London design festival 14: V & A Museum

Posted on September 24, 2014 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Zaha Hadid's Crestcrest by Zaha Hadid carousel wall

Top & bottom left: Crest by Zaha Hadid Architects; Bottom right: Carousal wall by David David and Johnson Tiles


Another year, another design festival... unlike the previous years, I didn't have the time to do much planning beforehand, so I missed many talks especially at the V & A because they were booked up very quickly.

Judging from the ever-growing festival, it's not hard to tell the design industry means big business (even their booklet is much bigger and heavier this year). A few years ago, media coverage focused mostly on the London fashion week (which takes place at the same time), but this year, the London design festival received almost the same amount of coverage and attention as the fashion week thanks to the marketing and PR team.

V & A museum has been the hub of the festival for as long as I can remember, and it is always interesting to see site-specific installations by international designers/artists at the museum.

One of the main attraction is Zaha Hadid Architects' 'Crest' in The John Madejski Garden, commissioned by Melia Hotels International ( the sculpture will stay there until 24th October, then it will be installed as a permanent feature within the ME Hotel in Dubai). The shell-like aluminium structure works surprisingly well with the historical architectural environment, it reflects the sky, the water and the movements surrounding it. It's a shame that this installation will find its permanent elsewhere!


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Top and 2nd row left: Barber & Osgerby's ‘Double Space for BMW: Precision & Poetry in Motion; 2nd row middle: Kyouei Design's Magnetic Field Record; 2nd row right & bottom: 3D fabric installation Dream-Land by The T/shirt issue


Another major installation is Barber & Osgerby's ‘Double Space for BMW: Precision & Poetry in Motion’ (until 24th October), a kinetic sculpture that creates an immersive experience for the viewers in the Raphael Gallery. The two huge mirrored panels, constructed like an aircraft wing, have one flat side and one convex side, and they would rotate slowly above the viewers. There was a lot of hype about this installation before it was revealed, but I felt slightly underwhelmed by it as the installation reminds me of some large distorted mirrors except that it costs a lot more to produce. Although it is an interesting experience to view the gallery in a new perspective, personally, I think French designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec's 'Textile Field' (2011) worked better in this gallery space.


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The wish list project - Top left: Zaha Hadid & Gareth Neal's wooden tableware; Top right: Terence Conran & Sebastian Cox's Cocoon office; 2nd row left: Paul Smith & Nathalie de Leval's garden shed; 3rd row left: Richard Rogers and Xenia Moseley's special ladder; 3rd row right: Alex de Rijke and Barnby & Day's round laminated dining table; Bottom: Norman Foster & Nori Matsamoto's pencil sharpeners


'The Wish List' is a collaboration project between 10 top designers/ architects and 10 emerging design talents. Each pair would work together to design and produce something they have always wanted, but never been able to find. The final pieces can be seen at the museum until 24th October.

Elsewhere at the museum, there are also various exhibitions including 'Disobedient objects' (until 1st Feb 2015), 'A world to win: posters of protest and revolution' (until 2nd Nov)and 'Shakespeare: Greatest living playwright' (until 28th Sept).


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Top row: 'Disobedient objects' exhibition; Posters from 'A world to win: posters of protest and revolution' exhibition; The rest: 'Shakespeare: Greatest living playwright' exhibition


While I was at the museum, I attended a screening and Q & A session of a digital project called '1000 Londoners' produced by Chocolate films. The aim of the project is to improve understanding and community cohesion by enabling Londoners to learn more about the people who share their city.

Each week, a profile of a Londoner is posted on their home page. The profile contains a 3 minute film that gives an insight into the life of the Londoner, as well as their own personal photos of London and some answers to crucial questions about their views on London life.
At the screening, 10 short films were selected featuring London designers/ designer makers of various disciplines. I like the concept a lot, and the fact that some of the films selected are via open submissions and competitions. If you are a Londoner, and would like to get involved in the project or learn more about other Londoners, then check out their website above to find out more.

This post was posted in London, Exhibitions, Films & documentaries, Art, Design festivals & shows, Contemporary craft, Design and was tagged with London, art and design exhibitions, short films, contemporary crafts, London Design Festival