9 days over 300 events across the city, it was time to set my out of office, charge my camera and put my walking shoes on!The London Design Festival is one of the key events in design calendar and this year firmly established the capital as the premier destination to its international visitors. Time and geography got the better of me over LDF so I only managed to see a fraction of the amazing events, instillations and product launches. Across the next 3 blogs I’ve included my 20 highlights ; which was no mean feet to narrow down!
The Victoria and Albert Museum is always a key destination during LDF and this year was no exception, with many temporary exhibits creating a truly sensory experience and inspiring environments. After a pot of tea and large scone I was ready to explore.
1 - Double Space, for BMW. I have never experienced and instillation on this scale before. There are two huge wing-like structures suspended from above; with a highly polished surface, reflecting and distorting the amazing architecture and Raphael cartoons. The forms then gracefully independently move; revolving; constantly changing the space. This mammoth project is residing in the Raphael Gallery until the end of October and definitely worth a look.
2 – Candella. As you step into the Tapestries room, your eye slowly adjust to the muted lighting and you discover a futuristic green disc seemingly floating in the entre of the room. Totally hypnotic and immersive in this atmospheric space. The Candela (named after the standard unit of luminous intensity) is the brainchild of a multi-disciplinary team, Felix de Pass, Michael Montgomery and Ian McIntyre. Using the same technology as the glow in the dark parts on the arms of a watch; the disc rotates while a hidden strip of light ‘charges’ the surface, creating and endless flow of patterns that slowly fades.
3 – Wish List. Walking through from the Architecture rooms of the V&A you are greeted by the beautifully crafted pieces of the Wish List. As collaboration instigated by Sir Terence Conran, Benchmark Furniture and American Hardwood Council. 10 highly esteemed and established creatives/designers were teamed up with up and coming designers/makers to create what they’ve always desired.
Above is the beautifully crafted Cocoon desk for Terence Conran made by Sebastian Cox. This is exactly what I need; a place to escape while designing with no distractions! also you can see a huge turned table by Barnaby and Day for Alex de Rijke; the video is truly worth a watch.
Ves-el; commissioned by Zaha Hadid, designed with Gareth Neal. One of the hardest briefs of all”…Wooden tableware, but not as you know it”. The signature flowing lines of Hadid’s work has been captured in these vessels; designed using advanced 3D modeling software and manufactured using 5 axis CNC machine. I like the contrast of the modern with the timeless material and visible grains.
4 - Human Nature. Created by Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert. Reminiscent of large glass cannelloni, these huge tubes have been created using the same process which was traditionally used for making flat sheet of window glass. The composition of piles and lines of glass become almost architectural or sculptural, making a fragile material appear strong.
Celebrating its 20th year 100% Design resided for its last time in Earls Court. Attracting over 30,000 visitors across trade, press and the public, it was a must on the to do list. Not only for the design stands but also for the talks and guest speakers frequenting the Auditorium.
5 – Talks. I wish I had time to catch more but I managed to attend the pecha kucha; Speakers included Jaime Anley, Tomoka Azumi, Nick Crosbie, Ella Doran, Luke Pearson, Russell Pinch, Dick Powell, Nina Tolstrup and Gareth Williams.
One of my highlights was DM25 - What Next for Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, hosted by Design museum Director Deyan Sudjic. It was fascinating to hear first hand about their recent Design Museum exhibition “in the Making” and also have a brief incite into the challenges on their largest project yet; the trains for Cross Rail. Their enthusiasm is unbounded, and makes me want to set up a design studio now!
6 – Naomi Paul – Constructed textile design, crossing over into home lighting. Originally with a background in couture fashion, each light is hand crocheted, and the large loops allow light to emanate and diffuse though the cotton.
7 - 20 20 VisionBarbara Chandler. Anyone in the design industry who has exhibited their work during LDF would have surely spotted the familiar form of Barbara Chandler with her SLR camera draped around her neck and poised for the next designer or product to capture. Here in her 20 20 exhibition 20 designers have been selected who have exhibited across the show’s history and photographed with their products or in their studio/workshop spaces. Inspiring to see so many establish names in the design community and truly shows what a platform 100% design can be. I was fortunate to be captured by Barbra in one of her Design Portraits while exhibiting at Maison et Object back in 2010.
8 - Silo Studio. known for their innovative use of material and process, their most recent project is Newtons Bucket. Where these beautiful bowls are created using centrifugal force.
10 - Mathias Hahn – Runcible. I’ve been a fan of Mathias’ work for quite some time; being drawn to it without even realising it is his; Runcible is no exception. Made from hard maple, these kitchen utensils, these simple forms have been created sop the user can potentially have several uses for each piece.
12 - Orolog by Jamie Hayon. Lots of square a watches popping up at the moment; being slightly watch obsessed, I’m always looking for something new. The embossed quilted face, was interesting…overall to big for my little wrists though!
13 - Faerid – faerid.com. I really liked the aesthetic of these Berg nesting tables; it encapsulates to big trends at the moment; concrete and graphic geometric pattern.
14 – Get Clug. This is a clever tidy solution for the cycling addicted; with limited space. Get Clug is funded with kick starter; hopefully not long until mass production.
15 – Heal’s Discovers. Of course I had to include the Heal’s Discovers 2014 stand. At 100% the products were able to stand alone as their own collection; giving trade and press the opportunity to see the products first hand and actually speak to the designers face to face about their designs.
Habitat was celebrating 50 years, so 6 designers they have previously worked with were invited back to create something new, and exhibited at their Platform Gallery on Kings Road.
16 – In a dimly lit cluster of corridors I came across Aaron ProbynsSmithfield armchair, with a deep seat and soft blue leather it was hard to get up again from a day of walking!
17 – Lighting – I know its slightly cheating having 2 lights, first is the Crystalline light by Claire Norcross, and the other is Tord Boontjes Bouquet in characteristic floral cutouts.
18 – Conran. My first spot in the window was the Neat dining chair by Magnus Long, made of stained oak and powder coated metal tube; a modern classic.
19 – SKandium. Studio Skandium was celebrating is 15th anniversary, and up and coming designer Daniel Schofield designed several new pieces; including the above sofa.
20 – Mint. Last but not least; Mint shop. Which is an interiors and design store, that has an eclectic mix of international high end design that almost crosses over to art.
Next to venture into the city to see what LDF treats can be uncovered!