It’s official: London is the most creative city in the world. Okay, so it’s not official, but if the London Design Festival is anything to go buy we’re easily beating New York, Tokyo, Paris and Milan in the ideas stakes. Established in 2003, the annual extravaganza has grown into the one one of the most important dates in the global design calendar, with over 350 events and installations including an ambitious programme of shows at the Victoria and Albert Museum and a series of installations at Somerset House.
Highlights from the 2015 programme were last week unveiled at a press conference at the Victoria and Albert Museum, some of which we’ve featured below as a taster of what you’ve got to look forward to 19-27 September of this year...
In conjunction with the UK’s Year of Mexico, architect Frida Escobedo is to create an installation in the V&A’s John Madejski garden. “You Cannot See Yourself So Well as by Reflection” will be a pavilion made up of layers of reflective surfaces that can be moved and adapted to hold a wide variety of events and activities. Inspiration comes from Tenochtitlan, the Aztec City built on a lake.
Italian designers Matteo Fogale and Laetitia De Allegri (and Johnson Tiles) will join forces to create Mise en Abyme, a vibrant installation on the bridge over the Medieval and Renaissance galleries of the V&A. Perspective in art began during the renaissance, and it is perspective that Fogale and De Allegri aim to celebrate with their installation of shapes that emphasise the viewer’s viewpoint.
Acclaimed Austrian design team mischer’traxler [sic] are partnering with luxury champagne brand Perrier Jouet for an installation in the V&A’s Norfolk House Music Room. Curiosity Cloud is an “allegory for the dialogue between mankind and nature”, and will feature 250 mouth-blown glass globes hanging within the gallery. Each globe will hold tiny fabricated insects, which will shimmer and knock against the glass, creating an audio-visual spectacle.
It’s only fitting that the London Design Festival has a tribute to this great city, and Barnaby Barford’s The Tower of Babel is that: a 6 metre edifice comprising 3000 bone China facades, each depicting a different London shop. At the base the shops are sruffy and abandoned: at the top sit boutiques and designer emporiums. Barford’s installation is sure to be an impactful comment on the state of modern London.
Conceptual artist Alex Chinneck wowed Londoners last year with his floating building installation in Covent Garden. He’s set to outdo himself at this year’s London Design Festival with Bullet from a Shooting Star: an electricity pylon built to scale and turned upside down on Greenwich Peninsula. The work references the industrial history of an area that once housed large steel, oil and gas works.
The Ogham Wall, inspired by the Irish Ogham alphabet, will be made in collaboration with ID2015, an Irish government backed project promoting design in Ireland. In the hallowed atmosphere of the Tapestry Gallery, the installation will be a sequence of three-metre high concrete “fins” standing the length of the gallery – an architectural translation of an ancient language.