16 – 24 September 2017
Review by Annie Wu and Dieneke Ferguson
The London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world. Now in its fifteenth year, the Festival had an ambitious and exciting programme to navigate the design capital of the world over 9 days between 16- 24 September 2017. With so much on offer from Landmark Projects, to Design Destinations (100% Design, Decorex, Focus, DesignJunction and London Design Fair), 9 different design districts and three new design routes there simply isn’t enough time to see it all.
Some of the main themes running through the London Design Fair as we went through each event include
- Material innovation:
- Multifaceted use of design
- How products would be made beyond mass production
This is what we liked and saw:
This year there were two Landmark Projects: Villa Walala by Camilla Walala with British Land at Exchange Square at Broadgate and Urban Cabin by MINI LIVING with Sam Jacob at Oxo Tower Wharf Courtyard.
Villa Walala by Camille Walala
16-24 September 2017
Exchange Square, Broadgate
In partnership with British Land, Camille Walala’s Villa Walala is an immersive and playful installation within the heart of Broadgate. Constructed from vinyl, sealed PVC inners and high-strength nylon, it is a ‘soft-textured building-block castle’ covered and coloured with digitally printed patterns.
Camilla Walala: “ I wanted to create something that played to this idea of escaping the office, but which was also a surprising contrast to the architectural context – something colourful and playful that would make the people of Broadgate stop and smile.”
Urban Cabin by MINI LIVING
Oxo Tower Wharf Courtyard
The MINI LIVING team designed a micro-house, ‘URBAN CABIN’, as a research space for relevant urban needs and local identities in London. URBAN CABIN consists of a clever module reflecting its environment and featuring distinct London characteristics created by local architect Sam Jacob. Unique features include a shared kitchen and a micro-library where visitors to the space can share and swap literature. The question asked is how far you can reduce the objects you own while still clearly enjoying a local and personal sense of place. What you cannot be without…
London Design Festival at the V&A
For the ninth year the V&A again was the central hub location for the London Design Festival. It also had a broad range of commissioned activity across the Museum which included installations, events, talks and workshops.
Reflection Room, Flynn Talbot
Prince Consort Gallery
Reflection Room is an immersive coloured light experience that will be the first London Design Festival installation to be housed in the Prince Consort Gallery. The vaulted space is lit at each end to highlight and define the dramatic 35m length of the gallery, its ceiling structure attracts visitors to the installation.
Transmission, Ross Lovegrove
British designer Ross Lovegrove, inspired by the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries on display at the V&A, has created Transmission, a spectacular 21.3-metre-long fluid and free-standing three-dimensional tapestry, using Alcantara®, a tactile and sound absorbent material and an alternative to animal based textiles.
The soft undulating folds in the installation highlight and merge both colour and form of the medieval tapestries. The versatility of the material is exemplified in the different methods of treatment, including colouring and digital embroidery.
While we Wait, Elias and Yousef Anastas
Palestinian architects Elias and Yousef Anastas debut their installation While We Wait. Inspired by the scenic Cremisan Valley located on the seam between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the installation aims to explore the cultural claim over nature in Palestine.
Their work navigates the issues surrounding the construction of a wall through the middle of the Valley in the Palestinian landscape, which has separated links between a monastery and the local community.
Evocations by Petr Stanický
Displayed in light-filled vestibules next to the Glass and Ceramics Galleries will be two sculptural works by Czech glassmaker Petr Stanický.
“These works exist at a crossroads that lies between genuine shapes and forms, and those merely suggested by the sculptures’ imaginative illusory evocations,” Stanický says.
High Tide for Carmen
This summer, Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen will be presented on a huge scale on the lake stage of Bregenz Festival, in Austria. With direction by Kasper Holten, stage design by Es Devlin and video design by Luke Halls, this production pushes at the limits of modern technology. This special display, by Susanna Boehm, will celebrate the production, bringing set models and designs to the V&A Theatre and Performance Galleries, and getting under the skin of how the Opera on the Lake is created.
“Exhale Bionic Chandelier by Julian Melchiorri
Drawing inspiration from the V&As collections Julian has developed the world’s first living and breathing chandelier utilising novel bionic=leaf technologies.
GLOBAL DESIGN FORUM
The Global Design Forum is a week-long celebration of design and what it can do. Returning for a sixth year, and the third year at the V&A, in 2017 the Forum focused on profiling the industry’s pivotal figures who will each discuss their work against the background of a particular topic through Masterclass sessions and will provoke debate through daily panel discussion.
We visited two talks, one by Paul Cocksedge and the other about Designers in the Middle.
Paul Cocksedge spoke about his work, which included the installation Make Blood Cancer Visible on Paternoster Square as part of the Festival. 104 three-dimensional letterforms sculptures which represent 104 individuals that are diagnosed with blood cancer every day. They are sized perfectly to match each individual’s height and recreate their name in huge vertically placed letters. It also includes our CEOs myeloma
Designers in the Middle is an exciting new initiative that was founded in 2008 by Rona Meyuchas, the founder and creative director of Kukka, who works internationally and is inspired by local craft and manufacturing techniques. Kukka makes products from sustainable materials and cultural behaviours.
Rona initiated Designers in the Middle as a concept back in 2008 when she moved from London to the Middle East. The first Designers in the Middle Panel Discussion took place in London in 2016 during the London Design Festival and was curated by the Design Museum. The second Designers in the Middle Panel Discussion was held In May 2017 during ICFF in New York.
Chaired by Suzanne Trocmé, Editor at Large for Wallpaper*, Rona Meyuchas was be joined by an expert panel, including designer Nada Debs and Rami Tareef to explore how the region’s craft, heritage, daily life and industrial reality affect the work and lives of its designers. See Designers in the Middle for more details.
Design Frontiers at SOMERSET HOUSE
Design Frontiers is a free, group exhibition which features over 30 leading international designers. Design Frontiers explores the intersection between future-thinking and commerce, innovation and the demands of the modern market place. Working in partnership with their preferred clients and companies, designers have created installations to demonstrate how they are testing the frontiers of industry.
Tord Boontje created a chandelier in his collaboration with Swarovski. Luminous Reflections includes four lighting designs features the first ever unfaceted crystal components.
Swedish Design Studio Form Us with Love present Prototypa, a platform that nurtures the relationship between industry and creatives through a dialogue concerning prototyping. Display of prototypes and talks. I particularly liked the watch from
Mycelium. Timber by Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova explore the remarkable and ancient material relationship between wood and mycelium (fungus). They exhibited their research, creative process and prototypes.
Jaime Hayon and Jasper Morrison present jijibaba an evolving collection of apparel.
Pentatonic presents Trashpresso in the Courtyard. The world’s first mobile, off-grid recycling plant. The solar powered machine creates tiles out of London’s waste that can be used as building materials.
Decorex International 2017
Future Heritage, curated by Corinne Julius.
New pieces by 15 makers working in a variety of different materials. Collaborations, investigating new processes, pushing their materials and liaise with other specialists. They are working with a range of natural materials including wood, metal, textiles, leather, glass and ceramics, but are extending traditional techniques and combining them with new processes.”
Collaborations continue with Merel Karhof and Marc Trotereau’s ‘Forest of Light;’ a light installation that includes ‘The Totem’, a slowly rotating light some 4 metres high.
Work from ceramic artist David Marques included Rose Garden – Roses in water coloured paper mounted on porcelain plates attached with brass rods. Made to commission.
Experimental designer Marlene Huissoud exhibited her Cocoon Cabinet. The cabinet is created from silkworm cocoons and honeybee bioresin.
Design-Nation presented five new collaborative projects at their stand. This included Snowden Flood who created new fabrics with the patterns of the Print Archivists.
With the support of the King’s Cross development partnership, designjunction took over again the area for its flagship show during London Design Festival. The 67- acre King’s Cross site has a rich history and a unique appeal. This former industrial heartland was being transformed into one of the capital’s most exciting destinations, with the redevelopment of the area creating 1,900 new homes, 20 new streets, 10 new public parks and squares and 3 million square feet of commercial office space as well as cultural attractions.
The central fountain space on Granary Square was dominated by a great ceramic installation. In collaboration with Turkishceramics, Adam Nathaniel Furman presented Gateways, a series of colourful tiles gates that invite the visitor to take a journey through the rich history of ceramics in Turkey. Four metres high each gate with a different design story.
Linescapes exhibited with her architectural portraits on gifts and some of her commissions she has done. Her work aims to tap into people’s emotional relationships with buildings.
London Design Fair
21-24 September 2017
London Design Fair hosted host over 500 exhibitors from 29 countries. Exhibitors included independent designers, established brands, and international country pavilions, such as 100% Norway, Portugal, China, Sweden, India and Italy all of which will be launching new products to the UK market.
Yachenyawen Design Studio
This studio designs handcrafted objects with unusual material experimentations, merging design, technology and chemistry. This photo features some objects from the Landscape of Oxidation collection of Jesmonite, a material that is mineral based in acrylic resin. In this collection they were interested in deterioration, how time affects the surfaces of products. At a closer look each object on display contains cracks, all slightly broken. Yachenyawen were influenced by Kintsugi – a Japanese art form of repairing broken objects and their solution to repairing cracked Jesmonite was with metal.
This year there were nine Design Districts, with the addition of Mayfair and Pimlico Road.
Shoreditch Design Triangle
The Shoreditch Design Triangle, started in 2008, is a true celebration of the area, hosted by the creative companies who work here. Running consecutively for nine years, the event has gained a reputation as one of the largest and most exciting Festival Districts, with over 60 design-led events this year.
135-139 Curtain Road
Students of The Cass (London Met University) were briefed by SCP to create small, easily-shipped domestic products. With the help of the university, and their tutor Peter Marigold, the products were brought to market through a successful crowdfunding project entitled Cass Starters. An exhibit of the Cass Starters project was on display. SCP also presented the Penguin Huddle by Jasper Morrison for SCP.
Ceramics in the City
The Geffrye Museum’s annual celebration of ceramics returns in September, bringing together the work of over 50 leading ceramic artists from across the UK.
Lisa is a ceramicist based in Peak District National Park. Her ceramic bowls, tiles and vessels take material exploration in a different direction. Working with clay, rolling them into tubes or cones to form the thickness and structure of the vessels, she would finish the ceramic pieces with fossil like textures with washes of oxides and occasional use of gold leaf. She is inspired by nature, sea life illustrations of Ernst Haeckel. Each handmade piece displayed were unique, where each tile or vessel appear to have just been discovered after being fossilized under the forest floor.
See also Ceramics in the City 2017
Vitamin opened their brand new showroom in Drysdale Street enabling to see the Vitamin collection in one place.
A New Normal
Collaboration between Machine Room and Distributed Everything, a research group at the Royal College of Art.
A New Normal asks the question “Who is making products for a world beyond mass production. The participants make the future happen right now: a future where people are engaged in the design and production of their own goods by participating in online customisation and digital manufacture.
Kniterate, is a desktop digital knitting machine that brings fashion fabrication into small workshops. It allows designers, artists, illustrators and makers to automatically create custom knitted products and share their work across its platform.
Animaro is a furniture design studio founded by Matt Gilbert based in East London. They have a touch of playfulness to their designs. This object, titled the Crane Lamp, it is inspired by the Crane Bird extending its neck to catch prey and is a fusion of mechanics and customization. Made out of hardwood, it is designed to save space. You can interact with it, bend it and stretch it. The desk lamp stretches to 0.9m tall and the floor lamp 1.8m tall.
Bankside Design District
Putting south London design on the map, the district runs east to west along the Thames from Borough Market to Oxo Tower Wharf.
Oxo Tower Wharf
Oxo Tower Wharf hosted a series exhibitions and events including a Landmark Project with Mini Living and Sam Jacob, and Size Doesn’t Matter, from the Estonian Association of Designers
Common Parts Canteen at the New Craftsmen
The Common Parts Canteen opens for the duration of the festival to launch COMMON PARTS – a new furniture collection designed by Sue Skeen and made by the makers of The New Craftsmen. The canteen provided a hub for ideas exchange, debate and gossip. Refreshments will be served.
New Sanctuary Furnishings for Our Lady of Victories
Kensington High Street
A celebration of faith in craft through collaborations with Chris Eckersley and Gareth Neal, who collaborated with leading craftsmen in wood, brass, and stone. Leading to successful sanctuary furniture design.