This week, we headed out around London to see what the London Design Festival had to offer. Every year, it comes back for a mere 9 days to showcase the latest design innovation, covering everything from the latest lighting designs to the craziest furniture concepts. This time, we headed to the Brompton Design District and the V&A museum. Here’s our pick of what we found!
Ever wish that you could have a private conversation in a crowded room? Studio Makkink & Bey have designed the Ear Chair to help you do just that. The wings extend outwards to visually and acoustically insulate the user. Place two chairs opposite each other and you’ll be able to chat away in peace and quiet. I can’t say I can picture them in my own living room but in an office space – why not!
This installation gets the thumbs up for introducing us to a potential new design material – seaweed. Julia Lohmann has hand-stretched the Japanese seaweed over a cane frame before fusing it into position. At first, I thought it resembled a dragon, now I’m not so sure! What do you think?
28.280 – vertical light installation
As the centrepiece of the V&A’s design installations, you’ll spot it as soon as you walk in the entrance. Its 30 metre height reaches over all 6 floors of the museum and makes it hard to miss. I headed to the top floor to get a real feel for the drop below. This isn’t just your ordinary light. This is a 28 inch pendant light with a series of different shapes being formed from top to bottom. 280 lights hang in mid-air thanks to a complex copper suspension system. If you’re looking to make the most of height at home, turn to designer Omer Arbel Bocci for inspiration!
The cork floor
Cork is a bit like Marmite – there are many people who love it and just as many who aren’t that keen on using it as a flooring material. FAT (Fashion, Architecture, Taste) and cork company Amorim, try to persuade us to appreciate both its visual and tactile qualities by encouraging us to walk over a cork bridge. The tiles are laid out in a geometric pattern which is based around the cellular structure of cork – clever. I can’t say I found anything interesting to report on the tactile side but it definitely makes a visual statement. I’m not so keen on the darker hues of brown and black working their way in but it’s made me want to look into the pros and cons a bit more. Hopefully it’ll have the same effect on other admirers too.
Cabinets of Curiosity
Designers find inspiration everywhere. As a representative of Thomson Reuters explained, in any company, they think big and make courageous decisions because “they work within a heavily change-resistant environment”. We have similar products on the market because one’s already popular, so it’s easier to play it safe. Our most interesting products, however, come out of someone’s desire to push against the resistance. What do you have at home that’s made a difference within your kitchen or bathroom? Mint’s showcase is focused around products inspired by the theme of curiosity and wonder. One of my favourites is the cabinet below. It’s not practical but it could have stepped straight out of Alice in Wonderland.
On the more practical side, Minale & Maeda’s Slideshow Mirrrors caught my eye. Each mirror reflects one part of the light spectrum, which creates a coloured hue. The individual sections focus attention on other surfaces within the reflected image. So you’ll find that the ceiling light takes on a new significance in the blue plane, while the outline of a chair is highlighted in the yellow.
The London Design Festival runs until the 22nd September, with installations and workshops popping up all over London’s design districts. Head to Brompton, Clerkenwell, Chelsea, or Shoreditch to see them for yourself – or check out our Facebook page for Brompton based photos. For more information and event times, head to the official London Design Festival website.