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London Design Festival at the V&A: Future History

SEEN enjoyed a preview of some of the excellent projects currently in the iconic Victoria & Albert museum for the London Design Festival. Showcasing some of the very best in Design from the 17th – 25th September, the LDF enjoys support from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who said, ‘… the festival allows people from all walks of life the opportunity to experience why London really is the design capital of the world.’ Sir John Sorrell, chairman of the London Design festival added, ‘The V&A, as the main hub of the Festival, hosts a stunning series of interventions, alongside its temporary exhibitions and permanent collections.’

SEEN enjoyed a preview of some of the excellent projects currently in the iconic Victoria & Albert museum for the London Design Festival. Showcasing some of the very best in Design from the 17th – 25th September, the LDF enjoys support from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who said, ‘… the festival allows people from all walks of life the opportunity to experience why London really is the design capital of the world.’ Sir John Sorrell, chairman of the London Design festival added, ‘The V&A, as the main hub of the Festival, hosts a stunning series of interventions, alongside its temporary exhibitions and permanent collections.’

The Tapestry Galleries (Room 94, Level 3) play host to ‘Foil’ by Benjamin Hubert and Layer. This monumental piece is a 20-metre-long revolving ribbon of 50,000 individual triangular metallic panels, which emulate the precision-engineered form of the iconic Braun shaver foil, with the 360-degree rotating head design. LED lights then shine upon the moving lights and reflect on the gallery walls. This creates a church-like atmosphere aided by calming music. The whole ambience is meditative. Who would believe that this space is in the middle of busy London and in a bustling museum? Such a simple idea, totally in keeping with Braun’s philosophy of ‘less is better.’

‘Foil’ by Benjamin Hubert
Foil by Benjamin Hubert
‘Foil’ by Benjamin Hubert
Foil by Benjamin Hubert
‘Foil’ by Benjamin Hubert
Foil by Benjamin Hubert

British-based design duo Glithero presents ‘The Green Room’ in a six-storey stairwell in the west wing of the V&A. This is a kinetic installation on the theme of the passage of time. This arresting installation can be viewed from many points up and down the stairwell and has been designed with the Italian luxury watchmaker Panerai. Composed of colour-blocked veils of silicone cord, which will shift and blend as the installation turns. Tones of neon-orange, pink and purple draw the viewer in, creating an immersive hypnotic experience, aided by the light from the windows in the stairwell. The effect is giddying to the observer, creating something transcendent and cathedral-like.

‘The Green Room’ by Glithero
‘The Green Room by Glithero
‘The Green Room’ by Glithero
‘The Green Room by Glithero

Room 52b houses ‘Liquid Marble’ by Mathieu Lehanneur. Set in the context of the Norfolk House Music Room, Lehanneur wanted to create an interior space where visitors could sit and contemplate the surface of the sea. The piece, measuring 4.5m by 2m and created from one massive slab of black marble, was designed by using 3D software to create the waves, then hand-polished to create a dense rippling effect that perfectly emulates the ever-changing surface of the sea. Again, it’s a piece that brings the viewer to a calm meditative state of mind.

Liquid Marble by Mathieu Lehanneur
Liquid Marble by Mathieu Lehanneur

‘Beloved’ was designed by Istanbul-based architecture firm Tabanlioglu Architects and re-interprets Sabahattin Ali’s classic 1943 novel ‘Madonna in a Fur Coat’. This multi-sensory installation is on the Bridge by Lift O on Level 3. It is a 13-metre-long mirrored black box, but it has cracks in it so that the viewer can peep through at screens behind, on which play scenes from the novel, physical objects, text, light and sound. As the novel has just been translated into English, this is the ideal opportunity for it to gain a new readership. The story tells of the relationship between a young Turkish man and an enigmatic German woman, and is set in two cities, Berlin and Ankara, in the interwar period so the setting of the Bridge is symbolic of the themes of in the novel; old and young, East and West, WW1 and WW2.

Beloved by Tabanlioglu Architects
Beloved by Tabanlioglu Architects
Beloved by Tabanlioglu Architects
Beloved by Tabanlioglu Architects
Beloved by Tabanlioglu Architects
Beloved by Tabanlioglu Architects

Throughout the museum, examples of engineering can be found as part of a season in which the V&A highlights the importance of engineering in our everyday lives. The John Madejski Garden contains the ‘Elytra Filament Pavilion’, created by robotic technology. This remarkable installation will change and evolve over the course of the Festival. Based on the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra, the pavilion is an undulating canopy of tightly-woven carbon-fibre cells, created using a novel robotic production process. The garden is a stunning setting for such a modern technological phenomenon.

Elytra Filament Pavilion
Elytra Filament Pavilion

In the shop on the ground floor, the London Souvenirs stand can be found. With London memorabilia such as cockney rhyming slang coasters and matchboxes inspired by Belisha Beacons, the products elevate Tourist souvenirs above the usual tackiness. Created by various designers such as Pentagram and Kellenberg White, the products will be available for six months.

pentagram-mug

In the Clore Study Area on Level 2 ‘Northern Lights’ showcases the design work of practitioners who have actively chosen to live and make in Scotland. An initiative by the V&A Museum of Design, Dundee, this display expands Scottish design identity beyond the usual tartan and tweed, ‘Northern Lights’ displays work by diverse designers; womenswear by Hayley Scanlan, inspired by punk and Debbie Harry, contemporary chairs and swings from Isabelle Moore and bespoke furniture from Angus Ross. The V&A actively welcomes the hosting of such innovation north of the border as it raises the designers’ profiles internationally. As Hayley Scanlan told SEEN; it’s no longer necessary to live in London in order to have a career in design.

Northern Lights by Dundee
Northern Lights by Dundee
Northern Lights by Dundee
Northern Lights by Dundee

SEEN was almost overwhelmed by the sheer inventiveness and collaboration that they saw on display. As a world leader in design, London has exceeded its own expectations. There’s something here to fascinate everyone, from design student to visitor and citizen alike. It’s a heartening Festival in terms of inspiring future generations of designers. Check the website for more exhibits and talks on participants in the Festival.

www.londondesignfestival.com

V&A
Cromwell Road
London
SW7 2RL

Credits

Photography courtesy London Design Festival 2016 supported by British Land

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