London Design Festival 2013 Highlights

It’s that time of the year again when your favourite websites are taken over by not only the images of latest trends, skinny models and posh front row outfits, but also by hundreds of design projects that range from the hundredth new chair produced this year to flashy one-off installations. Yes, London Design Festival has opened its gates quite a few days ago and we have had the time to wander around some of its hot-spots and bring you a not-so-detailed, but yet very accurately selected list of projects we have liked, loved or even slightly hated in this year’s edition of the Festival.

Scholten&Baijings “The Dinner Party” at V&A

We have often wondered if there will come a time when design museums might actually give a more realistic view of design practice than the currently used ‘look and adore, but do not touch’ mode of display. This time hasn’t actually arrived yet, even though Dutch design duo Scholten&Baijings have come quite close. “The Dinner Party” is an installation that tries to create both a dialogue between the historical setting of V&A’s Norfolk House Music Room, as well as propose a lived-in setting for their trademark tableware projects.

Typographic Circle’s Circular Magazine

Another event at the V&A is worth mentioning: the exhibition showcasing issues 8-18 of Typographic Circle’s Circular Magazine. Founded with the goal of creating a community of type-lovers as well as promoting graphic design – and especially typographic – culture, each issue of the magazine was completely different both in style and content, evolving with the passing of time.

So Sottsass at Darkroom

If it weren’t for our unconditional love for everything even slightly related to Ettore Sottsass, we would have dismissed this project in a second. “So Sottsass” is a collection of objects that stylistically interpret the designs of the grand Italian master, giving a quirky touch to the shop’s selection. So, if you can’t afford a real Sottsass piece, you can maybe temporarily satisfy your needs with a quirky pillow, a totem light by Jamie Julien-Brown or a Studiopepe Kora vase.

Wonderland at 19 Greek Street

Even though the premises of this exhibition seemed actually far more interesting than what we got to see in there, this Soho space is worth visiting. With the goal of (once again) inquiring into that ambiguous space between art and design, Wonderland brings about 18 pieces by 12 designers, which range from furniture made combining wood and cast aluminium to lamps made combining industry and hand-craft. Even though the idea of exploring the boundaries of design practice is always interesting, we didn’t find many encouraging takes on that thought in this display.

Faye Toogood for Established and Sons

English brand Established and Sons has invited Faye Toogood, London-based designer, to create an installation for their showroom. Named “The Conductor”, the installation is made up of a series of fluorescent lights controlled by analogue toggle switches, embedded in blocks of coloured resin, through which the cables can be seen, interpreting the brand’s new collection of colourful resin furniture by Jo Nagasaka. Playful and visually somewhat mystical, this project is to be read under the ‘just for fun design’ label.

Rujana Rebernjak