‘Construction School Featuring In:quest of Icarus
A project by James Langdon with construction by Daniel Hofstede & Benjamin Roth

8 September – 2 December 2012

With In:quest of Icarus, a play by Norman Potter
30 November – 2 December 2012
Hosted and co-produced by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam


This work explores the history of a bold attempt to establish an experimental art school in a provincial English context. The first phase (1964 to 1968) placed an emphasis on interdisciplinary working and collaboration. The second phase (1975 to 1977) was defined by a radical attempt to decentralise the educational structure of the school.

The school’s history is closely bound to the career and concerns of its founder Norman Potter, a practitioner in the margins of a mid-twentieth century English design culture. His work at the Construction School represents a period of intense critical thought about the structure of design education. The constitution of the school exemplified many of the ideas expressed in Potter’s What is a Designer, a text that was formulated during his time in Bristol. In particular Potter’s emphasis on the relational aspects of design – the mechanics of social interactions that shape design processes – was a defining feature of his programme.

The project was initiated during a residency at Spike Island, Bristol in Summer 2011. A presentation took place at Corner College in Zurich, June 2012. James Langdon is trained as an artist and now practices as an independent designer.

Workbench photograph courtesy Jim Wood.

Generously supported by the City Council of Amsterdam, District South