The Dinner Party / True-to-Life Design




V&A Commission

The Norfolk House Music Room in the British Galleries provided a theatrical backdrop for Scholten & Baijing’s 'The Dinner Party', where visitors were invited to interrupt a dinner party in session.

In galleries and museums, design objects are frequently displayed on pedestals or in glass vitrines but rarely in something resembling the everyday living environment for which they were conceived. The seemingly lived-in but recently deserted ‘stage set’ created a more natural and adventurous way of viewing designed objects, particularly glassware, ceramics, polished steel, textile, furniture and carpets.

The sharp contrast of the contemporary tableware, all designed by the Dutch studio Scholten & Baijings, against the historic French-styled panelled interiors made a visitor to ponder what once may have taken place in this room. As well as being used for music, the Norfolk House Music Room was also used by the original household for card games and general social intercourse before the V&A acquired it after Norfolk House’s 1938 demolition.

“The visitor enters just seconds after the guests have left to smoke a cigarette in the garden. One can use this unguarded moment to look at the luxurious dinner table and interior undisturbed. The music is still playing softly…” - Stefan Scholten.


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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