London Design Festival Highlights

London Design Festival is an annual celebration and showcase of design. Hundreds of events across the city, including fairs, designer-maker markets, installations, parties and product launches showcase the world of design. The festival attracts talent from around the world, and for the first time this year provided a specific showcase for ideas with the launch of the London Biennale.

With so much going on it was hard to see it all, so these are the top five picks of our festival.

1. The Green Room

Peering over the balustrade into the stairwell, a ring of suspended, pink and orange cords juddered as they rose and fell. Above a metallic arm rotated methodically, keeping time and causing the movement. ‘Green Room’was an the installation at the Victoria and Albert museum, sponsored by watchmaker Panerai and designed by design studio, Glithero.

The metal arm spanned a 3.2metre ring over which were draped 160 multi-coloured silicone cords to create a time piece. A full rotation of the arm measured one minute and caused the cords to move through the stairwell’s 17.5 metre drop. It was strangely hypnotic and calming.

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2. Foil

A sense of calm and serenity was echoed by Foil, also at the V&A, which translated the engineering skill of electric shavers into an immersive art installation. A 20 metre undulating panel was coated in 50,000 mirror finish stainless steel panels and lit with LED spotlights. A motor made the panel move in a sine-wave motion. The result was a constantly moving reflection of light across the ceiling and walls. In the cool, dark gallery it was an enveloping experience, almost like being underwater.

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3. Serpentine Pavilion

This year’s pavilion was like a child’s makeshift tent – a sheet draped over a broom, balanced between two chairs. This one, however, was made from solid fibre-glass cubes and rose to the skies like a church spire. It achieved designer, Barkow Leibinger’s aim of combining opposites; a structure that was free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, transparent and opaque.

The brickwork construction gave it a wonderful texture, creating  a symphony of symmetrical patterns both from the inside and the outside. It was fantastic.

4. Opticality

A small unassuming retail space in Shoreditch was transformed into an optical experience by acclaimed designer, Lee Broom. A black and white striped bridge led visitors into a room clad in mirrors and filled with stripped lampshades. A mellow sound-track completed the ‘Opticality’ installation. The result was a dizzying experience of infinite reflections. It was amazing.
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5. iGuzzini Light Pollination

Holding a small torch in our hands we approached a mound of over 20,000 led lights made to look like bank of coral. Hidden amongst the tubes, like camouflaged fish, were tiny sensors. Activating the sensors, by flashing the torch over it, cause the mound of coral to turn from white into a vivid green. It was the strangest sensation to be ‘interacting’ with an inanimate object. As sensors in different areas were activated waves of green flowed across the sculpture, and it was all reflected in an overhead mirror.

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Feature Image: Serpentine Pavilion

Useful Links: London Design Festival, Serpentine Gallery, Lee Broom, iGuzzini

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