I went back to Side by Side Outside - the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition at the design museum - to take a few more photographs and I realised that several of the pieces had footprints on them and not the small footprints of children but large so adolescent or even adult prints … and not just on the low pieces but someone had clearly stepped on to on side of the bench and table by Frama and then up onto the table and down the other side.
Look at the work. These are beautifully and carefully made and OK this is a garden - which is actually no excuse - but it’s an enclosed courtyard garden within the museum. Each of those footprints had paid to come in … so these were people who, presumably, wanted to be in the design museum … so does paying for a ticket confer some sort of right to be thoughtless?
What was strange was that in some ways the opposite was also a problem. The design brief for the cabinetmakers had been to produce works that encouraged people to interact with the furniture and interact with each other through and around the works. But some visitors were curiously circumspect and several, when I tried to take a photograph of them, leapt up and looked guilty or asked me if I thought it was all right that they were sitting on something in the exhibition.
Watch the film that accompanies the exhibition and you begin to understand just how much thought and effort and how many hours went into the works shown here so, at the very least, walking over the works shows a phenomenal lack of respect. At times I just don't understand and at times I despair.