London’s Design Museum puts skateboarding under the spotlight

Exploring 70 years of counterculture

Billed as the first major UK show dedicated to the skateboard, this exhibition examines seven decades of countercultural design.

The expansive show, named simply Skateboard, is running at London’s Design Museum and is curated by author, designer and skater Jonathan Olivares, featuring more than 90 examples of boards, alongside other skate ephemera and hardware including wheels, magazines and VHS tapes.

It traces the development of skateboarding, beginning in the 1950s with homemade boards and moving through major points in history – including Tony Hawk’s first professional model skateboard, and the Sky Brown x Skateistan Almost deck.

Skateboard also examines the significance of the various boards and the impact they had on the wider sport, as well as looking at how other pieces of design influenced skate culture – for example, the Sony VX1000 camera’s role in documenting skateboarders, the first indoor skatepark and cult London skate shop Slam City.

Exhibition-goers can also book time to skateboard inside the museum, where they’ve installed a temporary skate ramp or join a series of New Year’s workshops dedicated to skate photography, branding and park master planning.

Skateboard is on display at the Design Museum until 2 June 2024.

Photography: Felix Speller / London Design Museum.
Mike McGill, frontside at Del Mar, 1984. Photography: Grant Brittain / London Design Museum.
Guy Mariano, Frontside Flip, LA, 1998. Photography: Mike Blabac / London Design Museum.

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