Course Director commissioned by Barbican Centre to create designs for products in new London shop


Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue, The Barbican has commissioned Kate Farley, Course Director of BA (Hons) Textile Design at Birmingham City University, to create print designs for a new range of products.

Combining architecture with music

The new designs, combining architectural details with music, are to form the artwork on products to be sold in The Barbican’s new London shop, launching in autumn.

Kate’s involvement in the project comes in line with five other Barbican-inspired commissions, drawing upon the skills of various fellow designers and makers. Kate said:

Design concepts

Establishing a connection between the various forms in which buildings take and the physicality of instruments is a ‘dominant’ concept within Kate’s designs in response to the commission. Kate added:

“With the Barbican project I wanted to keep the shapes the dominant characteristic so stayed away from mark making/texture. The shapes of the instruments explore scale and detail in the same way the buildings do. The strings become walk-ways, the oboe keys are jetties on the water.

“I only had a small idea of what I wanted to create when I first showed Adam Thow (Head of Retail at the Barbican) my design concepts as I didn’t want to present a closed loop. He was great at allowing me freedom while providing some content/theme direction. We sent ideas to and fro via email and once we had agreed on the designs we worked in relation to product development.”

To find out more about Kate’s career as a designer and academic, the work produced within this commission and the nature of the project, visit the Designer Profile.

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