London Design Festival 2018 – 15-23 September – is one of the most anticipated events on the global design calendar. Here’s our pick of design inspiration.
September 19th, 2018
Tom Dixon Studio at Coal Drops Yard
Tom Dixon celebrates moving his studio HQ to Coal Drops Yard – the new Heatherwick-designed hub in Kings Cross – with an exhibition exploring digital technology. Highlights include a series of digitally-printed leather hides by Bill Amberg in collaboration with, among others, Dixon, Timorous Beasties, and Faye Toogood (think photorealistic silver foil printed on leather); electronic sound artist Yuri Suzuki cutting records; and daily “electronic music school” sessions conducted by Teenage Engineering that will transform a railway arch into a seventies discotheque.
London Design Biennale, Somerset House
Flynn Talbot’s mesmerising, technicolour installation for the Australia pavilion at the London Design Biennale at Somerset House is a celebration of love and happiness, inspired by the new spirit of openness in his home country following the recent Australian same-sex marriage legislation. A multicoloured light screen made up of 150 optic fibre strands and inspired by the Pride flag hangs from a circular structure. Viewers can either move through and interact with the screen or stand at its centre surrounded by a rainbow wash of light.
London Design Biennale, Somerset House
Another highlight at the London Design Biennale is the Lebanon installation. The Silent Room, created by Lebanese designer Nathalie Harb, offers visitors a refuge in which to escape the persistent noise and other sensory aggravations of a big city. The cocoon-like brick and timber space is accessed via a set of simple stairs, and visitors sit in dim light on blankets with ambient noises of the city at its quietest moments playing in the background. “It offers the luxury of silence to everyone,” says the designer.
2018 Landmark Project, Fortnum & Mason
Dutch design studio Scholten & Baijings have taken British high tea global by creating the ultimate tea party on the first floor of Fortnum & Mason, London’s iconic department store. A tea party performance will take place four times a day throughout the festival at a six-metre-long table using 80 products from around the world – including chairs by Danish brand HAY and Italian brand Moroso, curtains by Danish company Maharam, and marble tables by Italian manufacturer Luce di Carrara. An exquisite porcelain tea set by 1616 / Arita in Japan, which has been creating ceramics since the 17th century, has been designed and developed especially for the occasion.
British design studio Layer, led by Benjamin Hubert, is involved with two of the biggest spaces at this year’s designjunction exhibition, held across three venues on London’s South Bank. nolii, the new lifestyle-led tech brand co-founded by Hubert and entrepreneur Asad Hamir last year, will launch their first wireless charging product as well as the retail-ready inaugural collection. There will be a charging lounge at the stand where visitors can experience products first-hand. Also at designjunction, Kite Eyewear will be launching KiteONE, a collection of 3D-printed eyewear designed by Layer. Each frame is manufactured based on individual 3D-scanned head and face measurements and can be customised to suit the wearer’s personal style.
2018 Landmark Project, The Sackler Courtyard, V&A Museum
Visitors will be able to discover the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum from new angles as they explore the maze-like structure of MultiPly. The Landmark Project was designed by Shoreditch-based Waugh Thistleton Architects in response to two of the biggest problems facing cities around the world today – housing shortages and climate change. The installation is made of sustainable cross-laminated American tulipwood timber panels, showcasing the potential of the material. The modular, changeable design – which visitors can climb via staircases and bridges – demonstrates the possibilities of flexible housing design. The project was supported by the American Hardwood Export Council and engineered by Arup.
It’s the design that we use every day that really matters – and, often, the kind of design that we celebrate the least. For this year’s festival, London furniture manufacturer and retailer SCP is turning the spotlight to everyday design, with a programme of product launches and an exhibition that explores our relationship to the objects we live with on a daily basis. The exhibition includes 1 Inch Reclaimed chair by Jasper Morrison for Emeco, which is made from 90 per cent industrial waste, alongside new work by Piet Hein Eek, Philippe Malouin and Matthew Hilton. The Bürstenhaus Redecker Müseum will also be showcasing 45 beautifully utilitarian brushes – from brooms to shoe brushes – by the German manufacturer of the same name.
A traditional Israeli dance – known as the horah – was the inspiration behind these evocative glass spinning lamps by London-based design duo Raw Edges for Venetian glass brand WonderGlass. Each lamp features textured pressed glass petals attached to a motor that propels them around a hidden light source. The installation in the WonderGlass showroom in Fitzrovia comprises 30 gently rotating lamps in various sizes and colours, creating a hypnotising display that evokes memories of home for Raw Edges co-founders Yael Mer and Shay Alkalay.
2018 Landmark Project, Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate
Getting involved with design at this year’s festival will be as easy as ABC… particularly if you head to Finsbury Avenue Square in Broadgate, where London-based graphic design studio Kellenberger-White has created a human-scale set of colourful alphabetic chairs that transform the square’s gridded landscape into a typographical playground. The 26 letters are constructed from folded metal and painted in various colours using paint from a specialist industrial metalwork manufacturer – the letter M is painted International Orange, which is the colour used for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, for example, while B is Cornflower Blue, the colour of Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge.
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