The theme of the 11th London Design Festival is “Design is here, there and everywhere” – an attempt to remind us that all things man-made have been designed. The V&A is the LDF hub again this year, and the installations both stand alone and draw attention to the incredible design already within the V&A.
The most obvious example of this is God Is In The Details, for which 14 designers were asked to highlight something within the V&A collection using a Swarovski lens. Ross Lovegrove chose a golden spoon made in 1600 for a Mughal emperor. He said: “If you look at the people in this gallery, they don’t look – and perhaps that’s okay, because it’s all about the experience of being here, but then they go out into the street and they don’t look there either. People take design for granted.”
Atlas for Animate Bodies by filmmaker Simon Pummell is a one-off film that explores what life drawing might be in the future.
As part of a push to include more graphic design in the festival, 8-18 is the first exhibition of the Typgraphic Circle’s magazine, Circular. The Typographic Circle is a group of type enthusiasts who publish the magazine for themselves – it never has the same format twice.
Moleskine’s Sketch Relay project involved 70 London-based designers each filling five pages of a Japanese Album with the design that is special to them, before passing it onto the next designer. After the exhibition, the notebooks will be donated to Lettera27, a non-profit organization, which promotes education, literacy and access to knowledge.
Najla El Zein’s Wind Portal consists of 5,000 paper windmills. Deputy Director of the London Design Festival, Max Fraser, asked her if they were made by hand. “Of course,” she replied.
Yuri Suzuki’s voice activated “White Noise Machine” distorts your voice and plays it back to you, slowing it down, speeding it up, making adults sound like children and children sound like adults.
A collaboration between FAT Architecture and Amorim, the world’s largest producer of cork, “The Progressive Extension of the Field of Individual Development and Experience” is inspired by the molecular structure of cork and the sort of ancient Roman floor that might be found in a museum like the V&A. Quite by accident, it also echoes certain architectural characteristics of the Douro region of Portugal, the wine region associated with cork.
Scholten and Baijings have created an incredible installation in the Norfolk House Music Room, which was rescued from Norfolk House before it was demolished and painstakingly recreated within the V&A. The room is set up as if a dinner party was in full flow and the guests have just left the room. Every place setting has been created around a carefully imagined absent guest, the food has all been fabricated because of the V&A’s rules banning organic matter and the music has been created using Scholten and Baijings products, for example a plate being played with a violin bow. The attention to detail is staggering and perhaps explains the success of this already iconic design duo.
And finally, 28.280 by Omer Arbel is made from 280 Bocci 28 pendants and hangs from the highest point in the museum right down to the entrance hall, spanning the full height of the museum. Omer said: “The intent was to find form in the way materials behave and as a result there’s an awkwardness, to my eyes anyway, that’s borne of the copper – it’s stiff yet malleable.”
Our trip to the London Design Festival was supported by Airbnb.com.