Lara Croft Leads V&A's 2012 Exhibition Of British Design

Lara Croft, the Jaguar E-type, an LED dress and Concorde will star in the Victoria and Albert Museum's exhibition of British design, which will launch in time for the London Olympics.

The exhibition, British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age, features 350 works which sum up British innovation from the time of the last London Olympic Games until now.

Video games and technology feature strongly in the exhibition and the top five games chosen to exemplify British gaming design are Tomb Raider, Elite, Lemmings, Grand Theft Auto and Little Big Planet.

Curator Ghislaine Wood said: "We consulted plenty of people in the gaming industry, and it was clear that Lara Croft had to be in there. She was the first female action character. Lemmings was an historically important early game from DMA in Dundee. Grand Theft Auto by Rockstar, who we're still in talks with, was the first environment you could drive through. While Little Big Planet brings new elements like social and photography into games."

Concorde was an obvious choice for inclusion. In addition to the technical marvel of the delta wing, the curator believes it holds a romantic place in British hearts as a reminder of an age when our engineering ruled the skies. They also say it demonstrates a unique advancement in French/British cooperation.

A dress made of LED lights by Hussein Chalayan, Simon Heijdens light wallpaper and the Torsion chair, will show how technology is applied to create beautiful personal and domestic objects.

An Apple Mac designed by Brit Jonathan Ive and and Sinclair ZX computer represent great British hardware development. The two epitomise opportunities exploited and squandered. Ives' designs continue to be a market leader while Sinclair's computers, although significant in the early days of computing, no longer make a dent in the market.

James Dyson's first vacuum cleaner also seems an obvious choice as he remains the leading innovator in British engineering.

"The G-Force vacuum cleaner by James Dyson marks a point where it became difficult for innovative British designers to manufacture their products in this country," Wood added.

"So the design that you see in the exhibition had to be licensed to a Japanese company. We had not invested in the automated manufacturing processes that Japan had, and British labour costs could not compete with Asia."

The V&A's 2012 Exhibition Of British Design runs from March 31 to August 12 2012 at the V&A.

This is an amended version of an article first published on 7th October 2011.