London’s design festival celebrates its 15th anniversary this year and takes place all over London from the 16th until the 24th September 2017 and will present highlights of the finest in design. It encompasses eight official design districts around the city. This year Mayfair is part of the festival for the first time. Additionally, five design fairs and more than 400 events will be on – many of the exhibitions and talks about design are free of entry and invite the audience to immerse themselves in the design world.
This year’s landmark project will be the Villa Walala, an installation by textile designer Camille Walala that can be seen at Broadgate Circus, an area usually dominated by high-rises and office towers. With bold colours and patterns she introduces an atmosphere of playfulness, while creating the biggest installation of the festival. The “toy block castle” is typical for Walala’s bold, colourful style. It consists of giant, soft shapes, that feature digital prints. Anchored to the ground, the forms can be inflated by the visitors. Thus the flat shapes turn into a three-dimensional structure. Furthermore they are adorned with rhinestone balls which makes touching them even more inviting.
TRADITION MEETS MODERNITY
The festival’s longstanding co-operation with the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington is continued, various artists create site-specific artworks on the museum grounds. Among those is an installation by Ross Lovegrove in the museum’s Tapestry Gallery, which is based on the works in its vicinity. In collaboration with Alcantara, an Italian company that creates fake suede, the designer has created a wave-like structure that – in contrast to most of the museum’s exhibits – is intended to be touched. Gold and silver threads create an ornamental pattern of more than 2,000,000 marks that run along the edge of the sculpture. The installation thereby reflects the prosperity and the aristocratic fashion which are shown on the 15th-century tapestries.
In the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Gallery, the Palestinian architects Elias and Yousef Anastas will showcase their debut: The installation “While We Wait” – a tower of stony grid-work is among the politically motivated works in the festival. The piece refers to the Cremisan Valley, a green area between the West Bank and Jerusalem and it intends to reflect on the “cultural value of nature in Palestine”. As one of the few remaining green areas in the Palestinian landscape it is currently threatened by the building of a wall in the middle of the valley. During the festival, the installation is supposed to turn the V&A into a meditative space.
For last year’s festival, the architect Asif Khan installed plant-filled pavilions above Shoreditch, while Lee Broom turned his shop into a huge optical illusion. After the success of the London Design Biennale at Somerset House in 2016, the LDF returns this year to the venue with “Design Frontiers” and shows in its exhibition what 30 international designers connect to their favourite brands. Ian Callum with Jaguar has been confirmed so far as well as Tord Boontje with Swarovski, Benjamin Hubert with Allermuir and a group production at and by Kvadrat.
You will find further information about the festival on its website and in social media under the hashtag #LDF17.