IMAGE: Town Hall, Borgoricco, Padua, Italy, by Aldo Rossi, completed 1983
Tell me what you like and I'll tell you what you are
- John Ruskin.
Taste is how we fit ourselves into the world. Whether in art, architecture, literature, music or home furnishings, one’s choices are social signifiers. In 18th century England, Palladian architecture told others about your wealth, class and status, today your phone or what TV show you watch does the same. Taste is free, yet incredibly prescribed, codified and enforced and we are all pushed and pulled by it. RIBA hosts an evening exploring taste, manners, trend setters and pace makers with a special programme of talks, events, performance, film, music and more!*
All events are free of charge and on a first-come, first-served basis unless stated otherwise. *Some programme content may feature strong language
'Accounting For Taste' by Sam Jacob
6.30 to 6.50pm, Jarvis Hall, Lower Ground Floor
A talk about how to escape your own internal taste police, with advice from Dali, Warhol and Mel Brooks. As Picasso put it: 'Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing!'
'Rage Against the Machine' by Paul Dobraszczyk
7 to 7.20pm, Jarvis Hall, Lower Ground Floor
Why did so many Victorians react so strongly against machine-based production? From the pathological hatred of cast iron by Ruskin to its celebration by manufacturers like Walter Macfarlane, this talk explores the morality and taste obsessions of the 19th century.
'POP Goes Taste' by Malcolm Quinn
7.30 to 7.50pm, Jarvis Hall, Lower Ground Floor
From Ken Russell's film 'Pop Goes the Easel' (1962) to the recent decision of 'Playboy' magazine to to stop publishing pictures of fully naked women, a talk exploring Pop Art and its shifting cultural motifs, taste boundaries and new frontiers.
'The Dear Leader's Taste' by Oliver Wainwright
8 to 8.20pm, Jarvis Hall, Lower Ground Floor
'Let us turn the whole country into a socialist fairyland!' exhorts one of North Korea's official patriotic slogans. This talk explores Kim Jong-Un fairytale vision provides a rare glimpse into the architectural taste and choices of the hermit kingdom.
Performance – hosted by Poet in the City
All events take place on a specially designed art installation 'LOVELY' - a STORE collaboration with artist Andrew Munks, exploring taste within the art deco movement.
'Close your ears!' Banned Poems
6.30 to 6.50pm, Florence Hall, First Floor
A tour through infamy with banned and censored poems from Ancient Greece to Thatcher’s Britain, via the American Beats. Expect sex, drugs and body parts.
Poetry: a condemned building? with Sam Rivière, as part of Swimmers
7 to 7.20pm, Florence Hall, First Floor
If there's no good or bad in art or architecture, merely convention, what's the purpose of 'good' taste? In situations that are easy to imagine, vulgarity appears as an alignment of taste and necessity... 'Like a wrecking ball' - i.e. it clears the air, lets the light in!
'Wash your mouth out!' Vulgar Poems
7.30 to 7.50pm
Whether through language, satire or outright personal attack, poems can be beautiful and brutal in their vulgarity. Hear readings from Rochester to Larkin and beyond in this tour of the (dis)tasteful.
'Keats, Cockneys and the City'
8 to 8.20pm, Florence Hall, First Floor
Dr Greg Dart (UCL) explores vulgarity and affectation in the poetry of early 19th Century London. From accusations of urban vulgarity to satires on the ‘Cockney’ poets, weaving a story that starts with Leigh Hunt, Keats and Hazlitt in their North London enclave and find its way to Betjeman’s City.
Designing Women (1948)
On loop 6 to 9.45pm, Luytens, Second Floor
Produced by the Central Office of Information (COI), this film features Joyce Greenfell as an official taste guardian who guides us through the dos and don'ts of postwar home furnishings. Running time 23mins. Courtesy of the BFI Mediatheque and available as part of Design for Today Collection
66 Portland Place
6.30 to 7.15pm and 7.30 to 8.15pm, sign up at reception, Ground Floor.
Discover the history, highlights and curiosities of our stunning Art Deco home completed in 1934.
The Tasty HUB
6 to 9pm, Gallery, first floor landing - turn up
Do you revel in refinement or riot against it? Pin up, soup-up, customise and bedazzle your good/bad tasty self with our hands on workshop.
Exhibition & Displays
Palladian Design – the Good, the Bad and the Unexpected
6 to 10pm, The Architecture Gallery, Ground Floor
20 Years of the RIBA Stirling Prize
6 to 10pm, Open Space, First Floor
Exposure – Coffey Architects
6 to 10pm, The Practice Space, Second Floor and 4th Floor Terrace
Food/drink and Music
Bar/cafe and 'Ear Joy/Ear Pain' by DJ Fav
From 6pm – music until 9.40pm and last orders at the bar 9.30pm.
Florence Hall and landing, First floor
Part of a season of events inspired by Palladian Design – the Good, the Bad and the Unexpected.
The exhibition is generously supported by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, The Headley Trust and the American Friends of the British Architectural Library