Sunday 21 December 2014

An ICAfternoon

It wouldn't be a home trip without a visit to one of my top London culture haunts, the Institute of Contemporary Arts. With its totally affordable £1 Day Membership, this lovely spot provides an ideal weekend (or holiday) motive for even the most thrifty of folk. Centrally situated on The Mall, a mere stone's throw away from Trafalgar Square, ICA is an absolute go-to for the culturally curious; its artistic offerings - whether cinema showings, contemporary expos, or gift shop goodness - seldom disappoint.

My personal highlight of this Saturday's excursion was undoubtedly The Poundshop, a seasonal showcase selling a wholesome array of present-worthy products, all dashingly designed. Housed within the ICA Theatre between 19-21 December, the creative venture sets forth a nifty concept: selling design wares for set - and above all economical - colour-coded price bands of £1, £3, £5, £10 and £15 in a bunch of cultural institutions around the city, pop-up style. Suffice it to say that my sucker-for-pretty-things self was in perfect contentment, picking up inessential ephemera left, right and centre. (Almost) all to gift to others, naturally! 

It wasn't just the showcase's content that set my easily pleased heart aflutter, though. The design aesthetic of the display itself was simplistic but sweet, with the products shelved on DIY-esque industrial ladders within the walls of the vast, minimally dressed interior. Teamed with the fun little addition of their resident 'Photobot', The Poundshop made for a refreshing retail experience with a cool creative slant. 

Also running throughout the winter months is Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014, a mixed media diversity of contemporary works from an assortment of talents, and Julie Verhoeven's Whiskers Between My Legs, her self-termed "grotto of visual excess" - a most fitting definition - which interrogates prevalent perceptions of femininity, gender and taste. In short, if you're on the lookout for a culture-rich, low-cost activity to help fill the festive break, get ICA on the agenda. 

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