past exhibition

John Lewis: How We Live Today

What do the objects we select tell us about the relationships that exist between designer, retailer and consumer? Find out in this pop-up exhibition marking the 150 year anniversary of the opening of the first John Lewis store on Oxford Street in London.

What can you do at the exhibition?

  • 112
  • 21
    ways to make coffee
  • 103
    years - oldest object
  • 4
    categories of products

What's in the exhibition?

Showcasing over 100 products, including current best sellers and historical pieces from the Design Museum’s own collection, John Lewis: How We Live Today looks at the retailer’s influence on the British shopping landscape across a century and a half of trading, and considers the design thinking behind some of the everyday items that shape our lives.

The exhibition is divided in four distinct categories:

  • Design Archetypes features products so finely crafted that it is hard to imagine them ever significantly changing.

  • Keeping House charts the domestic revolution that has seen time-consuming chores like washing, cooking and cleaning become steadily less arduous.

  • Choice by Design highlights the many different decisions that a consumer makes between entering the shop and taking their chosen item to the till.

  • Evolution of a Product Type uses the transformation of home audio equipment to demonstrate how changes at the cutting-edge of technology translate to consumer goods and transform the size, shape, and performance of familiar devices over time.

Paul Smith on Dieter Ram's Phonosuper SK 5, featured in the exhibition:

Background image courtesy of John Lewis