International Design Special
The annual London Design Festival, held in September is a platform for striking interiors and unique products
Be it trend spotting at London Design Festival, learning a Japanese table setting, walking through Ralph Lauren's first Indian home store or sampling global fare at Dubai Design Week, stay up to date with our round up
connecting venues and institutions with the common thread of design, the London Design Festival (LDF), in its fifteenth year now, is spread across nine design districts from East to West and North to South. Here are the key highlights and top trends.
REINVENTING UPHOLSTERY AND LAMPS
Scandinavian textile specialists Kvadrat invited designers to reimagine its upholstery. While British furniture maker Sebastian Cox and researcher Ninela Ivanova showcased a relationship between wood and mycelium (fungus) to create suede-like lamps.
Specially-commissioned installations and displays by designers of global repute took centrestage at Victoria and Albert Muse-
um (V&A). British light designer Flynn Talbot transformed a vaulted gallery using the interplay of light and called it the Reflection Room. The combination of custom-made suspended panels and LED profiles created a vivid reflective space of coloured light made with futuristic textiles paying homage to the history of the room that previously housed over 30,000 textile samples. It was an immersive light experience that built a connection between people and the place.
THE RISE AND RISE OF CERAMICS
One of the iconic ceramic galleries at the V&A saw UKbased ceramicist Lubna Chowdhary with her installation titled Metropolis. A grouping of over a thousand two-dimensional hand-made clay objects and sculptures were scattered on the floor. The display represented the expansion of a man-made world and urban development. Then there was London-resident Adam Nathaniel Furman, who designed Gateway to showcase the craft traditions of Turkish ceramics. He referenced the architectural façades from London’s famous underground stations to create four ceramic-tiled high gates.
REVIVAL OF TAPESTRIES
Inspired by the tapestries on display at the V&A, Welsh artist and industrial designer Ross Lovegrove created Transmission, a spectacularly long fluid and free-standing three-dimensional tapestry. The soft undulating folds in the installation highlighted and merged both colours and forms of the medieval tapestries. It was a reaction to the rich scenes of wealth and aristocratic fashion depicted in the 15th century tapestries at the museum.
DESIGN AS A METAPHOR
The festival also played host to a mesmerising site specific nature-driven installation. Drop in the Ocean by UK-based designer Neill Brodie blended product design and technology. He used a coffee table and video projection to draw attention to the global issue of ocean pollution. It was a multi-sensory display triggered from the power of a single drop of falling water on the table, magnified into a roaring ocean wave on the wall.
PRINTS AND PATTERNS
There were a series of interactive installations across open venues in the city. Like the soft textured building block castle in bright colours and digital prints by UK-based textile and graphic designer Camille Walala. She also had an inflatable architectural landscape called Villa Walala.
Clearly, the London Design Festival keeps the dialogue on design going, year on year.
DESIGN DIARY Kvadrat invited designers to reimagine its upholstery (left); Flynn Talbot’s installation (above); a test terrazzo tile from Neill Brodie installation (below)