Hardly anyone will deny it: Football is the most popular sport in the world. Whether children, women or men, whether on the street corner, in the park or at Wembley Stadium, no matter what the constellation, there is always football being played somewhere. It is estimated that around 3.5 billion people, more than half the world’s population, watched at least part of the FIFA World Cup in 2018. However, the game is not only considered the supposedly most beautiful pastime in the world; a wide variety of design tasks have also developed around football. Under the title “Designing the Beautiful Game”, the London Design Museum has put together the first major exhibition to explore both the history of football and the role that design has played in the development of the popular sport.
Whether Lionel Messi, Pelé, George Best or Diego Maradona, until 29 August visitors can enjoy special football moments and stories of club legends and fan communities through more than 500 objects, films and interviews and learn about kit development, stadium design and much more. Produced in collaboration with the National Football Museum in Manchester, the show leaves no detail unturned to show how the world’s most important football stadiums are planned, what material and design innovations are used in today’s football boots, how the graphic design of jerseys, posters, stickers, video games and fan articles shape the image and identity of a club over generations, but also how grassroots club initiatives resist the commercialisation of the sport. The exhibition catalogue aims both to celebrate the rich design heritage around the game and to shed light on its future. To this end, it brings together contributions from the world of football and design, from analyst Statman Dave, broadcaster Martin Tyler to architect Jacques Herzog and Sam Handy, vice president of design at adidas.
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