Now in its eighth year, The London Design Festival hosts a mix of over 200 commissioned installations and exhibitions plus over 150 launches, private views and parties from the Festival hub at the Victoria and Albert museum to spaces across the city. Ben Evans, Festival Director, outlined some of the major highlights of the 2010 Festival.
At the centre of the Festival will be an immense mechanical octopus taking up residence in Trafalgar Square. The Festival - working with leading car designer and manufacturer Audi - has commissioned German designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram. Their creation, Outrace, will take the form of six massive industrial robotic arms from Audi’s production line. Custom software developed by the designers will allow members of the public to temporarily control the installation and write texts in light traces drawn by the synchronised mechanical tentacles. The resulting ‘light paintings’ will be recorded using specialised high-definition video equipment and published online.
For the second year, the Festival will be working in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design. The residency is made up of a collection of specially commissioned design installations, displays and events for the duration of the Festival.
Now in its fourth year, the annual Size + Matter project at Southbank Centre seeks to match the talents of well-known architects and designers with specific materials to create a dramatic piece of public design. London-based Paul Cocksedge will be working in stainless steel using Formtexx to help realise the project through the use of their revolutionary double-curved technology. The second Size + Matter piece will see David Chipperfield Architects working with material sponsor Sefar® - a leading manufacturer of technical textiles – and glass manufacturer Bischoff Glastechink (BGT).
For the first time, the Festival will be working with an official hotel partner – Andaz Liverpool Street. The hotel will be the venue for the presentation of the 2010 London Design Medal, which will be awarded during a VIP dinner to a designer who has made an outstanding contribution to London and design. Andaz Liverpool Street will also provide a pivotal hub during the Festival, hosting an installation created by the French designer Mathieu Lehanneur for Veuve Clicquot, the Festival’s champagne sponsor. Once Upon A Dream is Lahanneur’s creation of a bed for curing insomnia, first shown in Milan in April 2010.
As in previous years, the Festival will spread across the capital with a series of districts providing concentrated areas of activity, providing visitors with a distinct selection of Festival exhibitions and experiences in a number of key areas. Special focus on Festival activity will be on a number of districts within central London including Brompton Design District, Covent Garden and the West End, new district Fitzrovia, and East London.
Within and beyond the Design Districts, a range of key events will light up this year’s Festival programme including 100% Design London, The Design Museum, Tent London, Origin making its debut at the Festival this year, Tom Dixon, Heal’s, Neville Brody, Decorex and more. A defining part of the London Design Festival’s development over recent years has also been the increasing number of international shows listed as part of the programme.