19 – 27 September 2015
Dieneke Ferguson and Alice Kim
The London Design Festival was established in 2009 and it celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world, creating a platform for inspirational design initiatives.
This year the London Design Festival was huge – there were over 350 events and installations, 7 design districts and some venues such as the V & A merit a whole day to see it all. The programme was double the size from last year and despite the fact that you have 10 days it required a bit more planning than previous years.
So here are some tips on what to see and where to find further information. The links go to the relevant pages on the London Design Festival website:
- Landmark Projects
- London Design Festival at the V&A
- Somerset House
- Design Destinations
- Design Districts
A Bullet from a Shooting Star by Alex Chinneck
Conceptual artist Alex Chinneck is renowned for elevating everyday structures into the extraordinary by introducing an element of fantasy into familiar situations. Uniting the disciplines of art, design, architecture and engineering, his public installations are considerable in both scale and ambition. Each project is conceived in response to the place in which they stand and are unique to their location.
A Bullet from a Shooting Star takes the form of a regular electricity pylon but given the structural feat it is performing, the design is far from conventional.
Referencing the industrial history of the site which once included the largest oil and gas works in Europe and a steelworks, Chinneck will create a lattice of steel, that resembles an upside down pylon, leaning at a precarious angle as though shot into the earth. The construction and materials will reflect the same visual and material language of multiple structures across the Peninsula, particularly the redundant gas tower located on site while also evoking the idea of power generation and supply.
The 35-metre high structure has been designed to be seen from a distance, and can be viewed from North Greenwich Station, the Emirates Airline cable car, the Thames Clipper service, Canary Wharf and all planes that fly to and from City Airport. Illuminated at night, the work acts as a literal beacon and will project a maze of latticed shadows.
A Bullet from a Shooting Star contains a combined length of 1005m of steel weighing 15 tons. There are 450 pieces of steel with 900 engineered connection points. The foundations will include 19m deep piles within 78m³ of concrete.
The V & A was the central hub location for the London Design Festival for the seventh year, and again it had a broad range of commissioned activity across the Museum and included installations, events, talks and workshops.
By Frida Escobedo
Supported by the government of Mexico as part of the Year of Mexico in the UK
John Madejski Garden
Titled You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well As By Reflection, Escobedo has created a pavilion, inspired by Tenochtitlán, the Aztec city that was built on a lake. Referencing the multicultural influences that coexist in contemporary Mexico, the pavilion is a flexible space made up of layers of reflective surfaces that can be moved and adapted to hold a wide variety of events and activities.
By Grafton Architects for Irish Design 2015
Gallery 94, Tapestries (Level 3)
In conjunction with Graphic Relief, ‘The Ogham Wall’ is inspired by the Irish Ogham alphabet, dating from the 4th century AD. As a basis for exploring the ancient and the contemporary, the installation translates this ancient language into an architectural construct of three metre high cast concrete ‘fins’ standing in the space of the Tapestry Gallery. Each of the 20 letters represent the name of a sacred tree, where the individual pattern of the bark is etched onto the surface treatment of the concrete.
The history of the installations the designers were inspired by suited well to the environment of the v&a museum itself. The Ogham Wall by Grafton Architects & Graphic Relief for Irish Design was inspired by the Irish Ogham alphabet which dates from around the 4th century and which the abstract tree bark patterns on the concrete reflect the richly textured tapestries in the room.
By mischer’traxler for Champagne Perrier-Jouët
Norfolk House Music Room
One of my favourite installations was The Curiosity Cloud by Mischer’Traxler who have collaborated with Boutique champagne house Perrier-Jouët as part of their ongoing design collaboration ‘Small Discoveries’. The new project, Curiosity Cloud, will explore the transience of nature and the Art Nouveau movement.
mischer’traxler capture the very essence of Perrier-Jouët with their own unique interpretation, an interactive installation comprising 250 mouth-blown glass globes hanging within the V&A’s famous Norfolk House Music Room. Each globe will shelter a hand fabricated insect. From a distance shimmers of lights are glowing and some insects are in motion, emitting sound when they collide with the glass in which they are trapped. As visitors approach the globes, more insects react, enclosing the audience in a sensuous atmosphere. An interactive play, acting as an allegory of the dialogue between mankind and nature. The installation is visually bright and stunning in the rich interior of the Norfolk House Music Room.
By Laetitia de Allegri & Matteo Fogale
Supported by Johnson Tiles
Gallery 111, Medieval and Renaissance (Level 3) Entrance foyer to Gallery 131 Glass (Level 4)
The V&A had mostly installations of which visitors were able to interact with. Mise-en-abyme by Laetitia de Allegri & Matteo Fogale who joined forces with Johnson Tiles were inspired by the on-point perspective in art during the Renaissance period to create colourful semi-transparent panels to be installed on a bridge that overlooks the Medieval and Renaissance galleries. The panels also reference the V&A’s colourful stained glass collections displayed nearby the installation.
The designers have created a landscape of shapes which will emphasise the visitor’s viewpoint at the entrance to the bridge. The overlapping of semi-transparent colours will create a void and feeling of depth while the arrangement of the tiles on the floor will represent the grid and perspective lines on a drawing. The designers reference the V&A’s glass and stained glass collections through their use of coloured transparent materials.
Created in collaboration with Swarovski, Zotem is an 18-metre-tall double-sided monolith embedded with over-sized Swarovski crystals, which rises vertically from the Museum’s Grand Entrance to the Ceramics gallery directly above it, on the sixth floor.
The installation comprises over 600 custom-made Swarovski crystals scaled up to 2.5 times their regular size and displayed in a grid pattern within a frame of matte black aluminium. A roll of vividly printed mesh runs in a continuous loop inside the two aluminium faces – moving up one side and down the other. As light shines through the graphic mesh and the crystals, the pattern and colour is projected and distorted, creating an ephemeral and dynamic effect that brings the crystal to life and draws the eye upward. At the top of the structure – which can be viewed from the Contemporary Ceramics gallery – the crystal grid pattern fans out in a crescendo of colour and light.
Supported by Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation
British Galleries Landing (Level 4)
2015 marks the centenary of the birth of Robin Day, one of the most significant British furniture designers of the 20th century whose work pioneered a new modern ethos for post-war Britain with simple, functional furniture.
To celebrate Day’s life and to mark the huge contribution he made to our everyday lives, design and architecture collective Assemble will create an installation responding to Day’s passionate interest in wood, which will be shown alongside original furniture designs, archival photos and tools.
Curated by Jane Withers, the display will explain the significance of wood in Day’s work and life, an aspect of his work that has been previously overlooked.
By Barnaby Barford
Gallery 50A, Medieval and Renaissance
8 September – 1 November 2015
An imposing six-metre high installation by artist Barnaby Barford, The Tower of Babel comprises 3000 bone china façades, each depicting a different London shop photographed by the artist. At its base the shops are derelict, while at its pinnacle are London’s exclusive boutiques and galleries.
Standing as a monument to the great British pastime of shopping, Barford’s apparently precarious Tower playfully likens our efforts to find fulfilment through retail with the biblical Tower of Babel’s attempt to reach heaven. Explicitly blurring the boundaries of art and commerce, each shop in the Tower will be for sale during its exhibition. With more prestigious but less affordable properties higher in the Tower, Barford confronts us with the choices we ourselves make as consumers, through necessity or desire.
By Faye Toogood
Gallery 55, The Clore Study Room
19 September – 27 September 2015
The concept of The Cloackroom by Faye Toogood was also very meaningful and also outstanding for the level of presentation. By visiting the enormous museum the V&A is, the visitor can become an explorer by putting on a special and unique garment designed by Toogood to have a very good thorough look around with a map. The map gives the visitor guidance to a further ten garments in diverse locations around the V&A, all which have been made with different materials representing items from the museum’s collections.
V&A Talks and Workshops Programme
The unique collaboration between the V&A and the London Design Festival began in 2009 and has offered a packed programme of lunchtime lectures, gallery talks, hands-on workshops and provocative debates every year.
Following on from a more curated approach which has proved popular in previous years, each day of talks at the V&A is themed, helping visitors and participants to make the most of their time and interests during the Festival.
This year, the themes are: Graphics (the weekend of the 19 and 20), Luxury (Monday 21), Future (Tuesday 22), Making (Wednesday 23), International (Thursday 24), Industry (Friday 25), and Digital Design (the weekend of 26 and 27). On Friday 25 September the Museum will remain open until 10pm, with activities including music, talks and tours.
Continuing from the success of last year and in addition to the talks programme, there will be free daily tours within the Museum of the installations and displays.
Somerset House, one of London’s most important centres for arts and culture, is this year a major new destination for the London Design Festival and will showcase a series of exciting exhibitions, installation and events during the Festival.
Another favourite was the Serif TV designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec in collaboration with Samsung. As you enter the room, you question why the televisions are all facing sideways and you realise as the brothers explain their new product that they were purposefully placed like that to show the sides of the TV which are shaped as the capital I in the Serif font. When you look at the front of the TVs, they look like picture frames. Simple and minimal, they can stand on their own or with legs. The TV also has a filter feature that covers the content of what is on the TV, giving an abstract, fuzzy view of what is going on underneath. It allows the user to use the clock, Bluetooth speakers, photo gallery and apps. Around in the different rooms showed the different colours of the TV in context and also the different prototypes of the design process were shown.
West Wing Galleries
Ten Designers in the West Wing presented the work of an impressive list of well-established names, all of whom have been invited by the London Design Festival. Participants included Nendo, Faye Toogood and Ross Lovegrove who all created room installations of their new work.
The exhibition was located in the newly renovated West Wing and is intended as a showcase of creativity and the very best in contemporary design.
The Challenge, which launched in April is open to anyone across the UK. It invites entrants to come up with an idea that either solves a problem using Twitter or creates something beautiful using Twitter data.
Every year a selection committee comprising established designers, commentators and previous winners sit down to choose recipients of The British Land Celebration of Design Awards. The winners are picked from a wide range of design disciplines and awarded for their exceptional contribution to their field. For 2015, the illustrious selection board includes Dr. Martin Roth (Director, V&A), Paul Thompson (Rector, Royal College of Art) and Justine Simons (Head of Culture, Mayor of London).
This year for the first time an exhibition will present key works from the winners of the British Land Celebration of Design Awards 2015. Once again, there will be four categories including headline support from Panerai who are supporting the Panerai London Design Medal, as well as the PCH Design Innovation Medal and the Swarovski Emerging Talent Medal. The exhibition will show imagery and objects chosen by the four winners to represent their achievements and will remain on show for the duration of the Festival.
A very memorable installation at the Somerset House was My Grandfather’s Tree by Max Lamb. The designer tells a beautiful story of how the ash tree that grew next to his grandfather’s cottage in his farm in Yorkshire had began to age and needed to be cut down. He found it sad that the great tree that had lived more than a century, experienced all the natural changed would be unfortunately be cut down and burnt into ashes. For such an incredible structure of nature, he found it a waste of material that contains too much potential that he decided to find a use for it. As a result the tree was cut down to 131 logs. “Together with my tree surgeon friend Jon Turnbull, we dissected the tree from the top downwards, cutting it into sections at regular intervals, which I could transform into finished logs to be used as stools, tables and chairs,” explains Max. “I wanted the tree to remain integral to the wood and to process each section of the tree as little as possible, other than to make the top and base level in order to give function to the material.”
The result is sections of the tree divided into 130 logs laid out in order of diameter, with the 187 annual growth rings clearly visible. With his intention that his grandfather’s tree should survive beyond its rooted life, “the ash tree continues to exist as an ash tree, but with a new life, a new function and the start of a new history.”
Little were done to each section of the trees so that its identity remains which I believe was an important and wise choice. As you enter the exhibition, a small piece of wood sits on the floor in the middle of the large space and as you enter through the arches, what you see is aligned pieces of logs of all different sizes. It was beautiful to see the gigantic tree that survived to remain its features and lay peacefully on the wooden floor waiting to find its place again for a second generation.
Over the past decade, Max Lamb has garnered a reputation for working with his hands to directly manipulate single materials, turning the likes of boulders, logs and even polystyrene into roughly hewn seating objects, tables and the likes. This project is an ambitious extension of his genre, working with an entire tree to dramatic effect.
23-26 September 2015
Based upon the central theme ‘Design in Colour’, 100% Design 2015 has collaborated closely with trend forecasters WGSN among many others to bring to life the visual and sensual experience of using colour across interiors and the build environment.
This is supported by specially commissioned and thought-provoking editorial features, world-leading seminars and live content, alongside over 400 exhibitors.
The top colour trends for 2016 will thread throughout the show as a means to demonstrate the importance of colour and to navigate the show.
Exhibitors include Headsprung with new interior accessories launched.
and Tom Raffield with his wooden lighting.
From China there were the stand from ShenZhen and the China Pavillion.
Further information about Talks at 100% Design
20 – 23 September
Decorex had a strong theme this year in relation to luxury.
Leading applied arts and design critic, Corinne Julius, curates the eagerly anticipated sequel to Future Heritage, an exciting feature of people to commission and the names to collect in contemporary British craft and design.
Chenbo Shi presented ‘Aliens from the Undergrowth’, a collection of papier mache furniture in rice paper.
Stunning were the interactive vases embedded with LED by Moritz Waldemeyer called Ming for Play of Brilliant.
The New Craftsmen designed the VIP lounge in association with House & Garden. As part of this they presented ‘Baskets of the British Isles’, which was co-curated by Master Basket Maker Hilary Burns.
In addition they presented the ‘Bowls of Britain‘ Installation from 18 makers.
Central Saint Martins and Victoria House
24 – 27 September
In a move which will result in a major collaborative show for London, the former Central Saint Martin’s College building will house more than 180 brands and live content, whilst across the road, Victoria House will present over 50 design-led pop-up shops.
There will also be Lightjunction, a seminar programme, interactive flash factories and food – all spread across two historic venues.
Lindsey Lang has delved into the TfL archives to create a capsule collection of design led products, inspired by Harold Stabler’s Roundel tile design and Enid Marx’s Chevron moquette upholstery. Lindsey combines the bright and bold aesthetic of TfL alongside her own brand’s to create the perfect pair.
She also launched a new collection of 3d encaustic tiles which are also inspired by Harold Stabler’s Roundel for Transport for London.
DesignK launched additions to his Geometry Collection in primary colours.
Hokolo launched her new collection which included an upholstered chair in collaboration with Dare Studios.
Dare Studio launched new collaborations including with Hokolo and Eley Kisimoto.
The Goat Story coffee mug was recently successfully funded on Kickstarter.
Customised Eames Elephants were on display with 21 designers and architects having added their personal touch. The installation was designed by Anthony Dickens and Studio Make Believe. All were auctioned in support of Teddy’s Wish.
Bankside Design District
Oxo Tower Wharf
London SE1 9PH
11am – 6pm
Designersblock showcased multidisciplinary design from over 100 independent designers, collectives and companies. Established in 1998, Designersblock shows feature product, lighting, jewellery, ceramics and concepts from emerging and established designers, over three floors in this landmark venue.
It included work from the knitted textiles designer Catherine Macgruer – stunning cushions, shawls and blankets in 100% merino wool.
And Imagery Code from Korea exhibited baroque and sumptuous tableware, fit for royals.
Tent London & Super Brands London at the Old Truman Brewery
24 – 27 September
Thu 10am – 7pm, Fri-Sat 10am – 8pm, Sun 11am – 5pm
450 exhibitors from 29 countries. It included again cross-disciplinary selections by producers such as Kristine Bjaaldal for 100% Norway 2015.
It also included again Consistency & Change in Korean Craft exhibition with some stunning ceramcs.
Taste Taiwan celebrated World Design Capital 2016 with a dining experience called Eataipei.
Kukka presented an exclusive composition of surfaces and tables in collaboration with Caesarstone. The exhibition called Thirty Four was created in reference to the 34 colours within the Caesarstone 2015 Supernatural Series. The 1141 Table was also shown at The Art of Progress Exhibition at 19 Greek Street during the London Design Festival.
Bright Potato launched their new lighting Papillon (Stand D02, Hall T1)
and Jonna Saarinen (Stand M12, Hall T3-C).
20 – 25 September
At Focus/15 connect, converse, create. A comprehensive collective of over 500 leading international brands runs the gamut from classic contemporary to cuttingedge. There will be ‘Conversations in Design’ sessions while ‘Access All Areas’ features over 100 events bringing new insights at workshops, talks and forums. Plus specially commissioned installations and pop-ups.
Old Selfridge’s Hotel, 1 Orchard Street, London W1H 6JS
In collaboration with wallpaper*, tom dixon took over a vast derelict space at the old Selfridges hotel to present ‘multiplex’- an immersive, ‘multi-sensory department store of tomorrow’. installed for a month, the scheme hosts an alternative department store divided into sections dedicated to technology, art, cars, food, fashion, along with a space exhibiting the british designer’s ongoing work and products. the exciting project aimed to show ‘the future of shopping’.
As you walk up the stairs you are at once mesmerised by the bright and bold colours of the new Tom Dixon collection. The huge lights certainly catch your attention. The Etch pendants made from brass are geometrical and hang at all different levels. Nearby hangs the Melt pendants which literally look like balls of lava that are beautiful in both its colour and abstract shapes. Underneath sat the new Brew, a coffee maker made of stainless steel with a high-gloss copper finish which by the lights reflected on the material made the set look more of an artistic piece than just any ordinary coffee maker. The space was simply luxurious and classy.
There was great ice cream made with the Mechanical Gelato Machine following a 17th century method which enables ice cream to be made in half an hour.
Each design district has a late night opening. They are listed in order of the late night opening.
Late night opening on Monday 21 September.
The Chelsea Design Quarter is one of London’s freshest and most eclectic interior design hubs where classic and contemporary sit cheek by jowl. With the largest and most diverse selection of established interiors specialists concentrated in one area, this Quarter is located in and around the southern end of King’s Road running along Lots Road to Imperial Wharf.
Participating Partners will be staging a range of special events ranging from demonstrations and workshops, talks and debates, new product launches and exhibitions throughout the week, with a specific programme of events taking place in various showrooms on Monday 21 September.
Late night opening on Tuesday 22 September.
Clerkenwell is one of London’s oldest boroughs, and now home to some of the most established furniture brands in the world. With a long and glorious tradition of royalty, religion and revolution, Clerkenwell is now the beating heart of British architecture and design.
During this year’s Festival visitors will be able to enjoy brands and showrooms and see hundreds of new products from some of the leading names in design.
Ella Doran and The Great Recovery
Material Engagement – the Art of Re-Upholstery
1 Frederick’s Place, Off Old Jewry, EC2R 8AE
A day at Fab Lab London exploring the possibilities, challenges and rewards of re-upholstering old furniture to give it a new life through talks, hands-on demonstrations & the opportunity to talk to the participants of the Great Recovery’s design residency with SUEZ. Please register via Eventbrite.
This event reflects and builds on the Great Recovery’s ‘bulky waste’ Design Residency in partnership with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery earlier in the year.
Hackney duo Urban Upholstery and award-winning textile designer Ella Doran join the Great Recovery at Fab Lab London to explore how to reduce the quantity of furniture going to landfill through considered design approaches and practical re-upholstery techniques.
Late night opening on Tuesday 22 September.
The Islington Design District returns for its second year, bringing together a growing collection of design-led shops, showrooms and cafes in the Islington area including SMUG, Aria, twentytwentyone, Present & Correct and Folklore.
Visitors will be able to walk the Islington Design District Trail from Amwell Street south of Angel, through to Camden Passage and along Upper Street, to discover new designers, special product launches and one-off exhibitions and events.
Late night opening on Tuesday 22 September.
The Shoreditch Design Triangle 2015 will be one of the most coherent streetby-street events during this year’s London Design Festival. Now in its seventh consecutive year, the event brings together a collection of designers, stores, galleries, studios, cafés, bars, brands and one-off events for a week of design-led festivities. The Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street will provide a hub for people to meet, relax and gather information.
On Redchurch Street, many design shops participated including Lee Broom and Charlene Mullen.
T2 the luxury tea shop had its shop front designed by Patternity
Truly collaborative and harking back to the days when the Hoxton and Shoreditch area was re-invigorated by the Young British Artist movement, the event revels in the true spirit of London, a place that bursts with new ideas, historical places and spaces, and the colourful characters who have strode the East End for many a year.
SCP showcased Sofa in Sight, a collection that explores ideas in upholstery making through six different sofa designs. In the picture are: green: Faudet-Harrison; Red, Pasha by Konstantin Gric; Bleu: Linear by Terence Woodgate and Yellow: Tepee by Lucy Kurrein
There are two events taking place at the Geffrye Museum. Ceramics in the City is a 3 day selling fair (25-27 September) featuring 50 potters.
There will also be a pop-up shop “Makers of East London” from 17 September – 4 October.
Late night opening on Wednesday 23 September
Bankside will this year be the first London Design Festival Design District located South of the river. Bankside has seen ongoing transformation since Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge launched in 2000. Today the area has become a creative hub, home to many galleries, design studios, architectural practices and creative agencies.
The Bankside Design District spans from Borough Market to the Oxo Tower and a number of exciting events and activities are lined up to showcase the creative industry within the area, from workshops to walking tours, exhibitions and outdoor installations.
Highlights include Better Letters, who will host a pop-up Sign School at Borough Market, in keeping with the market’s heritage of painted signage. Local calligrapher Paul Antonio Scribe will run a series of calligraphy masterclasses in his studio as well as a fascinating talk on the history of the alphabet. Jerwood Visual Arts will once again be exhibiting the works of prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize artists.
Not to be missed is the Unexpected Welcome by Moooi
New designs by Arihiro Miyake, Atelier Van Lieshout, Jonas Forsman, Bertjan Pot, as well as creations by Front for Moooi Carpets.
Let yourself be enchanted by Miyake’s Coppelia Lamp inspired by ballerina’s graceful dance with its sinuous movements, a delicate after-image suspended in the air. You are also invited to discover Statistocrat Floor Lamp’; a multifunctional light with its towering two meters and all-embracing light beams, and a handy side table offering you support as any great companion would!
Born in the name of flexibility and adaptability, the Jonas Forsman’s Shift Chairs beat all pre-conceptions on foldable chairs by being extremely practical and delightfully cosy at the same time, transforming and adapting to different situations.
Take your time to celebrate together with the Carbon Chair a new family addition: the Carbon Barstool which embodies the same passion for craftsmanship, but literally takes it to another level.
Late night opening on Thursday 24 September.
Brompton Design District, the original Design District, is a partnership of leading brands and cultural institutions. For London Design Festival it will also host a renowned pop up programme, curated by design consultant Jane Withers.
Skandium, the authority of Scandinavian design, will introduce the architect and designer Jonas Lindvall, while at nearby Mint, Lina Kanfani will curate a show highlighting emerging designers. More new talent can be seen from Sarah van Gameren and Philippe Malouin who co-curate Platform 18 at the RCA in their closing exhibition before they move on from their roles as tutors in Design Products. Dzek, initiator of designer-led architectural materials, will make their hometown debut with a new installation in a garage space. Furniture-makers Benchmark will showcase their technical making skills and craftsmanship, partnering with 1882 Ltd, the inventive ceramics company, this year launching a range with sought-after New York based designer-maker Lindsey Adelman and Kiki Van Eyk.
On Brompton Road, Boffi presents for the first time in the UK the Salinas kitchen by Patricia Urquiola together with the latest collections for the kitchen, bathroom and storage system. B&B Italia will showcase new releases from their 2015 collection, alongside Cassina who will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original LC collection. Squint, run by textile queen Lisa Whatmough, teams up with London Morgan Cars to produce bespoke designs incorporating her velveted covering technique, alongside bespoke luggage.
And The Serpentine Galleries celebrates the 15th anniversary of the world-renowned Pavilion commission. (25 June – 18 October 2015)
Late night opening on Thursday 24 September, daytime event and open studios on Saturday 26 September.
A long-established hub of creativity and international design talent, the Queen’s Park Design District event will encompass a series of open studios, live design events, art installations, and workshops centred around Lonsdale Road, Salusbury Road and Kimberley Road.
The relaxed ambience of the Queen’s Park area comes hand in hand with a vibrant spirit and an innovative attitude. The Queen’s Park creative community is committed to maintaining the most desirable work/life district in the capital.
This year we welcome new partners into the district along with established names – exhibitors include Bill Amberg Studio, The Interior Design School, Some Ideas London, Claridge Architects, Hub Architects, Theo Williams, and Rupert Bevan.