In­ter­na­tional De­sign Spe­cial

The an­nual Lon­don De­sign Fes­ti­val, held in Septem­ber is a plat­form for strik­ing in­te­ri­ors and unique prod­ucts

India Today - - CONTENTS - By AARTI KU­MARI

WORLDLY WISE

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.

EX­PE­RI­EN­TIAL IN­STAL­LA­TIONS

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.

COVER BY MOMENTI, COUR­TESY OTTIMO, NEW DELHI

PHO­TO­GRAPH COUR­TESY ED­MUND SUM­NER

DE­SIGN DI­ARY Kvadrat in­vited de­sign­ers to reimag­ine its up­hol­stery (left); Flynn Tal­bot’s in­stal­la­tion (above); a test ter­razzo tile from Neill Brodie in­stal­la­tion (below)

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