After the launch of the London Design Biennale in 2016, this year Somerset House hosted Design Frontiers, an exhibition that promised to “illuminate the thinking and working practices of celebrated designers, whose work is redefining the frontiers of their disciplines,” and in some cases, it really delivered on that promise.
A project that questioned the essence what graphic design could and indeed should be, was Dominic Lippa’s book entitled 250 Facts & Figures. Inspired by the notion that we have more information at our fingertips than ever before and yet seemingly less wisdom and more so-called “fake news,” coupled with the responsibility of the graphic designer as a disseminator of information, he collated 250 indisputable facts into one book and encouraged visitors to each take one home with them.
Another project that really seemed to fulfill the brief and offered an insight into the work of a designer working at the cutting-edge of his field was Mycelium + Timber by furniture designer and maker Sebastian Cox and design strategist and thinker Ninela Ivanova. The pair collaborated to create a collection of ‘grown’ stools and lights, using freshly cut wood waste from Sebastian’s woodland, myceliated with the species Fomes Fomentarius. As the mycelium grows, it binds the green wood waste together around bespoke frames, resulting in lightweight, durable and completely compostable home accessories. Sebastian hopes to have a retail-ready collection in time for Milan Design Week, so watch this space.
Jijibaba is a fashion collective devised by people who usually work in product and interior design, with the aim of bringing the quality, function and utility associated with industrial design into the fashion market. The brands first two lines have been designed by Jasper Morrison and Jaime Hayon.
AXYL is a new furniture collection by Benjamin Hubert of Layer for British furniture manufacturer Allermuir, that combines an inverted ‘Y’ form with midcentury references, and is made from recycled and recyclable materials such as aluminum and bioplastic.
Materialise was an installation of high-performance sportswear by The Big Studio and Pentland Brands – showcasing products that “help our athletes swim faster, climb higher and train harder.” The installation was designed to strip each piece back to its elemental form in celebration of the manufacturing process.
And last but not least, Stockholm-based Form Us With Love created Prototypa – a celebration of the iterations involved in the prototyping process. It was really interesting to see the early stages of products you are more familiar with in their finished form.
(Top photograph by Jeff Knowles.)