A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Spectacular Vernacular


Spectacular Vernacular is the first major solo exhibition of work by the design studio Parsons & Charlesworth, formally founded by British husband and wife Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth in 2014 after years of informal collaboration. Showing three distinct aspects of their creative practice – observation, experimentation, and speculation – across the three galleries of the Chicago Rooms, the exhibition reveals how Parsons & Charlesworth mix their craft and industrial design backgrounds with influences from fiction, science and the arts. The multifaceted approach explores the rhetorical, as well as the practical opportunities of designed objects, encouraging a broadening of the traditional definition of the designer’s role. In doing so it makes the case for independent design practice as a critical response and essential adjunct to the corporate design world.

Their work — ranging from mass-produced objects and unique one-offs to limited editions, writing and printed publications — expresses unconventional ideas around the ways we ask questions and engage with the objects in our lives. Using their experience in three-dimensional design and education, Parsons and Charlesworth attempt to critique traditional notions of design, such as “designer as servant to industry,” through their collaboration. A Parsons & Charlesworth approach is one that allows design to move beyond a strictly pragmatic or problem based framework.

Spectacular Vernacular will exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center September 10th through January 22nd.  

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602
Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor

Exhibition Hours:
Monday - Thursday, 10am-7pm
Friday - Sunday, 10am-6pm
Closed Holidays

More information about the exhibition can be found here.