The definition: An annual event that promotes the city’s creativity and brings in creatives from far and wide. The ‘unique selling point’ of this design festival is that it classes itself as a celebration of design rather than just another weeklong event. It has been going for over 10 years now and was the brainchild of Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans. The Festival program is made up of over 300 events and exhibitions shown by hundreds of partner organisations across the design domain and from around the world.
Each year the festival finds a new focus on a different aspect of design and showcases different ‘landmark projects’. Landmark projects focus on experimenting with new materials and processes and the London Design Festival always ask great designers and architects to contribute. This year’s landmark project is the ‘Endless Stair designed by dRMM, sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and engineered by ARUP. This ‘endless’ staircase is placed with the Tate Modern as a backdrop, iconic in itself; the installation has a lot to square up to. Alex de Rijke of dRMM describes it as “a three-dimensional exercise in composition, structure and scale and as both a marker and meeting place”. The installation will be open from 13th September to the 10th October 2013.
My visit to the installation saw me waiting in a queue for about 1 hour. Mr. P was NOT impressed as I had promised him that it wouldn’t be too long a wait, but he too wanted to climb the ‘endless stair’ and so didn’t mind so much. It actually feels quite surreal to be climbing a staircase that you know leads no-where since you can see the top of it!!
Another aspect to the festival is the ‘Shoreditch triangle’, which geographically our studio falls into. We started off with a private view by ‘Deadgood’ at The Pitfield exhibition space. Deadgood are producers of contemporary furniture, lighting and interiors. The space looks as you’d imagine it, stylish, minimal and modern and the products are classics with a twist, be it material used or shape. Lee Broom’s new retail store was the next stop for us, he was hosting a private opening party, although when we got there I felt like it had been an open invitation free for all. Over subscribed and hugely packed like sardines in a tin! I didn’t feel like I could see any of his work and couldn’t wait to leave… having said that the cocktails were amazing and so were the canapés which was nice! Stumbling in late was going to be a regular thing this week…
This year 100% Design was slightly same same, a few nice pieces mainly lighting but everything else was just as normal. The newest addition to this show is the ‘international pavilion’, which showcases work from around the world. It’s always good to see how others are doing the same. The part that I enjoyed the most was the stand with 3d printers on it. Technology has evolved so much, I remember having to vacuum form 3d molds to get objects melted into shape!! In front of my eyes a vase was being created out of string type lengths of plastic. I would love to have myself one of these printers, I even went so far as to ask how much it would cost initially, material costs and maintenance … the smaller ones RRP at about 2k which isn’t too bad… Mr. P however didn’t feel the same way!! I will have to work on him and see what happens… watch this space!! He may have a moment of temporary insanity where he agrees!
Designjunction is a showcase of the very best in furniture, lighting and product design from around the world. It was held at the 1960s Postal Sorting Office over in Holborn and has been going since 2011. More recently it has been transported to Milan and New York. I didn’t get a chance to go over and take a peek but had a friend who managed to take some snaps for me!
Final stop for me over the very busy period of London Design Festival 2013 should have been Decorex International the luxury interiors and design show. However it was soo busy in the studio that I didn’t get a chance to visit. Posts on twitter kept me updated with the goings on and what the stand designs looked like and various guest tweets, photos etc.
The 10 days or so of London Design Festival are tiring but fun and provide a great insight into how the industry works, new suppliers and new products. It also allows the interiors industry to catch up with one another and renew old or forgotten friendships us interior designers have with suppliers.