Some of our highlights and favourite moments from the past year:
A COLOURFUL START TO THE YEAR
To inject some colour into our iconic building, we commissioned Brighton based artist and designer Lois O’Hara. The brief was to create something to encourage people to explore the first floor and discover the shops and studios and Lois delivered a deliciously vibrant mural that stretches around the entire lift lobby.
Go and see the mural for yourself in 2020!
LONDON CRAFT WEEK
For LCW 2019 our Design Curator, Sophie initiated an Oxo Tower Wharf event and project, The Future of Craft, in collaboration with key exhibitors Design-Nation and Future Icons. Bargehouse was full to the brim with craft collectives, innovative installations, hands-on workshops, demonstrations and a free talks programme, and nearly 2000 visitors joined us to celebrate contemporary craft in its many forms. We received some fantastic press coverage including features in Time Out, Evening Standard and The Telegraph.
The Future of Craft will be back for London Craft Week 2020, 29 April – 3 May.
gallery@oxo returning favourite Jim Grover was commissioned by the Bishop of Southwark to capture the lives of 25 female priests in his latest photo-series Here Am I, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ordination of women to the priesthood in the Church of England.
The exhibition welcomed 7,800 visitors and received coverage from The Times, The Guardian, BBC, Londonist and more.
Each year, graduate exhibitions and showcases from arts and design universities make up an large portion of our programme, both during our summer graduate season New Creatives and throughout the year during London Design Festival, London Festival of Architecture and interim shows at the beginning of the year. Over the course of 2019 we had exhibitions from London College of Fashion, Made in Brunel, London School of Economics, Bath Spa University, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Bartlett School of Architecture and University of the Creative Arts as well as graduates from all over the country in the Orbit Art Show.
The programme for New Creatives 2020 is shaping up so stay tuned for announcements on our social channels and website.
Take a read of our New Creatives blog series which you can catch up on here to find out what past exhibitors are up to now as well as our Instagram feature #FreshFriday which will resume in the new year.
When we’re not showcasing up and coming design talent, our spaces are often chosen by charities and organisations to highlight a cause, showcase a heritage project or raise awareness. In 2019 we saw the return of secret envelope exhibiton A Letter in Mind from National Brain Appeal, Sightsavers used innovative technology to demostrate the devestating effects of eye disease Trachoma and Art Beyond Limits by Motor Neurone Disease Association which showcased fantastic art by those living with MND.
You can see more brilliant charity and issues-based exhibitions 2020 including Our Human Condition which opens on 8 January at gallery@oxo – see our what’s on pages here.
LONDON FESTIVAL OF ARCHITECTURE
This year’s LFA theme was ‘Boundaries’. We worked with collective Momentto, (a group of architecture graduates who met at the University of Nottingham) on a site specific outdoor installation for our courtyard. We collaborated with TRADA who brought on board Champion Timber and Timber Trade Federation who kindly supplied the materials the collective needed to bring the installation to life.
For the month of June visitors to the courtyard had a place to sit, chill out and meet up. You can read more about the project here.
LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL
Once again, LDF was a key calendar highlight with multiple events and exhibitions taking place across the building as part of Bankside Design District. UCA Farnham took over gallery@oxo with a beautiful showcase of the work of 20 MA graduates and over at Bargehouse LDF hosted one of their special projects in the form of Take The Plunge, an immersive installation tackling ocean deterioration by Volume Creative in collaboration with Virgin Voyages. The studios hosted special talks, product launches, exhibitions and giveaways including Innermost’s launch of Bud, their portable, rechargeable lamp.
This year we said goodbye to some much loved and long-standing design studio tenants; Black + Blum moved on to a bigger space after 15 years at Oxo and fashion designer Lauren Shanley, whose bright pink unit had been open from the beginning, retired this year. It’s sad to see designers move on from Oxo but our building is an ideal place for fledgling brands and makers to grow, so welcoming new residents in is always a pleasure. Our most recent arrival is jeweller Loveness Lee who opened just before Christmas.
OXO SHINES BRIGHT
You may have noticed that for a large part of 2019 of famous red O X O lights that adorn the tower were not illuminated. We undertook a large refurbishment project to replace the lights with sustainable LEDs and as of early November, the tower was back better than ever to light up the South Bank skyline. Plus, on the hour every hour during darkness you’ll see a special, colourful light sequence take over the tower. Get down to the South Bank and take a look! Tag us @oxotowerwharf in your photos on social media.
One of the most important times of the year for small businesses as shoppers are out in their masses seeking the perfect gifts. We wanted to try something different this year in an attempt to encourage people to make considered decisions about where they were shopping and who they were supporting with their purchases. We worked with photographer Yeshen Venema and stylist Emma Shipley to create fun, eye catching images featuring products available from the shops an studios at Oxo Tower Wharf. We loved the results and used the photographs to roll out our ‘3 reasons to shop at Oxo Tower Wharf this Christmas’:
1. Support independent designer-makers
2. Get away from the chaotic high street
3. Stay curious and discover something unexpected
Of course, these reasons don’t just apply to the festive season and you can shop at Oxo all year round. If you haven’t discovered the shops and studios over the ground, first and second floors, make 2020 the time to do it!
There were so many more highlights in 2019 including sample sales from design icon Vitra, the return of London Illustration Fair, an album launch from Stormzy at Bargehouse and tonnes of free exhibitions for everyone to enjoy.
Happy New Year!Return