A new exhibition exploring the history of skateboard designs spanning over seven decades is due to open this Friday (October 20) at the Design Museum. Aptly named SKATEBOARD, the exhibition will showcase a new skate ramp that visitors will be invited to try, for anyone fancying a ride.
SKATEBOARD will see the installation of London’s newest skate ramp, inspired by California skate heritage, the 3.5ft mini ramp with an 8ft extension that has been designed especially for the Design Museum by exhibition curate Jonathan Olivares with Betongpark, one of Europe’s industry leaders in skatepark design and construction.
This will be the first major UK exhibition that looks at the design journey of skateboards, tracing it from the 1950s when designs were homemade using roller skate trucks nailed to wooden crates to create makeshift boards, to the commercialisation of the skateboard industry in the 1990s, and all the way to the admission of the sport in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The exhibition unveils numerous rare and special boards that have been famed in skateboarding history. These include Tony Hawk’s first-ever professional model skateboard on loan from the Tony Hawk archive and some of the early 1950s homemade skateboards from California. Also featured are Laura Thornhill’s Logan Earth Ski 1970s pro model, which was the first women’s pro model, and the Sky Brown x Skateistan Almost deck from Sky Brown who at 13 years old famously won a bronze medal for Team GB at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
For visitors who have some experience in skateboarding, they’re able to book free slots to skate on the ramp with two open skate slots available every day and three on Saturdays. For non-skating visitors, the ability to see live skateboarding as part of their visit will allow them to see the skateboard design story in a real-life context. When the ramp isn’t in use for actual skateboarding, guests will be able to hang out and walk on the ramp to experience the design environment of these important aspects of skate culture.
The exhibition will run from October 20 2023 to June 2 2024 at the Design Museum which can be found at 224-238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG. Tickets are available to book now and can be found here.