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London museum turns 3D-printed Liberator guns into works of art

Matt Brian, @m4tt
September 16, 2013
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Home to some of the world's rarest pieces of art, London's Victoria & Albert (V&A) museum has just added a modern, yet controversial piece to its collection: the world's first 3D-printed weapon. The museum has managed to get its hands on the two prototype Liberator pistols which were successfully fired by their creator Cody Wilson back in May, offering London's culture lovers the chance to view the original $25 do-it-yourself plastic firearm in all its glory. The gun has come under fire for supposedly aiding terrorist threats, leading the State Department to demand Defense Distributed take down online copies of the Liberator's schematics. The V&A could have simply printed their own models, downloading the blueprints like 100,000 other people, but Wilson claims the originals add a sense of authenticity. One of the models is so authentic, it'll go on show with half of its right side blown off, because, y'know, guns.

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The Design Fund to Benefit the V&A Announces New Contemporary Acquisitions

The Design Fund to Benefit the V&A has this year enabled the Museum to acquire five contemporary design projects ranging from a series of vessels made of natural polymers to a 3D printed gun. They will all go on display at the V&A for the first time during London Design Festival (14-22 September).

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, said: "The generosity of supporters of the Design Fund ensures that the V&A is able to acquire for our permanent collections some of the best and most exciting design projects of our time. This year's acquisitions reflect an interesting combination of new technologies working with traditional crafts."

Yana Peel, Founder of the Design Fund to Benefit the V&A, said: "We are thrilled that in its third year, the Design Fund to Benefit the V&A has continued to enable the acquisition of such meaningful works for the Museum. With 17 exceptional contemporary design projects now acquired through the collective generosity of the Fund's donors, a legacy is being built to represent the leading trends in design and society of today."

The Design Fund was set up in March 2011 by arts patron Yana Peel, to bring together design enthusiasts with a shared passion for contemporary design and an interest in supporting the V&A's aim to enrich people's lives by promoting knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world. Over the last two years supporters of the Fund have enabled the V&A to buy a number of pieces by such international designers as Fredrikson Stallard, Joris Laarman and nendo. Some of the pieces are now on permanent display in the V&A's new Dr. Susan Weber Gallery for Furniture, while others will go into future exhibitions.

These new acquisitions significantly enhance the V&A's holding of contemporary design, a collection which reflects what is new, influential, innovative or experimental, and what is representative of current trends in design and society. The collection spans all aspects of design and art including fashion, furniture, craft objects, product and graphic design, digital media, architecture, photography, prints and drawings.

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