1 Made in Japan: Kakiemon and 400 years of porcelain
Now until 21 August, Room 3, British Museum WC1
In Japan “potting dynasties” are testimony to amazingly long family traditions of making ceramics, centred in the town of Arita, currently celebrating 400 years since the birth of porcelain.
On show at the British Museum are exquisite, historic pieces from the Kakiemon workshop, which exported to Europe over hundreds of years. Traditionally, leadership of a workshop passes from father to eldest son. Sakaida Kakiemon XV, pictured, in his late forties, is in charge now and has made a piece especially for this show.
Elsewhere in London, PikaPika — which means sparkly in Japanese — spotlights five contemporary UK-based Japanese artists, and runs until Sunday at Craft Central, 33-35 St John’s Square, EC1.
At Mayfair’s Dutko Gallery, a show called Encounters features superb pieces of 20th-century Japanese decorative design-art, including a rare Art Deco lacquered screen, by a contemporary of Eileen Gray. Until August 5 at 18 Davies Street, W1.
Now until October 15 (but check before visiting), Flat 1 (entrance in South Street) 70 South Audley Street, W1
Milan design gallery Nilufar has joined with a London property developer to create an impressive show flat in a Victorian building, open free in the heart of Mayfair.
Nilufar’s founder Nina Yashar wants “to make unexpected associations between furniture and space”.
You’ll find a glamorous living room, three bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen decked out with more than 100 design pieces, including Italian mid-century classics and hand-knotted rugs, all for sale.
Cabinetry is largely handmade in the UK, marbles and veneers come from Europe and artworks include a £1.5 million Warhol.
“We’ve layered the finest materials and luxury fabrics,” says designer Shalini Misra, whose company is selling the property.
Design details include a velvet-covered wardrobe with bronze handles, and gold leaf-lined walls.
3 Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design
Open now until November 6, V&A Museum, South Kensington SW7. Admission £7
Possibly the greatest engineer of the last century was Anglo-Danish Ove Arup (1895-1988) whose giant global company still flourishes today. Arup’s concept of “total design” was that architects, designers and engineers would all take part in the project right from the start.
The exhibition, with its framework of red metal grids and background hum of constantly changing soundtracks, is an engrossing, unexpectedly poetic celebration of the work of designers and engineers.
Arup emerges as an accomplished technical innovator and humorous philosopher.
See an impressively large wooden model of Sydney Opera House, plus models/analysis of a string of other great projects, including Berthold Lubetkin’s penguin pool at London Zoo (pictured).
4 Ron Arad: summer exhibition
Now until 15 September, Ben Brown, 12 Brook’s Mews, W1
Ron Arad is one of London’s most dynamic designers, with a stream of original cross-disciplinary ideas for buildings, furniture and installations pouring from his Camden Town studio. Here are his latest creations, a catch-up on 2010’s popular Barbican show.
Experience sculpture, hand-crafted studio pieces and industrial design, in way-out shapes and a mix of materials including super-shiny stainless steel used for 32 tables, pictured, nestling together on the gallery floor.
Also see a new “kinetic” Arad sculpture in the courtyard of the Royal Academy, continuously in motion, with a camera sending real-time images to a screen.
Next month, Arad reprises Curtain Call at the Roundhouse, NW1, with 5,600 silicon rods suspended from a huge ring, projecting a series of images, each masterminded by an artist.
5 Portman Village Street Party
July 14, 5pm-10pm
Tropical is topical, with palm leaves, pineapples and flamingos in stores all over town.
Now Portman Village adopts the theme for a free, all-welcome, after-work party with music and limbo dancing in New Quebec Street and Seymour Place, just behind Marble Arch.
Boutique shops will offer samples and discounts. Nibble tropical canapés at Eliska Design and get free interiors advice.
Sip tropical cocktails at The Portman, Bernardi’s, The Grazing Goat and The Zetter Townhouse — and/or mix your own smoothie in a bicycle-powered blender at The Mae Deli. There’s a photobooth at Paolita Swimwear for social media postings.
Bring the kids for tropical face art, a fun bubble machine and a tea party at Gail’s Bakery. Make headbands, flower necklaces and fishy glasses at Homemade London. Proceeds go to the West London Day Centre for the homeless.