london design festival is collaborating with 14-18 now, the uk’s arts programm for the first world war centenary – on a commissioned project inspired by the first world war concept of dazzle.
the creative studio at the v&a is being “dazzled” throughout the nine days of london design festival by design studio pentagram in a commissioned project inspired by a type of experimental camouflage used during the first world war.
the idea of “dazzle”, a camouflage painted on to the surface of ships, was pioneered by british artist norman wilkinson, who prepared numerous designs for vessels, including us merchant ships, targeted by enemy u-boats. drawing on avant- garde artistic movements such as cubism and vorticism, as well as animal camouflage, these bewildering shapes and angles were designed to confuse the enemy as they struggled to make out the dazzle ships against shifting waves and clouds.
pentagram’s approach was to re-interpret the construction of dazzle camouflage from a purely graphic origin into a typographic exploration. using the wilfrid wilson gibson poem “suspense” as its source, pentagram’s design abstracts the letterforms and words into an immersive experience by placing the visitor inside the dazzle room.
dazzle is the culmination of the dazzle ship series co-commissioned by 14-18 now, the
uk’s arts programme for the first world war centenary, and liverpool biennial. “since 2014 we have launched five hugely popular dazzle ships, in liverpool, london, edinburgh and this year a dazzled fire boat in new york,” says jenny waldman, director of 14-18 now. “we are thrilled to be working with london design festival and pentagram to give audiences the chance to reflect on a crucial moment when art and design contributed to saving lives in the first world war.”
dazzle is part of the dazzle ship series co-commissioned by 14-18 now and liverpool biennial.
supported by bloomberg philanthropies.
14-18 now is supported by the national lottery through arts council england and the heritage lottery fund, and from the department for digital, culture, media and sport.
bloomberg philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. the organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: arts, education, environment, government innovation, and public health. bloomberg philanthropies encompasses all of michael r. bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. in 2017, bloomberg philanthropies distributed $702 million.