More than any other design fair, the London Design Festival is known for the ingenuity and raw talent of the designers and brands showcased, and this year was no exception. For those of you who weren’t able to travel to London or who didn’t manage to get to see everything, we’ve put together our highlights of this year’s festival for you to enjoy.
1. The Cloakroom by Faye Toogood
The multitalented designer Faye Toogood had a most unusual display of textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She created 150 Kvadrat foam coats containing maps that sent visitors on a scavenger hunt around the famous museum. Ten coat-like sculptures had been embedded in the most famous collection rooms, each made from materials such as marble, tile, and wood.
2. You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well As By Reflection by Frida Escabedo
Also on display at the V&A Museum was this temporary pavilion, designed to explore the idea of the ‘cultural other’ and the multicultural influences that co-exist in both contemporary Mexico and the UK. Made from layers of reflective surfaces, the installation was open for visitors to explore in the hope of sparking conversations about identity and cultural exchange.
3. Ó, Design and Craft from Ireland
In Shoreditch, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland helped to put together a beautiful exhibition showcasing the country’s top up-and-coming talents, with standouts including shaggy pillows by Mourne Textiles, mid-century inspired rugs by Ceadogán, and these beautiful urchin inspired vases by Catherine Keenan.
4. Pieces by Workshop for Potential Design
At each London Design Festival, the curatorial group Workshop for Potential Design (also known as Study O Portable) gathers designers for a theme exhibition. This year’s exhibition took place inside the Soane Museum, the magical, artefact-filled home of eccentric architect and collector Sir John Soane, with each designer producing works inspired by the surrounding treasures.
5. Curiosity Cloud by mischer’traxler
Inspired by the Art Nouveau movement and designed to celebrate how the modern world interacts with the natural world, the Curiosity Cloud featured two hundred and fifty mouth-blown glass globes. Each globe contained a single, hand-made insect. Capturing human engagement with the natural world, 25 insect species were represented, falling into three categories – extinct, common, and newly discovered.
6. My Grandfather’s Tree by Max Lamb
Max Lamb is renowned for his simple, almost Spartan style furniture, typically made from a single material, but he created something entirely new for his installation with Gallery Fumi. He took a 90-foot tall 187-year-old ash tree he found rotting at his grandfather’s home and used it as the focus for the installation. Sliced into sections, visitors could view the internal structural quirks, normally hidden from view.
7. In Da House by Camille Walala
The design store Aria was taken over by the Memphis obsessed illustrator and muralist Camille Walala, who covered the store’s façade in her signature graphic patterns and launched a matching collection of housewares.
8. Robin Day Works in Wood
The London Design Festival celebrated the centenary of Robin Day’s birth with a special exhibition. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that he was one of the most significant furniture designers of the twentieth century, and this exhibition explored Day’s innovative use of wood both in his professional practice and in his personal life.
9. Open Fires by Liliana Ovalle
This collection, created with the help of the all-female ceramics studio Mujeres del Barro Rojo, was based on an exploration of the firing process used in Oaxaca, Mexico. Each clay piece was fired in particular geometric setups created with sand, dung, and agave leaves, acquiring traces of smoke and coal, and leaving permanent imprints of the fires they were exposed to.
10. MULTIPLEX by Tom Dixon
MULTIPLEX was designed to create a new kind of retail space. In the online age, where digital retailers and the high street are engaged in a never-ending battle, the distinctions between designers, artists, manufacturers, retailers, and customers blur, merge, and are redefined constantly. MULITPLEX brought together a mix of design, technology, fashion, film, and interiors to explore how the future of retail might look, sound, smell, taste, and feel.