V&A Commission

British design entrepreneur Benjamin Hubert, of experience design agency Layer, collaborated with iconic German brand Braun to create FOIL, an immersive installation installed in the V&A’s Tapestries.

The large-scale installation comprised of 50,000 mirror-finish stainless steel panels on a 20-metre by 1.2-metre undulating ribbon that ran down the length of the gallery and was driven by a high-power German motor in a constant sine-wave motion. Light from LEDs reflected off the panelled surface to create a slowly morphing and evocative pattern of scattered light, moving across the walls and ceiling of the gallery. The installation was accompanied by an atmospheric soundscape that emulated the fluid motion of the sculpture and the reflected light. The shape of the metallic elements was informed by the precision engineered shape of the Braun shaver foil and the movement was inspired by the 360-degree movement of the Braun shaver head.

“The idea is to elevate and celebrate the foil finish on the next generation of Braun shavers,” said Hubert. “The shavers are industrialised consumer goods, and most people don’t appreciate the engineering that is behind individual elements. We thought it would be interesting to take inspiration from something that is often overlooked and create a highly engineered immersive experience.”

Layer chose to display FOIL in Tapestries – which is dominated by three hunting tapestries made between 1425 and 1450 – due to the unique atmosphere of the space. As light, humidity and temperature in the gallery are carefully controlled to protect the tapestries, visitors were immersed in a unique and emotionally engaging environment, which was enhanced by the multi-sensory installation.

“As a studio, we’re very research-based – we understand and collect insights from the world around us and translate them into the next experience to improve the everyday, usually in the form of a product,” said Hubert. “This project is particularly exciting for us as it’s our first artwork, so it’s less about conventional functionality and more about creating a heightened emotional experience. I want visitors to remember this sculptural landscape viscerally through all their senses.”

Supported by Braun. Lighting supplied by TM LIGHTING

London Design Festival at the V&A

The London Design Festival at the V&A

For 2017, the Festival will continue its unique collaboration with the world’s leading Museum of art, design and performance. As the central hub location for the London Design Festival for the eighth year, the V&A will again house a broad range of commissioned activity which will be spread throughout the Museum and include installations, events, talks and workshops.

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