important building like the De La Warr Pavilion is a visit to treasure.While visiting the shop it was clear to me that the
merchandise was aimed at the wrong people. They had commissioned quite a few
trendy designers to come up with products that are inspired by the architecture
and reflect back on it.
The main products was a plate and a canvas bag. Unfortunately
while I was browsing books in their shop for 15 mins at least 5 people gasped
at the prices of those two items. The plate is being sold for £25 and the bag
for £14.50 (http://www.delawarrpavilion.com/shop/peoplewillalwaysneed.htm)
It then dawned on me that the merchandising was aspirational
(with a prominent Alvar Aalto and Iittala display) but it was not acknowledging
the local area and its people.
A large proportion of the population of Bexhill
is pensioners that aspire to retirement by the sea. I do not think that they
would have a large amount of disposable income to spend on merchandise and
surely the prospect of a £25 plate must seem extortionate. To my eyes the
selection in the shop was geared towards a very design conscious urbane
This instance raises the question to who runs artistic and
cultural centres around the UK
and how well they know their local area. I wonder how many members of the administrative
team of the Pavilion have grown up in the area or have resided for long enough
to know what the locals would want. The Pavilion is a wonderful building that
is clearly very popular with the local community but it seems its
administration is out of touch when it comes to the commercial activities.