Bubbles on the Grand Canal and some DIY for the ideal home

Martina Gonano in Venice with Elvis Costello's Armed Forces LP packaging brilliantly designed by Barney Bubbles

Almost exactly a year since former CHELSEA space assistant  Martina Gonano was working on our exhibition Process: The Working Practices of Barney Bubbles (brilliantly curated by Paul Gorman) she sent us an email to say that her boyfriend had  just come home to their Venetian apartment with a copy of the Bubbles designed Armed Forces by Elvis Costello. This innovative packaging solution was one of many unusual Barney Bubbles designs that Paul Gorman displayed  at CHELSEA space seen here below in an image from the private view with iconic musicians Jerry Dammers and Mick Jones.

Jerry Dammers and Mick Jones at CHELSEA space in front of Barney Bubbles innovative designs for Armed Forces and Glastonbury Fayre

CHELSEA space has missed Martina since she resumed her studies in Venice but we are glad to see that the influence of CHELSEA space and Barney Bubbles survive on the Grand Canal. By coincidence Barney Bubbles will crop up again in the next CHELSEA space exhibition ‘ideal home’ because writer and curator Paul Gorman has agreed to loan us his collection of Bubbles LP covers for Do It Yourself by Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Billy Bragg at CHELSEA space for the Barney Bubbles exhibition with Paul Gorman's collection of Do It Yourself covers at his side

As Barney Bubbles and Ian Dury Fans will know, and those who visited CHELSEA space will remember,  Bubbles reputedly made 28 variations of the Do It Yourself cover using Crown Wallpaper samples and struck a deal with Crown to include the individual wallpaper product codes in order that they would waive copyright. Paul Gorman showed 24 variations as part of the Process installation at CHELSEA space and we are looking forward to having them back as part of ‘ideal home’.

24 out of 28 variations of Ian Dury's Do It Yourself LP covers designed by Barney Bubbles and kindly loaned to CHELSEA space by Paul Gorman

‘ideal home’ is curated by CHELSEA space Director Donald Smith and features over 50 artists and designers with work spanning from 1913 – 2011. The works are loaned from private collections, the Special Collections of Chelsea College of Art and Design and loans directly from some of the artists and designers including Mark Titchner, and Richard Woods . Barney Bubbles won’t be the only BB because Donald invited the designer Steve Thomas to include a new print featuring Biba Beans with a label designed by Steve in 1972 as part of his work for the interiors, packaging, signage, and advertising for the Big Biba department store as featured in CHELSEA space  exhibition #22 Steve Thomas: Big Biba and Other Stories.

Steve Thomas 'Farts For Arts Sake' 2011 screen printed image of Biba Baked Beans tins with a label designed by Steve Thomas in 1972