‘Real Dirty Blue’ brought together 26 designers who have taught or studied on the BA Textile Design course at Central Saint Martins (CSM). The work on display was developed between 1927 and 2016, and ranged from hand block-printed textiles to experiments with knitting, weaving, printing and laser-cutting, as well as more recent research materials. The title of the exhibition came from a 1930s dye book belonging to a former student, Joyce Clissold.
Kellenberger–White created the exhibition’s identity, furniture design and accompanying publication. Our design-scheme for the exhibition focused on the physicality of actual making: the ‘Real’ and ‘Dirty’ of the exhibition’s title.
To create displays that seemed egalitarian and resourceful rather than hierarchical and permanent, we organised a simple set of building materials – concrete breeze blocks, MDF panels and glass sheets – into a plain grid across the large exhibition room, with glass exhibit covers supported by the elegant bottle-shaped yarn cones that are used in knitwear and weave workshops at the University of the Arts London.
The exhibition guide was built around the newly designed typeface Plain, which we used in one type size only. Avoiding distracting rhetorical flourishes, the calmness and modesty of the font and the catalogue layout provided a perfect counterpoint to the large-format photography, which we art-directed with the curatorial team and Jet from CSM’s photography department.