Early this Fall, London will host top names in design including Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Ron Arad, Stephen Jones, and Murray Moss for countless special events, talks and exhibitions. Timber Wave, Textile Field, Thumbprint are a few of 12 installations that make up the London Design Festival, which takes place at the V&A September 17-25.
Architects Amanda Levette Architects (AL_A) are working in collaboration with structural engineers at Arup in the creation of Timber Wave, a striking three-dimensional spiral made from oil-treated American red oak that will cascade down the steps. It is the first time that this type of timber has been used structurally on such a large scale, using ultra-thin laminates glued together to create the tightly curved shapes. The project is supported by the American Hardwood Export Council, with lighting by seam Design.
France’s most accomplished design duo, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, will be working with international textile company Kvadrat to inspire a very different view of the famous Raphael Cartoons, which have been owned by the British Royal Family since 1623, and on loan to the Museum since 1865. Textile Field will take over the gallery with gentle undulations of soft fabric, creating an expansive, coloured foam and textile ‘lounge’.
"We were invited by the London Design Festival to choose any space we wanted within the Museum for our installation and were immediately drawn to the Raphael Gallery. It’s an opportunity to create an environment for viewing art which has never been done before," said Bouroullec.
The John Madejski Garden will feature a site- specific installation by Ron Arad, in collaboration with Veuve Clicquot, which supported the commission, Arad's Thumbprint chair is recreated in bronze.
"Normally you see your pieces in the factory and then they disappear to somewhere in the world," said Arad. "You don't really get to enjoy them or to know them very well. Bronze loves to be in water which it shows it by accumulating patina. The Thumbprint is a sphere that was pressed by a giant thumb, leaving its print on it. Now every landscape has its own fingerprint; I wish I could claim credit for the beauty of this pattern but it's not me, it is nature. The pool will get a minimal treatment to mark the Festival's occasion. I'm very glad that a piece that normally disappears to the private world will enjoy some time in the sun in public."
New York-based design gallerist and curator Murray Moss will collaborate with Belgium-based industry leader Materialise to create this special exhibition which pushes the parameters of 21st century 3D ‘printing’. A series of unique ‘printed’ works, using cutting edge laser and digital technologies to build three-dimensional objects, are placed throughout the Museum’s most important galleries, wittily referencing eight of the Museum’s key pieces and spaces.
Milliner Stephen Jones has re-imagined, using computer scanning technology, a special reproduction of the Museum’s renowned 1827 bust of Lady Belhaven, adding, of course, a contemporary hat.
At the same time Power of Making, a V&A and Crafts Council exhibition, will explore the universal nature of making by showcasing the widest possible range of creativity in over 100 exquisitely made objects. Curated by Daniel Charny the exhibition will provide a snapshot of making in our time, with works including a ceramic eye patch, dry stone walling, a bamboo car, a lion-shaped coffin, a six-necked guitar, bio-implant embroidering to aid surgical implants, cake decorations and new technologies such as 3D printing.
The Berlin-based, Israeli design outfit BetaTank, is presenting a strikingly visual juxtaposition of materials by creating scaffolding made from porcelain. "Scaffolding Brut", the studio's exploration of a potential future for scaffolding and believes that there is an argument for ‘beautifying’ this urban eyesore. It will showcase various porcelain scaffolding parts in the Tunnel entrance.
Beyond the Valley offers digital design for visitors in a relaxed environment. Here’s a chance to put the iPad ‘Granimator’ through its paces by taking an assortment of patterns and wallpaper designs and watching them ‘come alive’ and be ‘remixed’ in your own interpretation. Your new design will then be uploaded to a website for all to view.
Google will host a series of Design Lectures at four weekend events in which designers develop ideas in public view, demonstrating cutting-edge design, innovation and technology in front of – and with the help of – a live audience.
The London Design Festival's dedicated entrance to the museum at Exhibition Road plays host to the Postmodern Café. In homage to the Italian masters of the movement, this will be a playful rendition of a colourful environment, for relaxation, repose and refreshment. Contemporary interpretations coexist with past realities, including elements designed for firms with roots in Postmodernism, active today, such as Alessi and Bisazza.
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- In Print