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London’s Cartoon Museum is set for a semi-anarchic visual overhaul courtesy of Sam Jacob Studio


Sam Jacob Studio: Cartoon Museum

Most of us try and avoid Oxford Street like the plague; inserting yourself into the crawling morass of slow-moving tourists ambling between M&S and Joe & the Juice is about as appealing as long weekend in Rhyl with Donald Trump and an incomplete Monopoly set for company. The founders of London’s Cartoon Museum are hoping that change that, however.

Currently residing on Little Russell Street, just by Holborn tube station, the museum is set to up sticks and plonk itself on Wells Street by February 2019. This geographical switch is bundled with a visual overhaul courtesy of Sam Jacob Studio. The collaborative architecture and design practice, who have previously produced commissions for the V&A amongst other clients, will be responsible for overseeing the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibition spaces, as well as event spaces, a shop, and a learning centre. Fraser Muggeridge Studio will be working on the project too, offering graphics, signage and wayfinding for the museum.

Given that cartoons are fun it shouldn’t come as a surprise to note that the overhaul is projected to be imbued with a the kind of exuberant anarchy that runs through the core of all those Hanna-Barbera cartoons you’ve been lapping up for the best part of your life.

Visitors can expect comic staples galore, with everything from Road Runner-stye smashed walls to bookshelves that conceal doorways. Talking to Design Week, Sam Jacob says, “We’re keen to find ways of using text and type in 3D space that learns from the way text is used in the graphic world of cartoons. We also want to make the 2D things that happen in cartoons enter into the museum, from touches of humour, to things that seem impossible, to things that turn your sense of reality upside down.”

He and his team are also keen to stress that while cartoons offer a release, they can also be a means of dealing with difficult socio-political issues in a way that can engage audiences intuitively. “The stories these cartoons tell are ones about politics, life and culture over hundreds of years, often with humour and in ways that are accessible and enjoyed by very different kinds of people,” Jacobs says.

The museum’s main space will feature a rotating collection of around 100 images at a time.