google and Citymapper as well as VR experiences and a ‘sensory cinema’. There will also be games and activities for children and families throughout the day.

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Drawings showing proportions of the London Underground roundel. Courtesy of Transport for London

The exhibition is part of an 18 month-programme of events hosted by TfL to promote its rich design heritage. Earlier this year, it released a series of posters celebrating the centenary of Edward Johnston’s iconic typeface for the London Underground, with designs by Spin, The Beautiful Meme, SEA, Magpie, Monotype and more.

It has also launched Designology, a new exhibition at London’s Transport Museum which aims to highlight the work that goes into designing London’s transport network. Open until February 2017, the show explores ‘the art and aesthetics behind the functional and familiar’ with a look at roundels, road signs, wayfinding, maps and vehicles from Santander bikes to Routemaster buses.

Included in the exhibition is a pop-up design studio which will host residences, workshops and talks from TfL’s design and research teams. Events in June and July will focus on social behaviour, wayfinding and mapping – design and communities manager Ann Gavaghan will explain how journeys can be improved through good design on June 18 and TfL’s visual services team will present a behind-the-scenes look at their work from July 6-8.

Tube Carriage
A horse-drawn carriage, courtesy of TfL

Transported by Design runs until December this year – in Autumn, TfL will unveil a commemoration to Frank Pick, the former managing director of London Transport who defined the brand’s visual identity in the early 20th century (and commissioned Johnston’s famous font).

Moquette Booklet
A booklet of moquette (upholstery fabric) designs for TfL. Courtesy of TfL
Brightest London and Home by Horace Taylor 1924
Brightest London and Home by Horace Taylor, 1924. Courtesy of TfL
1970s London Underground ticket machine from London Transport Museum's Desingology exhibition
A 1976 ticket machine, on show in the Transport Museum’s Designology exhibition. Image by Lucas Sage, courtesy of the Transport Museum
Original wood blocks cut to produce details for murals in Charing Cross underground station by David Gentleman, 1976 -1979. Image by Luca Sage, courtesy of London Transport Museum
Original wood blocks cut to produce details for murals in Charing Cross underground station by David Gentleman, 1976 -1979. Image by Luca Sage, courtesy of London Transport Museum
Letters showing patterned fabrics used on London's Tubes, buses and Overground trains
Iconic fabric used for seating on London Tubes, buses and overground trains, on display in Designology. Image by Luca Sage, courtesy of London Transport Museum

For more info about the Transported by Design programme, tfl.gov.uk

Designology is open until February 2017 and entry to the museum costs £17. For details, see ltmuseum.co.uk

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