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22 Sep 2015

London Design Festival preview

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It’s the UK’s chance to shine, in the creative sense if not always in the meteorological one this September as London Design Festival kicks off for another edition. We traverse the various corners of the capital to find the best product launches, projects and installations for 2015.

VIADUCTViaduct
The pratice, on Summers Street, is a stalwart of the EC1 design scene and a place where one can reliably reconnect with designs past and uncover something new too. For this year’s LDF, they have erred towards the latter with White on White, which showcases a new generation of Scandinavian designers. This includes Sweden’s Studio Vit, which will be creating a special lighting installation using its Cone and Marble lights, while MA/U Studio will be showing a range of furniture and storage, including a version of its Never Ending Table, made with flooring planks from Danish manufacturer Dinesen.

 

Morgan RIOMorgan
This detail image is all we have to go on as far as Morgan’s new seating collection Rio goes, but we’re intrigued to see the finished result. Designed by Morgan studio together with Mehran Gharleghi of Anglo-Australian practice Studio

Integrate, the concept is centred around whether craft and technology can truly be combined. Gharleghi has developed a 3D printed component made in both a polyamide and a metallic finished resin. The chairs are constructed using a mathematical algorithm, each one with a slight variation as if it was carved by hand. See the results as well as 3D wall displays of the design and manufacturing process for yourself at Morgan’s Dallington Street space.

 

DESIGN AND CRAFTSCOUNCILOFIRELANDAodh Furniture Aodh Aran red right side view PMDesign and Crafts Council of Ireland
Irish design is well represented at LDF this year. As well as a major installation at the V&A by Grafton Architects and Graphic Relief, there is new work from over 20 designers at Tent London in an exhibition called Ó, meaning ‘from’ in Gaelic organised by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland.

These include Aodh Furniture which is launching a decidedly design-led selection of chairs (pictured), contemporary lighting from Mullen Lighting and woollen rugs from Ceadogán. In addition to finished products, there will be three live microproduction spaces, demonstrating craft techniques such as weaving and woodworking. This is the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland’s fourth LDF outing and this year also happens to be Irish Design 2015 (ID2015), a year-long, government-backed initiative to promote the country’s creativity, both on a domestic and international stage.

 

STOJMAYERH ECOLA STO WERKSTATT HANDSON 02 ProjectionSto Werkstatt
Architects ongoing love affair with experimenting with materials is evidenced by this retrospective of winners from the last ten years’ worth of ECOLA (European Conference of Leading Architects) Awards. Entitled Hands On, the show at Sto’s Clerkenwell HQ on Woodbridge Street, features winning schemes by the likes of Adjaye Associates, David Chipperfield and John Pawson that put the use of render and plaster at centrestage.

To enhance the visitor experience, celebrated German architect J Mayer H - whose work includes eye popping schemes like the ADA 1 office project in Hamburg and the Hasselt Court of Justice in Belgium - has designed a special installation. The sculpture functions as a seat to appreciate the work and is in the abstract shape of a hand, referencing the handicraft still required in the plastering trade.

 

MADE IN RATIO Alpha Chair Made in Ratio Stacked FrontMade In Ratio
The brainchild of former onoffice cover star Brodie Neill, Made in Ratio is a Shoreditch-based furniture brand rapidly establishing itself as a producer of stylish but not scare-the-horses contrived pieces. The company’s latest launch, also appearing at designjunction, is Alpha, a solid wood chair that deftly crosses the domestic/contract divide and one that we can easily see specifiers being seduced by, given its multifunctionality – equally at home around a contemporary dining table or a contemporary dining-table-inspired place to meet in an office. Its curvy looks come courtesy of the latest production technologies in shaping wood.

 

HERMANMILLERWardBennettHerman Miller
Herman Miller has looked to its no doubt extensive archives for inspiration. It is celebrating the designs of Ward Bennett, whose life story could easily be a Hollywood blockbuster. Having left school at 13 to work in New York’s garment industry, he designed his first clothing collection just two years later. With stints at art schools in Paris and Florence, Bennett was mostly self taught; his design skills spanned illustration, sculpture, jewellery as well as, of course, designing furniture. Herman Miller is presenting a range of Bennett’s work at designjunction, including his Sled chair, I Beam Table and Rolled Arm Club Chair. One of his greatest claims to fame was designing a chair for Lyndon B Johnson’s presidential library that was ‘a cross between a barroom chair and courtroom chair with a little Western saddle’.

 

GABBERTAS STUDIO SLIDE SHOW 3 CMYK 14.07Gabbertas Studio + Hainsworth
Gabbertas Studio is collaborating with Hainsworth, one of England’s oldest woollen textile mills on an exhibition entitled Fabricate. This will celebrate British manufacturing as well as the design skills of one of onoffice’s favourite designers, Mark Gabbertas. His studio will present a selection of both old and new designs, all reinterpreted using Hainsworth fabrics in a range of colours and finishes. This collaboration represents the first time that Hainsworth has used its fabrics for contract upholstery - its most famous commission is probably the scarlet uniforms of the Queen’s Royal Guards. Head down to the tasting room at The Sampler on Thurloe Place for this show.

SOMERSETHOUSElphabeta Luca Nichetto for HemSomerset House
Joining the key venues for 2015 is Somerset House, which will be home to a number of installations by well-known designers such as Ross Lovegrove, Barber and Osgerby and Jasper Morrison. Among the exhibits in the West Wing galleries is a sound and light collaboration between Scandinavian retailer Hem and Luca Nichetto, an Italian designer who, fittingly, divides his time between Stockholm and Venice. A group of 44 modular Alphabeta lamps, designed by Nichetto for Hem, will illuminate according to the keys played of a grand piano in the centre of the room. As the music plays, so a unique ‘constellation’ of lamps lights up, goes the theory.

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