Royal College of Art Exhibition Collaboration Helps John Lewis Celebrate 150 Years

The Royal College of Art has created an exhibition of critical and future design as part of department store John Lewis's 150th anniversary celebrations in May. 

The RCA has curated a 'Future Room' – a vision of how we might live in years to come – part of John Lewis's Stories of a Shopkeeper show, charting the history John Lewis from a humble draper’s shop on London’s Oxford Street to an international, award-winning business.   

Spanning fashion and furniture, technology and textiles, ceramics and tableware, the Future Room prompts debate around health and well-being, technology and sustainability, as well as new materials and technologies. It offers a vision of the future through innovations in everyday objects such as work chairs or coffee machines, while more critical pieces consider the impact of technology. 

The Future Room features The FLX Chair by Design Products alumnus (2008) Tom Higgs – an active seat designed to engage core stability muscles while improving posture and increasing blood circulation. Ikawa Coffee, by InnovationRCA incubatee Andrew Stordy, which is a coffee roasting system that allows users to buy coffee beans directly from the growers and roast them independently, will also be exhibited.

Innovation Design Engineering students will present MyTempo – a wearable device that aids users in becoming more alert or  relaxed without the need for artificial stimulants or relaxants. Design Interactions alumnus (2013) Carlos Monleon Gendall's Martian Terroir, meanwhile, is a futuristic installation that considers how consumers could make wine as if it were grown on Mars. Based on the data available on Mars, the installation recreates the 'terroir' – the geophysical characteristics of a place such as soil, climate and biodiversity which can be tasted in products such as wine. David Hedberg, from the Information Experience Design programme's first graduating cohort, will showcase Smile TV – a TV whereby the image quality is controlled by depth of smile through facial recognition technology.

The Future Room is the final part of the Stories of a Shopkeeper exhibition, which begins on the cobbled streets of Victorian London. Visitors can take a walk through recreations of the original draper’s shop, John Spedan Lewis’s office – and birthplace of the John Lewis Partnership – moving throughout the department store's decades of retailing. 

The exhibition will open on 3 May 2014 at John Lewis's flagship Oxford Street store.