Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Tramshed 2011

A video from Tramshed 2011, with a cameo by Relay, Mitab and Ӧrsjӧ courtesy of De La Espada.
(Updated with HD Vimeo version)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

London Design Festival 2011 - Our Highlights, Part 2

We're starting Part 2 in Covent Garden and then heading west.

In the piazza at Covent Garden, Sebastian Bergne created the world's first LEGO greenhouse. Yes, a fully functioning greenhouse made of transparent LEGO bricks. (LEGO also had their own pop-up in association with ICON at Central St. Giles).

Online design store Theo materialised in Monmouth Street with a week long pop up. A chance to play with products before purchasing, Theo's temporary store stocked the wonderful desktop accessories by Australian duo Daniel Emma and was the first UK stockist for Tattly temporary design tattoos from Swissmiss founder Tina Roth Eisenberg.

If we keep moving in a generally west direction, Outline Editions hosted an exhibition by graphic artist Noma Bar entitled "Cut It Out". An embossing machine disguised as a giant black dog allowed visitors to re-create their own Noma Bar work, all of which were signed and numbered by the artist.

Jumping over to Brompton Design District, Michael Anastassiades took over an old jewellery store and filled the original display cases with a beautiful selection of silver ware and lighting in brass and onyx. 

A couple of doors down, Skandium presented a comprehensive retrospective on Swedish architects and designers Claesson Koivisto Rune called "On Yellow". Furniture, lighting, rugs, jewellery and architectural models designed by the small but prolific studio were dotted across the store, like a treasure hunt and identifiable by the yellow perspex squares they all sat on. Again, Ӧrsjӧ were well represented with both Aria and Baklava by CKR included in the show. 

As always, Mint's show was unmissable. This year, "Mint Explores" brought together fashion and furniture, cellulose that felt like concrete, as well as lighting and textiles from as far afield as Mexico and Chile.  

However, we will end our highlights in the eye of the storm - at the V&A Museum. For the third year, the V&A became the hub (both physical and digital) for the Festival's activities. Exhibits were dotted liberally throughout the galleries, encouraging you to wander, often into rooms you weren't previously aware of. British-ish, curated by Giles Deacon, and Industrial Revolution 2.0, curated by Murray Moss, saw pieces scattered throughout the galleries. it was sometimes difficult to tell which installation a piece belonged to, but it hardly mattered. It was a pleasure to wander and discover.


(Further pieces, along with project and designers names can be found in our Facebook album)

Impossible to miss was the 10 metre high Timber Wave by Amanda Levete dominating the main entrance. A serious feat of engineering, construction was apparently completed with minutes to spare before the press launch.

Inside, the other major draw was Textile Field by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, in conjunction with Kvadrat in the Raphael Gallery. A 60 metre raised carpet, it became a giant bed for weary visitors to sit back, relax and contemplate the famous Cartoons.

Also open at the V&A with impeccable timing is the Power of Making. Open until 2nd January and free, its worth a visit.  

And so we come to the end of another LDF. What does LDF 2012 have in store for us? Watch this space!

Monday, 3 October 2011

My London Design Festival by Suzie Hogan

While you're resting after Part 1 of our LDF Highlights, why not take a look at this short video filmed by Suzie Hogan. Sums it all up rather well and if you're particularly eagle-eyed you might just spot the Relay boys. 

My London Design Festival from Suzie Hogan on Vimeo.

Follow Suzie on Twitter @suziehogan

London Design Festival 2011 - Our Highlights, Part 1

The fact the London Design Festival lasts 9 days is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gives you more time to get around all the events you want to see. A curse because the longer the festival lasts, the more events are added to the program. In all there were over 300 events across London, and only the most intrepid (or those with a teleporter) were ever going to get to all of them. The lesson we learned from last year's LDF and tried to employ this year was prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. 

There was a greater sense of cohesion amongst the new "design districts" this year. It felt more co-ordinated so events within a district happened at similar times so you didn't feel obliged to dart back and forth across town. Tuesday saw the launch parties in the Shoreditch Triangle and Clerkenwell showrooms, Wednesday Fitzrovia, Thursday was Brompton and so on. Better for the feet this way.
Our main focus was of course Shoreditch and Tramshed. SCP and Michael Marriott installed a 7 metre tall orange plastic totem on Curtain Road, for the benefit of those people who still did not know where their store was. Inside, the store had been turned into a Design Department Store with everything from erasers to sofas.

Just around the corner, the online design bible Dezeen took up temporary residence on Rivington Street with Dezeenspace. A pop-up shop with a 1m x 1m gallery platform for young designers to showcase their wares, with a new designer a day. (Dezeenspace is still in residence until 16th October, so you still have time to catch it)
Moving north, Twentytwentyone had two events in their two premises. The newly expanded shop on Upper Street (literally, a hole was punched through the wall to the former cafe next door just days before) was the focus for a re-launch of Robin Day's 1952 lounge chair. Meanwhile their River St. showroom hosted a show entirely in marble from Italian company Marsotto. We have our eye on the Tilt table by Thomas Sandell.   

Heading ever so slightly west, next stop was Viaduct, who debuted Show 3, focusing on new and exciting forms of lighting. Ӧrsjӧ were well represented with both Baklava and Lean included in the show.

Designjunction was the cool new kid on the block. After a successful debut in Milan this year, Designjunction itched up in London and took over the sprawling basement of Victoria House. Presenting collections from UK and European brands, there were also exhibitors from Australia and New Zealand, like new company Resident and a shop focusing on smaller items with a British connection, curated by Scene. We particularly liked new British company Another Country's second collection.  

An absolute highlight of this year's festival was Hemma, an exhibition of contemporary Swedish design for the home at the Swedish Ambassador's residence. Ambassador Nicola Claes opened the doors to her stunning Adams designed home, packed the furniture into storage and gave the space to new and established designers and manufacturers from Frederik Farg to Orrefors, Anna Kraitz to Front. The first image at the top of this post shows Mia Cullin acoustic screens with Svenskt Tenn lighting in the entrance hall. Below is some beautiful glass from Simon Klenell.

This would probably be a good place to pause and put your feet up. We'll be back with the west London action in a separate post. You can see more images in our Facebook album.