LONDON IS THE DESIGN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD – NY TIMES
September 27, 2012
Images - from left: Ceramic bench by the Spanish architecture studio AL_A for “Bench Years” show at the V&A; Bloomsbury Man and Dog chair by Squint Limited; Ingo Maurer bespoke J.B. Dragonfly light for the “Red” exhibition at Conran.
"Planting the Flag" by Julie Lasky in the New York Times
“APOLOGIES to Milan and Tokyo. Regrets to Stockholm and Paris. Forgive me, Eindhoven, Berlin, Barcelona and, most particularly, New York. But London is the design capital of the world.
If the London Design Festival, a 10-day program of some 200 events, including exhibitions and studio tours, which ended on Sunday, failed to express the full radiance of contemporary British design, blame it on growing pains. Having just marked its 10th year, the festival is poised between being a regional showcase bubbling with spontaneous interventions and a smooth international canvas.
Once a satellite (or several of them) swirling around an annual trade show called 100% Design, the festival now extends from Ladbroke Grove in West London to Hackney in the east. You need an hour on the tube simply to travel its breadth.
Yet despite the scale, and the presence of more than 300,000 visitors, the London Design Festival is apparently still too small for many members of the British design elite.
To be sure, celebrities like Mr. Morrison and Sir Terence were visible. As were Tom Dixon, who organized a group of international design exhibitions near his canal-side studio at Portobello Dock, and Thomas Heatherwick, who had a popular one-man show at the Victoria and Albert Museum. (Mr. Heatherwick may be best known for designing the caldron for the 2012 Olympic Games, a rosette of 204 copper flambeaus that rose and converged like petals in a fiery dahlia.) But only glimpses, if anything, were seen of work by renowned London-based designers and studios like Ron Arad, Ross Lovegrove, PearsonLloyd and Doshi Levien.
“Everyone with half a brain still launches in Milan,” said Caroline Roux, a writer for The Financial Times and other publications, referring to the international furniture fair held in Italy every April.
What it offered, which was fascinating and redeeming in every way, was London itself.
Still glowing from the energy poured into the Olympics, London harmonized with the installations stuffed into its storefronts and leftover spaces. From the crooked houses of a revitalized East End to the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street, which has become a revolving showcase of contemporary design and craft, new goods basked in venerable niches, mixing it up with Turners and cobblestones.