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Alcantara + The Portal Galleries and Sir John Soane’s Museum Holborn London

The Summer Show

Sir John Soane was, to put it mildly, ahead of his time. It’s 185 years since the great architect and designer died and he is still providing inspiration for the arts. The latest show at his eponymous house museum is a collaboration between Alcantara and multidisciplinary design practice Space Popular. It is a celebration and exploration of portals, both physical and virtual: guests can enter a parallel world using virtual reality headsets to interact with panels and a table covered all covered in Alcantara. Invented in Milan in 1972, Alcantara is a luxury microfibre material part polyester part polyurethane. “We are fascinated by the technical, sensory and aesthetic qualities as well as the endless possibilities offered by Alcantara material,” note Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Helberg of Space Popular, “and its potential to be the canvas and portal to our virtual experiences.” Shifts in scale, unfolding walls and playing with mirrors are just three of the Soaneian portal devices that inspired the artists.