“My name is Ernesto Bones and I write to you with a very serious problem only you can help fix. You see, though I am writing to you now, I do not yet truly exist…”
So began the letter sent by Ab Rogers Design (ARD) to 24 different creative protagonists from a range of disciplines, asking each to contribute a short narrative which would combine to bring Ernesto Bones to life.
In a unique game of Consequences, each of the invited contributors provided up to 400 words of text describing one hour of Ernesto Bones’s existence. As the project unfolded, a continuous narrative emerged. The character, and the process by which he came about, is presented in ARD’s new Stanley Picker Fellowship exhibition.
A Day in the Life of Ernesto Bones includes 24 written contributions (in sequential order) from: Sara Fanelli; Heston Blumenthal; Tom Scott; Monica Narula; Jane Nisselson; Ben Kelly; Deyan Sudjic; Michael Elias; David Tanguy; Adrian Searle; Charlotte Cullinan; Miranda Carter; Shelley Fox; Lesley Bunch; Fergus Henderson; Helena Reckitt; Jane Withers; Simon Ofield-Kerr; Aric Chen; Daniel Hunt; Susan Cohn; Andrea Branzi; Michael Connor and John Hegarty.
ARD’s idea for their Stanley Picker Fellowship was inspired by the rules of ‘Exquisite Corpse’, a Surrealist game in which a series of collaborators adds in turn to a drawing or story, so that an unexpected composition emerges from the many continuous fragments. For the tale of Ernesto Bones, each contributor was asked to write a short text describing one hour in a 24 hour period. Each received the last two lines of the previous hour’s text and an image of an object representing one of Bones’s possessions. The objects were selected from the extraordinary collection of vintage domestic items and design pieces at the Stanley Picker House in Kingston upon Thames.
As Ab Rogers explains:
“Storytelling has always been central to my practice – in many ways it is the creative starting point to all of my studio’s work. We use stories as a tool to communicate our ideas to each other, to our clients and to the end user. For this Fellowship we wanted to take this concept further – not merely to tell a story about our design for the project, but to make the story the design itself.”
For the exhibition, ARD has adapted the 24 written accounts into a narrative installation comprising object-scenarios, rhythmic narrative sequences and vibrant storyboards. The exhibition is produced in collaboration with students from Kingston University’s MA Curating Contemporary Design and BA Interior Design courses.
Ab Rogers Design is an established London design studio that looks for extraordinary experiences in ordinary objects and environments. Creative director Ab Rogers has a signature style defined by playfulness, colour and motion and his practice embraces new materials and technologies in its commitment to making everyday life a place of surprise and delight.
The team at ARD offers a wide range of skills, with ten full-time designers ranging in discipline from architecture and interior design to exhibition and communications design. The practice has built up a network of regular collaborators which includes interactive specialists, lighting designers, joiners, fibreglass specialists and more.
ARD has worked with major institutions including the National Museum of Science and Industry, Tate Modern and the Design Museum in London, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Caixa Forum in Barcelona and Madrid. Current projects include a permanent exhibition for the Science Museum, London, and temporary exhibitions at the Tate Modern. Commercial clients include Pizza Express, Little Chef and Condé Nast.
A Day in the Life of Ernesto Bones was produced for ARD’s Stanley Picker Fellowship in Design. The exhibition toured to Beijing Design Week 2011 as part of a special British Council funded programme celebrating London as the Festival’s first ever partner-city.