Cultural Diary: the best exhibitions and events in London this May

The Future Starts Here London’s best cultural events in May
The Future Starts Here, V&A Museum. Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode, 2011–2015 ©ZUS
New Town Utopia London’s best cultural events in May
New Town Utopia, Barbican
A Shade of Pale, London best cultural events in May
The Store x A Shade of Pale, 180 The Strand. Photography: a spread from John Pawson's book Spectrum (Phaidon). All images from the book will be exhibited at 180 The Strand
Clerkenwell Design Week London best cultural events in May
Clerkenwell Design Week runs for three days in the capital's creative hotbed
Photo London the best exhibitions and events in London this May
Photo London, Somerset House. Photo: Edward Burtynsky
London Craft Week 2017 the best exhibitions and events in London
Tom Raffield's lighting installation at London Craft Week 2017

The month of May plays host to some of the capital’s most anticipated happenings, from Clerkenwell Design Week to Photo London. Here, we run through the best exhibitions and events in London this May.

The Future Starts Here, V&A Museum
As the inexorable march of technological progress stampedes forward, the V&A is taking a moment to ponder what it all means for us humans. Orbiting around four central themes – self, public, planet and afterlife – The Future Starts Here aims to examine what a selection of over 100 new or in-development objects say about the future of society.

New Town Utopia, Barbican
The result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, ‘New Town Utopia’ is a new documentary by director Christopher Ian Smith about Basildon, Essex, starring Oscar-winning actor Jim Broadbent. The film explores themes of memory, place and performance with the help of artists, musicians and poets of the unsuspecting town. Catch the film throughout May at the Barbican.

Architecture on Film: Columbus, The Barbican
Another one to catch at the Barbican, Colombus is a debut feature by video essayist and film critic Kogonada. Its namesake city is the backdrop to the meeting of local girl Casey – an ‘architecture nerd’ – and visitor Jin in the Midwestern ‘Mecca of Modernism’. Expect privileged access to mid-century masterpieces by Eero Saarinen, I. M. Pei, Robert A.M. Stern and Deborah Berke.

The Store x A Shade of Pale, 180 The Strand
Occupying two floors of the iconic Brutalist building 180 The Strand, The Store x A Shade of Pale “celebrates the debut of a select, inimitable group of 10 artists,” according to its organisers. Expect work from the likes of Luca Anzalone, Tom Munro, Marina Shacola, Bindi Vora and Walter & Zoniel, but be sure to make a beeline for the work of John Pawson, who is presenting all 320 images from his recently published book ‘Spectrum’.

Clerkenwell Design Week, Clerkenwell
Back for its ninth year, Clerkenwell Design Week runs for three days in the capital’s creative hotbed, with a wide range of work spanning young gun design start-ups to well-established names. A new exhibition ‘Light’ will be popping up in the nightclub Fabric and will feature the lighting designs of international brands in the venue’s brick vaults.

Photo London, Somerset House
The UK’s most high profile photography event returns to its temporary home of Somerset House for its fourth edition this year. A highlight will be an exhibition of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s new work about extinction, but 101 galleries from 18 different countries mean there will be plenty more to peruse.

London Craft Week, various locations
In venues across the city, London Craft Week celebrates the diversity of making, with over 200 established and emerging makers, designers, brands and galleries from around the world participating in the five-day event. “London Craft Week is a response to a renaissance in the appreciation of creativity and craft; to the role of hand, head, unique skills and true talent. It is another example of what, at its best, the world’s creative capital does so well,” says Guy Salter, Chairman of London Craft Week.

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