Exhibition draws on Bristol’s modern-day design innovation to mark city’s 650th anniversary

September 1, 2023

Five innovative Bristol firms have teamed up with a unique collection of 20th and 21st century applied art to celebrate the city’s pioneering design heritage.

The exhibition marks Bristol’s 650th year as a city and county by showcasing the iconic design of Aardman Animations, Amalgam, Kinneir Dufort, Limbs & Things and Xylotek.

Hosted by the Stradling Collection on Park Row, Design Icons: Made in Bristol illustrates how creative companies are building on Bristol’s rich history of design innovation, helping it flourish in the modern era.

Bristol’s role as fertile ground for design dates back hundreds of years – from its innovative 18th century porcelain, through Brunel’s integrated transport plan of the 19th century and the 20th century Crofton Gane’s furniture.

Now the five businesses highlighted by the exhibition are taking Bristol design to new audiences.

Aardman is the world famous, four times Academy Award-winning animation studio, creators of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run and Morph.

Amalgam, which is coming up on its 40th Anniversary, began making scale models for some of the world’s most influential architects. Over the years, the range of clients and types of work has widened to include industrial prototypes, maritime models, exhibition centrepieces, and complex lighting installations all made in the central Bristol workshop.

Kinneir Dufort is a user-centred design and product development consultancy. With over 45 years’ experience, it discovers designs and develops innovative solutions for global medical, consumer and industrial clients.

Limbs & Things makes medical task trainers and simulators. Since 1990, its products have been enabling healthcare practitioners worldwide to become more competent and confident professionals, leading to better patient outcomes.

Xylotek specialises in the design and delivery of advanced timber structures. Working with architects, engineers and directly with clients, they connect digital design and fabrication techniques with capability in practical delivery, driven by a passionate understanding of the complexities of wood.

The Stradling Collection contains more than 2,000 items ranging from pieces of ceramic and glass to furniture, toys and decorative objects.

It has been assembled from the private collection of Ken Stradling MBE, who died last year aged 100 and  was best known as the buyer for The Bristol Guild of Applied Art (The Guild) on Park Street from the 1940s onwards.

The exhibition runs from 9 September to 5 November. For more details visit https://stradlingcollection.org


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