Where form meets function

The Museum of Arts and Design gets in on the bicycle craze today with the opening of Bespoke: The Handbuilt Bicycle. Six renowned frame builders (including Jeff Jones, Dario Pegoretti, and Sacha White) are on display. In all, there are 21 bicycles, selected by curator Michael Maharam (owner of the eponymous textile firm), each chosen to reflect the intersection of art, craft, and design inherent to the beauty of custom bicycle manufacture.

From the museum –

Despite the seeming simplicity of their form and mechanics, bicycles offer a unique challenge to their makers. Rider and machine meet at three contact points-saddle, handlebar, and pedal. The custom builder’s chief preoccupation is with fit; simply taking a rider’s measurements may require more than two hours for a single commission. Every bicycle is a highly refined piece of engineering.

Custom bicycle building involves master metalwork: bending, welding, carving and wrapping steel, titanium, aluminum and carbon. A graphic artist’s eye is required in the application of paint and decorative flourishes. The custom models exhibited in Bespoke are the virtuosic productions of individual makers who lavish great attention on detail. The resulting product reflects the builder’s sensibility paired with the rider’s unique needs, turning the custom bicycle into a work of art.

If interested the exhibition is up at MAD until August 15, 2010.

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