The 2019 London Design Festival opens next month with highlights including projects at the V&A by Sam Jacob and Kengo Kuma. Running from September 14th to the 22nd, the festival will include large-scale installations by Paul Cocksedge, Martino Gamper, PATTERNITY, Dan Tobin Smith and Camille Walala. Returning for its 17th year, the festival will celebrate design across London.
Once again, leading museum of art, design and performance will play host to a series of specially-commissioned projects by internationally-renowned designers. Initially established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans, London Design Festival is an annual citywide celebration that brings together a global community of designers, artists, architects and the creative industries with a vision to celebrate and promote London as a major design capital.
Below, we have compiled a list of collaborations to look out for in this year's festival, including work at the V&A that will see iconic spaces within the Museum transformed by a collection of displays and installations.
VOID / Dan Tobin Smith + The Experience Machine
Designer Dan Tobin Smith and The Experience Machine present VOID, a multi-sensory spatial installation at Collins Theatre, Islington. Tobin Smith has collaborated with The Experience Machine and Gemfields to create an environmental installation exploring the physical boundaries found within the worlds of natural inclusions in gemstones. The formation of these stones is a rare geological process, with each unique example being a ‘one of a kind’ combination of material trapped inside a mineral during formation. Tobin Smith magnifies these tiny microcosms to discover abstract, galaxy-like structures – hidden worlds contained within the size of a fingertip.
Please Be Seated / Paul Cocksedge
British designer Paul Cocksedge is transforming Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate with Landmark Project, Please Be Seated. Located in the heart of Broadgate – a diverse hub connecting innovation and finance – the project will be the most ambitious of British Land’s commissions to date. The large-scale installation, fuses innovation and technology, and responds to the changing rhythm of the community: its design features curves for people to sit on and walk under, further enhancing London's largest pedestrianized neighborhood. Made from scaffolding planks, Paul Cocksedge is collaborating with Essex-based high-end interiors company White&White to re-imagine and re-use the building wood.
Life Labrinth / Patternity
Patternity's Festival Commission Project is made for the London Design Festival 2019 to be located at Westminster Cathedral Piazza. The project is supported by the Victoria Business Improvement District. Based on a giant three-dimensional labyrinth formation, Life Labyrinth is a pattern-based journey that takes visitors on a personal meditative walking experience that is proven to have both psychological and physical health benefits. Surrounded with plants and graphic shapes, the space is a destination for quiet contemplation, creative inspiration and reconnection to self, amidst the hustle and bustle of London life. Visitors are invited to switch off and meander slowly through the installation to the center, venturing through wild grasses, flowers and gentle sounds which celebrate nature, beauty and connection in the heart of the city.
Walala Lounge / Camille Walala
Camille Walala returns to London Design Festival in a characteristically colourful manner. The French-born designer has been commissioned by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland to energise and enliven South Molton Street, in the heart of London’s West End, with a bold and beautiful family of street furniture. Combining head-turning colour and geometric shapes in monumental proportions, the 11 unique benches of Walala Lounge will give visitors something unexpected to look at – and to sit on. Walala’s vision is to transform the street into an open-air urban living room – a place for people to come together, chat and relax – and to disrupt the hectic pace and mundane with a burst of colour and irrepressible joy into the retail heart of central London.
Affinity in Autonomy / Sony Design
Translating innovation into perceptual experiences is the theme for the creation of this interactive robotic pendulum: Affinity in Autonomy. The independence and free-will of robotics is portrayed by its random movements. Human presence can be detected and recognition appears from within the kinetic motion. Exhibiting a rich, dynamic and autonomous behavior, the pendulus engages visitors seeking an emotional and physical response. This conceptual piece endeavours to portray emotion and sensitivity, illustrating the enriched relationship possibilities for a new tomorrow.
Sea Things / Sam Jacob
Sam Jacob is designing a new installation within the grand entrance to the V&A to highlight the need to rethink the global plastics system; to consider its full lifetime journey; and to design future-use into every product. Titled Sea Things, the concept will take the form of a large scale two-way mirrored cube suspended above visitors with an animated motion graphic internally reflected to an infinity that seems both as wide as the ocean and as large as the challenges we face. The project has an aim to evoke a powerful sense of emotion, so visitors come away feeling empowered with a better understanding of their role alongside technology and design to make the world a more sustainable place.
Avalanche / Matthew McCormick
Canadian designer Matthew McCormick fuels thoughtful introspection on the effects of climate change through his experiential exhibit, Avalanche, conspicuously positioned on the landing of the V&A’s British Gallery. Inherently out of place in the classically historic space, Avalanche is strategically situated to provoke profoundly personal reactions from each visitor that passes through: a designer’s interpretation of a suspended moment in time where we are faced with a mindful revelation of our own mortality. On entering, small groups of visitors will find a lowly lit, deceptively reflective space, bringing a sense of entrapment and confusion around the uncertain pathway through. Grappling with the increasing darkness of the narrow, constricting corridor, visitors are urged to pause in a heightened sense of consciousness, as they toy with the human instinct to find the safest route out.
Bamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into Lightness / Kengo Kuma
Bamboo Ring is an experiment in the concept of weaving, one of the interests explored by Kengo Kuma - who has most recently designed the V&A Dundee, his first building in the UK, along with the New National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Great (Bamboo) Wall house in China. Inspired by the John Madejski Garden and curated by Clare Farrow, the doughnut-shaped structure – like a nest or cocoon – has been created by weaving rings of bamboo and carbon fibre together. For Kuma, working with Ejiri Structural Engineers and the Kengo Kuma Laboratory at The University of Tokyo, the installation is an exploration of pliancy, precision, lightness and strength: by pulling two ends, it naturally de-forms and half of the woven structure is lifted into the air.
News via London Design Festival