Design, engineering and technology can achieve game-changing breakthroughs from industries that need to push the envelope and have massive budgets. The military gives us trickle-down innovations like GPS, and Formula One racing is used by manufacturers to develop new technologies that will eventually find their way into passenger cars.
Sports is another area where the budgets are large and a high level of innovation is demanded of designers. Clothing, accessories, vehicles, and even the structures these competitions take place in can bring us advances in materials, product configurations and production methods, enriching the design field as a whole. Examining this phenomena and its fruits is Design Museum London's forthcoming Designed to Win exhibition.
Designed to Win celebrates the ways in which design and sport are combined, pushing the limits of human endeavour to achieve records and victories of increasing significance and wonder. From the design of F1 cars to running shoes, racing bikes to carbon fibre javelins, the quest for enhanced performance and function is endless. Designed to Win explores the various way in which design has shaped the sporting world, celebrating the introduction of revolutionary new materials such as Neoprene and carbon fibre, new technologies, fashions and sporting equipment, all of which have transformed sporting enterprise.
Designed to Win demonstrates the process of designing sporting equipment and its various influences, including material innovations, sporting constraints, nature and science. With new innovations and continued refinement, athletes have become faster, stronger and fitter, in turn beyond the sporting arena and now encompassing areas as diverse as fashion, advertising, art, film, design, business and politics.
The exhibition explores key moments where design has played a significant role in progressing sport and looks at themes of safety, performance and examples where sporting bodies have intervened to limit the effects of 'technological doping' where new equipment is deemed to give some athletes an unfair advantage over others. Raising the question where does human ability stop and the contest between designers, scientists and engineers begin. By examining celebrated sporting moments and the sense of shared celebration and spectacle, the exhibition will look at not just how design can influence sport but also how sport has influenced design, art and culture.
Global marketing campaigns and sports fashion lines reap huge financial rewards and in a profession where the difference between winning and losing can be as little as a fraction of a second, the importance of design is of paramount importance. Advances in sports training, sportswear and health science have resulted in enhanced performance and a greater understanding of the human body. Design to win also looks at how design has revolutionised sports opportunities for people with physical impairments.
Film clips, photography, models and interviews will be on display alongside interactive displays, sporting equipment and timelines.
The exhibition, which has not yet been added to DML's website, will open this July.