Now into its eighth year, the London Design Festival has evolved into a winning mix of small scale industry showcases and bigger, crowd-pleasing events that enliven the often tedious process of seeing yet another set of “revolutionary” stackable stools. Here are our highlights for this year:
One of the lesser-known nooks of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Geometric Staircase (so called because Wren designed it to be used for experiments), will be turned into an optical illusion, using a huge concave miniscus lens made by Swarovski that, according to the man behind it, architect John Pawson, will allow visitors to “see beyond the level of the naked eye”.
Designer Paul Cocksedge has found an ingenious use for old vinyl: he moulds LPs into amplifiers for smartphones, handily bridging the divide between analogue and digital music in a mutually beneficial way. On 20th September Cocksedge will be giving a performance at Concrete in Shoreditch, using his customised speakers; bring your own 12-inch along and he’ll transform it for £25 (though you might want to leave that rare Led Zeppelin longplayer at home).
Being the “world’s greatest museum of art and design”, the V&A is again hosting a number of events at LDF, ranging from large-scale installations (including Timber Wave at the main entrance and Textile Field) to a series of small-scale events and talks; we’re particularly intrigued by the discussion on transport signage hosted by TfL’s design team. The museum is also running a series of design talks hosted by Google.
Presented by the Finnish institute, this art / installation piece floods Bethnal Green’s York Hall with a huge, billowing red dress comprising 550m in fabric. The space will host “performances, discussions and other events” throughout the festival.
The former power station in Shoreditch will once again be the locus of product launches galore during the festival, with over 40 new products being pushed kicking and squealing into an unsuspecting world. Worth a visit if you get your kicks out of admiring the thousand-and-one ways designers can reinvent the humble office chair.
A huge glass installation (or, in the copywriter’s argot, an “[exploration] of the dynamic between creativity and the material or process” that presents ” a sculptural dialogue between two identical forms”) outside Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.
We’ve seen the great and good of London icons made out of Lego (Cutty Sark, St Pancras and Tower Bridge among them), now a fully-functioning greenhouse made from the ubiquitous toy bricks comes to Covent Garden.
London Design Festival runs from 17th – 25th September