The London Design Festival is growing exponentially year on year, with over 250 partners and 300 events celebrating the best in design this September.
Here we take a look at the trends and highlights spotted during the week:
Dreamland exhibition at the V&A's Norfolk House -
During a six-month Digital Design Residency, art and design collective The T/Shirt Issue developed "a taste for staying in the building after dark."
"The silence and calmness that suddenly take over the Museum once its doors close fed a solemn interplay between the objects and our curiosity," wrote the collective's Murat Kocyigit, Hande Akcayli and Rozi Rexhepi in a press release.Inspired by this sensation and Edgar Allan Poe's 1844 poem "Dream-Land" about a ship that lands in a place outside of space and time, the artists created an installation that attempts to mix physical and abstract.
The art project includes eight pieces from the Victoria&Albert Museum's permanent collection that were 3D scanned and digitally sculpted to create four new hybrid creatures made of fabric.
Maker Carousel by Mette at 100% Design -
'Mette transformed the central 81m2 area of the 100% Design Interiors hall into a makerspace environment named Maker Carousel. The interactive installation harnessed the magic of the carousel to emphasise the liberation, imagination and wonder sparked by the materials and methods a contemporary designer-maker can explore.' (www.mettecreates.com)
The London Design Festival picked up where Milan left off, with the trend for natural rocks and materials again very popular with lots of marble and precious rocks used in their raw form. E.g. Pieces by the Italian design duo Alcarol at Mint Gallery. Natural materials were seen suspended in clear resin, juxtaposing to create visually stunning solid objects.
Marble continued to dominate and was used predominately as a surface – i.e. a table. For example, Daniel Schofield’s tables that highlighed contrasting veins and used the material at right angles and TCC Whitestones range of light and white sideboards and storage structures.
Ella Bulley used an unusual and unlikely natural material – sugarcane - to create a range of handmade tableware entitled Saccharum. Bulley explains that through her work she is able to ‘elevate sugarcane by transforming it from a humble crop into a crafted artifact.’ This was exhibited alongside work by Studio 9191 that resembled flesh and ‘questions the relationship and level of comfort we have in our own skins and with another’. The material is silicone and feels very skin like - it has a visceral quality that lends itself to this project. Both these projects were chosen by Aram Gallery to be part of 100%’s Graduate Talent of the Future section as they demonstrate an awareness of the design environment in a forward thinking and industry-focused way. They are innovative and thought provoking. (It is certainly a peculiar feeling sitting on something that resembles a large tummy)
Also seen at Mint Gallery were dandelions encased in blocks of resin. Lights shone up from the base, illuminating the delicate heads of the plants in a perfect marriage of synthetic and natural materials. Babilus by Nir Meiri design studio also achieved this with their vases made from bamboo, oriented strand board, glass, and corian. The collection was influenced by the architecture of ancient cities, temples and altars with the separate components coming together to form a stepped and jagged profile.
Casting was popular as a manufacturing process in both concrete and metal – Maya side table by Tom Parfitt in Heals Discover, lighting by Bentu, Sand Cast stools by Sam Lloyd and the cast ‘molten metal’ bar stool.
Other metalwork – brass and brass colours still very popular, for example, Daniel Schofield's clever tarnished collection.
'Each piece is mirror polished then left half un -lacquered. Over time and with use the un-treated half will begin to tarnish, mainly from the natural oils secreted from the skin. The more they are used the stronger the tarnishing becomes thus creating a patina and story unique to the user of the piece.'
There were possibly more natural textile materials seen at LDF than Milan – my favourite example of this being Claire Anne Obriens range of hand knitted seating in a range of pastel and neon shades, seen here:
Wood was prevalent, with angular, 60s style legs seen throughout the show – here by Steuart Padwick, Barneby and Day, Dam and Hope and Hammer.
Overall, colours seen at LDF were predominately neons and brights. Below are some examples - stool by Bright Potato, Lina seating at 100% design, pieces by Squint and Anthony Hartley’s spiro tables.
Best in Show
We absolutely loved the wallpaper range by Abigail Edwards. Hand drawn patterns in grey and dark tones: