Designed to Win, London

The Design Museum in London have opened Designed to Win looking at the close links between sport and design. Designed to Win celebrates the ways in which design and sport are combined, pushing the limits of human endeavour to achieve records and victories of increasing significance and wonder. From the design of F1 cars to running shoes, racing bikes to carbon fibre javelins, the quest for enhanced performance and function is endless. Designed to Win explores the various ways in which design has shaped the sporting world, celebrating the introduction of revolutionary new materials such as Neoprene and carbon fibre, new technologies, fashions and sporting equipment, all of which have transformed sporting enterprise.

Designed to Win demonstrates the process of designing sporting equipment and its various influences, including material innovations, sporting constraints, nature and science. With new innovations and continued refinement, athletes have become faster, stronger and fitter, in turn transforming the role of sport beyond the sporting arena and now encompassing areas as diverse as fashion, advertising, art, film, design, business and politics.

The exhibition explores key moments where design has played a significant role in progressing sport and looks at themes of safety and performance. The exhibition highlights examples where sporting bodies have intervened to limit the effects of ‘technological doping’, where new equipment is deemed to give some athletes an unfair advantage over others. Raising the question, where does human ability stop and the contest between designers, scientists and engineers begin? By examining celebrated sporting moments and the sense of shared celebration and spectacle, the exhibition will look at not just how design can influence sport, but also how sport has influenced design, art and culture.

Designed To Win, 26 July until 18 November, Design Museum, Shad Thames, London, SE1 2YD.

Luke Hayes