The good, the bad and the brilliant – November 2009

East Gallery on Brick Lane opened its doors to host the 14th at abrahams event, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Brilliant’. Jenny Wiggins, consumer industries correspondent for the Financial Times was Chair for the evening and six speakers, including a toy designer and a Master of Wine shared their nominations for the good, the bad and the brilliant citing examples from their own work, fields and the world at large. The evening proved to be thought provoking with plenty of discussion from the floor.

Architect Anna Liu started the evening with a moving selection of nominations that included artist Steve McQueen’s project The Queen and Country (brilliant) and the US education reform act No Child Left Behind (bad).

American composer James Lavino presented the audience with good, bad and brilliant versions of George and Ira Gershwin’s ‘Someone to watch over me’. Ethel Merman and Sting were in the firing line but Ella Fitzgerald won the day with her timeless interpretation.

Furniture designer Tom Lloyd of Pearsonlloyd drew on his own work and cited examples of inspirational design from local tribal structures in Mali. Other examples included an antique mousetrap with killing mechanisms for three mice at a time and some poorly designed street furniture.

Master of Wine Rupert Wollheim gave a fascinating insight into the work of a sommelier, inviting the audience to participate in a wine tasting. Three French reds ranging in price and depth were presented – Rupert favours French wine to oaked Californian or sweet Australian – and the audience voted for their favourite. The lighter (and cheaper) red faired the worst and it was a level tie between the good (Cotes du Rhone 2007 domaine des Romarins) and the brilliant (Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2008 celliers du dauphin).

Shoe designer Tracey Neuls enlightened the audience on the issue of battling high street rip-offs, passing around one of her own designs and a very similar high street version for comparison and debate. Tracey’s good nomination was sticky notes and she showed us how she works from original inception to final design on this main stay of the stationary cupboard.

Last to speak was Erin Deighton, toy designer for Hasbro Europe. He introduced the audience to the fascinating origami toy and shoe sculpting of Japanese designer Shin Tanaka, berated the overuse of plastic and finally showed us the miracles of cutting edge interactive technological toy design in the form of ‘Siftables’ a tangible computing piece developed by David Merrill and Jaleen Kalinithi at MIT Media Lab.

DJ James Bradley played three sets of his own good, bad and brilliant.

The event was brilliantly photographed by Anna Stathaki.