London Design Festival 2012, Part 1 of 3.

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1 of 3 V&A, The Dock, Top Drawer and

My time of living is China has come to an end with many exciting opportunities coaxing us back to the UK, but this is not the last of my Chinese blogs, no not by a long shot; with a trip booked in for more factory visits and photography in November.

My timing couldn’t have been better landing just in time for the London Design Festival and I wasn’t going to let a little thing like jet lag stop me squeezing as much as possible.
Celebrating its 10 anniversary LDF has expanded and evolved, the guide get bigger every year with ever expanding venues and events. I managed to make it to a few of the big hitters, but working for a company heavily involved with the festival left limited time.

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From what I did see there were some definite trends emerging, traditional hand crafting techniques using natural materials contrasting with digital instillations like Prism at the V&A. Copper, brass, shiny and matt and mixing materials. Also bright colours are still en-vogue in reaction to the financial downturn, creative are still remaining fun and positive.

These are the edited highlights..there are still allot of photos so I hope your sitting comfortably.



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The Victoria and Albert Museum is a ‘go to’ destination for me any free weekend, but with the design nuggets stowed around its amazing Victorian architecture a visit during LDF was a must. First stop Heatherwick Studio “Designing the Extraordinary”, I’ve been a fan of Thomas Heatherwicks work, way before the 2011 Expo Pavilion, New Rout master and Olympic torch, I love the way he and his studio, don’t just settle with a good design, they always take it a level further. The exhibition was a little small but squeezed in many projects.

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Some of the brilliant Christmas cards.

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Prism an alternative view of London. By digital artist and film-maker Keiichi Matsuda, each section of the Prism was a digital display of data round London, and constantly evolved throughout the day.

The added bonus was that the access was via the ceramics collection and up a spiral stair case normally out of bounds to visitors.

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Behind the dome at the main entrance.

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Keiichi telling us about the work first hand.

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Don’t look down.

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Then up some more spiral stairs, to reveal and unseen 360 view of London.

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Down to the V&A court yard.

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A peak inside the Prism.

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Then Looking up from below.

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Of course the prolific Nendo; who have conceived a collection of ‘mimicry chairs’ composed of pressed and punched metal and lacquered white. They were in various configurations and positions spotted throughout the V&A showing how an object works with its environment.

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Then a cup of tea and an ENORMOUS meringue to keep me going and off again.

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Out via Dominic Harris and Cinimod Studio’s Walk the Light installation.


The Dock:

Visiting The Dock over the weekend just before LDF kicked in meant not too many visitors, but unfortunately missed some of the action. The Tom Dixon Website has a great short video from the event.

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The Dock has become an established location during LDF, now with a large showroom, which was the office when I interned there.

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Lustre ceramic lights made by hand.

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Top Drawer:

Trade Fairs aren’t usually considered as part of LDF, but thought it worth a look before heading home, and I’m glad I did.

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katie Leamon’s wrapping paper really caught my eye, I’m a sucker for graphic patterns.

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Although for me the best area was ‘Spotted’ at Top Drawer, which had 12 hand picked emerging design businesses.

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Lucy Alice Porter who I first spotted at New Designers 2011, had some great new textiles and brooches.

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All Lovely stuff have expanded their carefully considered collection, I loved the simplicity of their New Birds nest. Below I had a quick demo of their Drawing Machine.

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tuke & tuke and their ‘This Clock’

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Esme Winter and her amazing collection of wrapping papers and cards, her graphic style is really on trend but remains individual. If I received a present in this paper is would be unwrapped VERY carefully!

Being part of the Made team I’ve been lucky enough to see behind the scenes and contribute to their ever increasing ranges of affordable designed furniture for the home. For LDF it was time to open their new studio and showroom space on "The Ninth Floor”.

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The ‘Grand’ opening with the 3 founding partners, where the Made team got a sneak preview.

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We’re gradually taking over the whole building, at the lift your greeted by these mini-Made products.

Then Launch night with Brent Hoberman, Sir John Sorrell and Sebastian Conran debated the impact of the web on design, then champagne, macaroons and mingling between the products and designers who designed them.

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Hugh Leader-Williams being interviewed, who recently won the award at New Designers 2012 with his Spun furniture collection..

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mini models

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A very different space to your usual furniture showroom.

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The Jonah Range by James Harrison and Hexag tables by Jochem Faudet.

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And its not just the furniture that’s worth looking at the view of London is amazing too!