London Design Festival is such a big event and everyone who visits is bound to come away with their own highlights – here are some impressions I gathered and some pieces that caught my eye as I whizzed round 100% Design, Design Junction, Designers Block, Tent, Shoreditch Design Triangle and of course the LDF at the V&A and Somerset House.
One advantage of covering so many shows at top speed is that you get a sense of emerging trends and this year there seemed to be many crafted elements to the shows, for example metal elements were hammered and beaten (copper and brass still being prominent), there were plenty of hand woven textiles (some designers even had their looms with them) and timber was often hand turned. Digitally printed textiles also had a crafted vibe as many were hand painted designs which had been scanned and printed. The ceramics too felt really organic and I particularly enjoyed the pots at the Geffrye Museum where the potters were on hand to speak about their work. I came away thinking of individual designers and their processes rather than bigger manufactures. The festival really captured our desires of wanting authentic ethical artistic pieces rather than anonymous mass manufactured work.
For me, the highlight was an exhibition at Designers Block called The Secret Life of the Pencil‘ a collaborative project by industrial designer Alex Hammond, and photographer Mike Tinney. They photographed pencils belonging to successful designers, writers, and architects such as Philippe Starck, Lord Norman Foster, Anish Kapoor, John Pawson, Dame Zandra Rhodes and closely photographed their humble pencils which actually told a lot amount about their owners. It was staggering how easy it was to guess which pencil belonged to whom. It certainly made me look at my own pencil in a new light.. normally a coloured one.
But the exhibit that I continue to think about is Connected by Pattern at Somerset House. A room filled with 3D monochromatic patterns which you were invited to immerse yourself in after putting on a patterned poncho hanging by the entrance of the room. Every house should have a room like this! You become instantly lost in a creative world of pattern, it was liberating, extremely fun and seemed to take you back into the fantastical mind set of a child. Brilliant.
It was also refreshing seeing the introduction of Asian design this year. China had a big stand at 100% Design and their accessories in particular were eye catching in their simplicity. The Korean displays at Tent were also stunning, ‘simple, calm, subtle‘ was their mantra and based on traditional Korean craft, Kim Soo Young + Cho Ki Sang’s, brass tableware was dreamy and current.
There is so much more I could tell you about, not least the sublime Pip McCormac chocolate brownies laced with turkish delight and edible flowers that he made for Lee Broom’s The Flower Shop Installation in Shoreditch or being turfed out of the The Shard on the 32nd floor for wearing trainers (a blessing actually as the cacao cocktails in Borough Market were a much better choice ;)
However, this post is long enough but if you would like to see more snaps, I’ve posted some on instagram.
Thank you London Design Festival , that was the best one I’ve attended and I’m already looking forward to 2016!