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11 March – 24 April 2011

The THEN-NOW Show was an exhibition of 15 designers who were originally amongst the graduates selected by Zeev Aram to take part in the Aram Design’s Annual Graduate Shows in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This exhibition revisited the work of these designers to show the development of their career over the last 20 years or so. Their work was represented by their designs at graduation, THEN, alongside recent work, NOW.


Zeev Aram opened his first store on London’s Kings Road Chelsea, in 1964 at a time when there was very little in the way of modern furniture on the market. He had a real passion for design and was the first to introduce the works of designers such as Carlo Scarpa, A & P.G. Castiglioni, Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier and V. Magistretti to the UK market. These were truly radical designs at the time and it may have seemed a gamble to show these works as part of a commercial venture. Aram however, believed that here were pieces that were important, beautifully designed and well manufactured that would stand the test of time. And so they have.


As the years went on, Aram noted that there was very little in the UK in the way of support for emerging designers and there was a real gap between designers and manufacturers. So he decided to host a yearly exhibition that would act as a platform for young graduates to show their innovative designs to the public, but principally to INDUSTRY. The exhibition was an attempt to bridge that gap and form a dialogue between a young generation of designers and manufacturers: a platform for engaging with creative ideas. This became the raison d’etre for the Aram Graduate Shows.


Each year, Aram would spend the summers on the road, visiting end of year shows at over forty/fifty design colleges around the UK. The works he selected came from all creative disciplines: graphics, fashion, product/industrial design.  There was no limit neither in the breadth of the disciplines nor in the quantity of designs. What mattered most was that the designs to be shown would represent the thinking of the young design graduates and their innovative solutions.


Each year there were between 70 and 90 participants, sometimes even more. The exhibitions would take over the entire Showroom for nearly a month with students and their colleges helping to mount these large shows. There was no charge made by Aram neither to students nor to colleges for participation in these exhibitions.


While looking through his archives recently, Aram noticed that many of the graduates whose work he showed are now established and well respected names in the design field. As a result, The THEN-NOW Show was born. 


Participants: Jane Atfield, Sebastian Bergne, Adam Brinkworth, Konstantin Grcic, Thomas Heatherwick, Victoria Jessen-Pike, David Keech, Wakako Kishimoto, Tom Lloyd, Kevin McCullagh, Corin Mellor, Peter Naumann, Ben Panayi, Luke Pearson, Sonya Winner


Photographer Christina Theisen

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