London continues to cement its place as an international centre of design, with the 2016 edition of the London Design Festival hosted by dozens of venues across the city. Started in 2003 with the aim of providing what they describe as ‘a gateway to the international creative community’, the festival brings together established and up-and-coming design talents from all corners of the globe. What results is an unparalleled insight into the minds of some of the world’s most formidable creative talents; the programme contains over 400 talks, fairs and events held at exhibition spaces across London.
A crucial part of each year’s festival is the Landmark Projects programme, which sees designers and architects collaborating with major cultural partners in the city to create pioneering designs that respond to unique environments.
One such partner institution is the V&A, which this year invited Istanbul-based architecture firm Tabanlıoğlu Architects to reimagine and bring to life Turkish novelist Sabahattin Ali’s seminal 1943 novel Madonna in a Fur Coat within the halls of the museum. As part of the piece, titled Beloved, viewers were invited to peer inside a mirrored black block in the centre of a corridor. Inside, they discovered a multi-sensory investigation of the novel through video, sound and photography. Watch a video about the installation below.
Also at the V&A, British designer Benjamin Hubert teamed up with German consumer brand Braun to create FOIL, an immersive installation in the museum’s Tapestry Gallery. Created using 50,000 stainless steel panels and shattered LED lights to create a shimmering, fluctuating effect that reflects the movement of a Braun razor, FOIL can be previewed in the video below.
Elsewhere, at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, architect Alison Brooks treated visitors to The Smiler, the largest and most complex single structure ever to have been made out of CLT (cross-laminated timber). Spanning some 34 metres long, the arc was designed in such a way that by day it created areas of speckled sunlight, and by night it turned into ‘a giant lantern’ illuminated by lighting installed in the interior. Find out more in the video at the bottom of the page.
The British Land Celebration of Design
2016 also marked the tenth anniversary of The British Land Celebration of Design. Taking the form of four medals awarded to ‘designers who are making or have made a significant difference to [British life]’, these awards are a celebration of innovation and creativity. Below, hear London Design Festival staff, partners and prize winners discuss what the awards mean to them. As a centre for international imagination, the London Design Festival is a unique space for creative collaboration in the capital. With each passing year it continues to inspire global innovation, nurture originality, and provide an unparalleled platform for the evolution of design.