Design studio dn&co has created an exhibition for St James’s Market, working with illustrator James Graham and architectural practice Studio Weave.
The installation, The Handsome Butcher of St James’s Market, is named after an 18th century poem, and as such, the artworks visually refer to the local area’s Victorian history.
James Graham has created 250 illustrations which have been laser-cut and etched in wood, echoing traditional woodcut images. These are stored in a cabinet of curiosities, designed by Studio Weave, displayed as a series of vignettes inspired by Victorian paper theatres. These tell the story from the poem, and are narrated by Stephen Fry.
“We wanted to explore how this old forgotten story could be expressed in a way that’s true to its narrative and engaging enough to pull people off the street,” says James. “Taking inspiration from old paper theatres and stage design, we made layers of laser-cut wood figures and movement through simple mechanical devices. By using those simple theatrical techniques, the ballad is retold in a contemporary, understated way.”
The installation was commissioned by The Crown Estate and Oxford Properties in collaboration with Futurecity, as part of its regeneration of the area, and is part of London Design Festival.