For us, the London Design Festival is one of the best weeks of the year by far (holidays excluded of course). We must admit that this edition was astonishing content wise, but also very special for us as we caught up with several designers we will start representing in just a few weeks!
Here are some highlights of our little tour whilst running around the city.
Episode I. The V&A
Headquarters of the London Design Festival, the Victoria & Albert Museum featured amazing installations throughout its rooms. The 6 metres high Tower of Babel by Barnaby Braford aimed to represent London today. The artist photographed shops facades throughout the whole city and printed them on the 3’000 miniature china buildings that formed the tower. Simple shops at the bottom and exclusive ones on the way up, they were all for sale allowing people to reflect on their own choices.
We then went on a treasure hunt dressed with our classy coats designed by Fay and Erica Toogood. The goal was to find their coat sculptures made of very diverse material all around the museum, every time set exquisitely. It also made a great way to view all the other amazing things on offer at the museum.
Finally we admired how wood inspired the work of Robin Day and wished we could own a Royal Festival Hall chair from 1951.
Episode II. The design fairs
There are major design fairs taking place simultaneously during the festival, which bring people from all around the world to London. Admittedly we felt pride when we heard Swiss-German around, happy to see our home country represented in the crowd.
Starting with 100% Design, we caught up with our friend Tom Raffield whose beautiful design pieces will be soon available to you lucky ones! (Be reassured, we will introduce Tom in a proper way in time, so stay tuned.)
We then rushed to Designjunction and discovered hundreds of beautiful objects, such as the Fluo lamp from Arturo Alvarez and the new masterpiece from the Bouroullec brothers for Vitra. In chair or armchair versions, black or white, leather or plastic, this Belleville Chair is AMAZING.
The next day we headed to East London to discover the new Nim table from our friends PINCH. Celebrating their 10th anniversary, the duo took this opportunity to try a new material and chose jesmonite. Needless to say that this beauty went viral immediately.
Design Fair Tent made us discover the colour of the year thanks to the Dulux Colour Trend Forecast 2016. “Cherished Gold” it will be people! The famous paint brand asked four designers to interpret one of the underlying design trends: Zoe Murphy got “Words & Pictures,” Mark McClure got “The Grid and Letting Go,” Jessica Light interpreted “Dark & Light” and Anthony Roussel explored “Heritage & Future” (the full forecast results are accessible for download on www.colourfutures.com).
Set in the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, Tent regrouped designers from all over the world, from Australia to Norway, from Taiwan to Italy, and many more. Encouraging new talents and following growing ones, this fair is great because every year you catch-up with the people you met in previous editions and see how much they have developed. We enjoyed the discovery of Mullan lighting together with the chair of Aodh, and were very pleased to meet the team of &New again to be able to congratulate them in person for their recent award.
Episode III. The installations
This year, the London Design Festival commissioned Alex Chinneck to create a very special project in the Greenwich peninsula. “A Bullet from a Shooting Star,” a 35 metres and 15 tons sculpture, refers to the industrial heritage of the area and announces the future residential development of the district. The idea, its impressive realisation and the choice of location all made it a big highlight of the festival.
Our last stop was the Somerset House, taking part to the festival for the first time this year. They had the genius idea to fill up the west wing of the building with installations of 10 worldwide-admired designers for their own best clients. From Jasper Morrison’s new mobile phone for Swiss-based company Punkt that does not intrude into its owner’s time, to Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby’s launching their new book in their reading room full of incredible pieces they designed for Knoll or Glas Italia, the spectacle was something!
One last thing to say: book your tickets for next year’s edition!