With more than 500 objects, films and interviews in sporting performance, kit development, stadium design and much more, Football: Designing the Beautiful Game introduces its viewer to all from stories of club legacies and team badges, to the sport’s most significant stadiums and footballing legends including Pelé, Lionel Messi, George Best and Diego Maradona.
Created in cooperation with the National Football Museum in Manchester, the exhibition is on show at London’s Design Museum until 29 August and represents the first major show on the design of the world’s most popular sport. Set to build up hype in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Football pays homage to a game with unparalleled cultural significance and revelations into how human creativity has pushed the game to its technical and emotional limits.
Divided into five sections——Performance, Identity, Crowds, Spectacle and Play——the captivating exhibition begins by looking at the performance through the lens of the design and production of football equipment over its 150-year history, including efforts to devise new tools to allow teams to play longer, faster and more consistently.
An immersive set draws out well-known elements of stadium architecture from the player’s tunnel to the stands, whilst visitors can relive the sensation of being part of a matchday crowd via a stadium reconstruction in the ‘Crowds’ zone. The Hillsborough disaster is touched upon, survivor Peter Carney having designed an emotional memorial banner which can be seen in the ‘Identity’ section.
Examine the oldest surviving FA Cup and a set of World Cup posters, listen to archived radio clips transport you through sporting history, and experience a specially commissioned soundtrack by Coda to Coda, which plays the voices of fans and players from the highest tiers of professional football through to grassroots level.
With an estimation that more than half the population of the planet (some 3.5 billion people) watched part of the FIFA World Cup in 2018, football is unquestionably the world’s most popular sport, with a dedicated fan base and truly international reach. For everybody from the fanatical supporter, to part-time punter or sporting sceptic, Football: Designing the Beautiful Game showcases the ways in which design has shaped the world’s most popular sport; visitors able to discover the remarkable design stories behind the beloved game.