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V&A Commission

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

Now open until 5 October.

The large-scale installation comprises 50,000 mirror-finish stainless steel panels on a 20-metre by 1.2-metre undulating ribbon that runs down the length of the gallery and is driven by a high-power German motor in a constant sine-wave motion. Light from LEDs reflects 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 is accompanied by an atmospheric soundscape that emulates the fluid motion of the sculpture and the reflected light. The shape of the metallic elements is informed by the precision engineered shape of the Braun shaver foil and the movement is 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,” says 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 Room 94 – which is dominated by three hunting tapestries made between 1425 and 1450 – due to the gallery’s unique atmosphere. As light, humidity and temperature in the gallery are carefully controlled to protect the tapestries, visitors are immersed in a unique and emotionally engaging environment, which is 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,” says 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


benjamin Hubert Profile

Benjamin Hubert is an award-winning British design entrepreneur, and founder of creative agency, Layer, delivering experience-driven design for both the physical and digital worlds. Led by Benjamin and a growing creative team, Layer is partnering with forward-thinking brands – including Nike, Samsung, Braun, BMW, Fritz Hansen, and Herman Miller – to create products that will help define the way we live, work and communicate in the future, from smart wearables and furniture systems, to the next generation of media and communication devices.

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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