London Design Festival 2014 | V&A

19th September

Guess who forgot about the London Design Festival until 3 days before it finished?

After I got back from France and spent an entire day blogging, I realised that I had missed almost all of the London Design Festival, which kind of sucked. I went up on the Friday and Saturday, but the sheer amount of exhibitions and installations meant that I had to pick where I went really carefully, in order to see as much as possible. On Friday I didn’t really have too much of an idea of how vast the Festival was, so I headed to the V&A because I knew that it was the central hub of the festival and thought that I could work my way elsewhere from there. It was only once I’d gotten there and picked up a map showing London and the places where exhibitions were being held that I realised how little of it I was going to be able to see – mainly just because of how spread out it was across the whole of London.

I went aroud the V&A anyway, stumbling across installations hidden away in galleries. Memorable displays include the gigantic Double Space for BMW – Precision & Poetry in Motion (picture below – the gallery is actually much darker than photographed and the panels on the ceilings move slowly, creating the strangest reflections), the Candela in the darkness of the tapestry gallery and the Wish List up the stairs.


There was an incredible amount of work displayed in the V&A, and most of it fitted in so perfectly with the rest of the museum it was only the red Design Festival signs that gave you the hint that it wasn’t always there. They also had lectures, live debates and hands-on workshops on offer for the public to visit, mostly free of charge. It was an incredible opportunity to see some great design.



This was part of the V&A Design Fund display, and so cool! Using motion dection technology this display “Broken Mirror” at first looks like a rumpled piece of tinfoil (above) but then when a person moves close enough in front of it the material snaps taunt creating a pretty effective mirror – to show the surprise on your face.

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 This chair was made using 3D printing technology and motion capturing cameras – the designer literally sketched the shape of the chair into the air, which was captured by the camera and then converted into a program which could be printed into this chair. Awesome concept.


Plenty of posters from through the ages…


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Candela by product designer Felix de Pass, graphic designer Michael Montgomery and ceramicist Ian McIntyre was in one of the darkest galleries at the museum, kept that way to preserve the tapestries. The circular piece rotates constantly, and akin to glow-in-the-dark stars under a UV light, when the material is charged it glows.



Big displays of fashion, but unfortunately lit very badly throughout – this is my only half decent photo – short by Vivienne Westwood.



I went to this exhibtion when I was at the V&A last time but I revisted it quickly, because it is such an interesting one. It includes pieces of equipment, as well as videos and documents from various protests throughout the world and eras.



This was one of my favourite areas (once again, the bad lighting ruins everything – museums right…). It was an area of the wall, taped off in a large square labelled for the “future”. It was gradually filled throughout the time that the exhibition has taken place, and continues to grow – with flyers and stickers from present protests. My favourite little touch to the entire exhibition was the sticker below – there were actually several of them spread around the exhibition – which is a protest from V&A employees about pay cuts. Nice touch.  


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Yep, I was inside one of those. This is in the plaster courts room at the V&A, which contains casts of many statues, pillars and other stone figures. Called Military Secret, by James Rigler – a previous resident ceramist at the V&A – it gives the viewer the unique opportunity to go inside one of the massive pillars.  

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Crest, by  Zaha Hadid Architects and commissioned by Meliã Hotels International (it will move to the  ME Hotel in Dubai after the Festival) appears in the fountain in the V&A’s John Madejski Garden.



The above photo, and the following few are all works from the Wish List exhibition. This display was put together by asking 10 prominent designers to ask 10 up-and-coming designers to design and create something unique that they have always wanted but have never come across. Above is an extendable serving platter that can be lengthened and shortened depending on how many people or how much food is being served.


Above is the result of the commision that asked for a chair that fitted to the human form.



Commision: a family of pencil sharpeners for three different sizes of pencils.



Commision: wooden pieces for the table, but like you’ve never seen them before.


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Carousel Wall by London-based print and design studio David David and British manufacturer Johnson Tiles, which greets any visitors who enter the V&A via the tunnel from South Kensington station.


Next stop, Trafalgar Square, where an installation about home was created – in tomorrow’s post.



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