Sunday, 18 October 2009

Blurring the lines

If September was design, design, design in London, then October is art, art, art. Frieze and Zoo have set up their respective camps in central London this past week and the art world has arrived en masse. Not wanting their moment in the spotlight to end, the design elite are getting in on the act.

The last few years has seen an enormous boom in the "design art" business. Canny art galleries (and, increasingly, a new breed of dedicated design galleries) have realised big name architects and designers producing limited edition works can be just as collectible (and profitable) as art. This has led to a certain blurring of the lines - where does art end and design begin? When is a designer a designer and when are they an artist?

There was an impressive array of design art on display in London this week. First up, at the Pavillion of Art and Design in Berkeley Square, rare Pierre Paulin pieces rubbed shoulders with small edition Ettore Sottsass glassware, Lichtenstein prints and the iconic Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture.

London based Carpenters Workshop Gallery showcased several of their designers including Studio Job, fresh from their success at the Telling Tales show in the Victoria & Albert Museum. They also had a unique installation by rAndom international entitled You Fade To Light. Triggered by physical interaction with the audience, the bank of tiny mirrors turns the viewers reflection into light.

Moving down Piccadilly to Haunch Of Venison, we saw Brit design star Thomas Heatherwick's latest work, Extrusions, holding it's own next to a Dan Flavin light installation. Beautifully twisted and highly polished benches formed on the worlds largest extrusion machine, these prototypes have been elevated to art status.

Another short stroll brings us to Belgrave Square, and Super Design. Here we find the Bouroullec brothers designing ceramic lights for Bitossi, Barber Osgerby teaming up with the venerable Venini glass company from Murano in Italy for a series of limited edition interlocking vases and Marcus Tremonto designing several lighting pieces produced by The Apartment.

Is it art? Is it design? We'll let you make up your own mind on that one. One thing's for sure - strollng around the beautiful squares of London looking at all of these pieces in stunning surroundings was a very pleasant way to spend a sunny Autumn day!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Under Wraps

Relay is proud to announce its participation in Under Wraps, an international design launch to be held at Ferrious, Manchester.

Showcasing the best of European Design including brands Droog, ABR and naughtone, Ferrious has also given over their beautiful showrooms to Buzzispace, Örsjö and Zeitraum, who fresh from their successes at London Design Week will be making another welcome outing.

The launch night will also see the UK unveiling of a new, revolutionary product from James Dyson. Launched in New York last night the ‘Air Multiplier’ desk fan, like all great Dyson products, mixes revolutionary engineering with practical design.

Dyson has created a product that he hopes will provide a greener alternative to office air conditioning and a safer and more efficient product for use at home. He says “I’ve always been disappointed by fans. Their spinning blades chop up the airflow, causing annoying buffeting. They’re hard to clean. And children always want to poke their fingers through the grille. So we’ve developed a new type of fan that doesn’t use blades.” Unlike top-heavy conventional fans, the Dyson fan has an energy-efficient motor at its base, meaning it has a low centre of gravity and does not topple over.

We haven’t seen it yet, but cannot wait till Thursday night to see it up-close and in action. If you're as impatient as us, check out this film for a peek.