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London Design Festival 2016: our must-see shortlist

16. 09. 16   :   The Epistle

Here at 1508 London we’re preparing ourselves for the hive of activity that is London Design Festival. Running from 17-25 September, it is an unmissable date in the diary for industry professionals as well as those who simply have a passion for great, pioneering design. Since its inception in 2003, the festival has grown to become one of the most important annual design events and has succeeded in its aim – to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world.

With limited time and around 400 events, exhibitions, installations, workshops and performances to choose from at venues across London, we’ve all got our work cut out. The smaller events are often among the most thought provoking and rewarding, so we recommend venturing off the beaten track from time to time. After studying the programme, here are just a few of the installations, exhibitions and interesting collaborations that we’re adding to our must-see list…

The Green Room at the V&A

The Green Room - installation at the V&A for London Design Festival

We’re intrigued by the concept behind this towering installation at the V&A, which is described as a kinetic timepiece that ‘changes perceptions of what a clock can be’. It is the result of a collaboration between design studio Glithero and luxury watch maker Panerai. 160 multi-coloured silicone cords will make up a cylindrical curtain hanging from a 17.5m-high stairwell. As the timepiece rotates, the strings slowly rise and fall, creating an ‘immersive wave of colour’. Visitors can step inside the timepiece and experience it moving around them.

‘Liquid Marble’ at the Norfolk House Music Room, V&A

The idea is to bring a piece of the water to a place where there is none, to create a contemplative experience’ –– Mathieu Lehanneur

Liquid Marble installation at the V&A - large carved marble tablet

Multi-disciplinary designer Mathieu Lehanneur’s latest installation in his ‘Liquid Marble’ series was specifically designed for the Norfolk House Music Room, currently on display in room 52 of the V&A’s British Galleries. 3D special-effects software was used to design the surface of this single block of marble, which was then machine sculpted and hand polished to create the illusion of rippling water. We love the contrasts inherent in this work: the minimalism of the piece set against its ornate surroundings; the use of cutting-edge technology to mimic nature; and the sense of fluidity and movement imposed on the most solid and static of materials.

Lehanneur is also exhibiting at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery until 30 September.

Makers House at 1 Manette Street

Makers House, which runs from 21 to 27 September, is the result of a new partnership between The New Craftsmen and Burberry. As part of the daily changing programme of activities and installations, a select group of craft makers have been invited to use the Soho venue to create and showcase original works, using Burberry’s new collection as their starting point. The show is a celebration of both brands’ passion for British craftsmanship, materials and design – a passion that is shared by the 1508 London team.

‘Sculpting Scent’ at The Conran Shop, Marylebone

London-based artist Zuza Mengham’s exhibition, ‘Sculpting Scent’, in collaboration with Laboratory Perfumes, caught our attention. Mengham’s colourful, crystal-shaped resin sculptures are physical interpretations of five fragrances, with the various components of each scent represented by the layering of colours and visual effects. It’s an interesting exploration of the link between our senses – smells translated into shapes and colours hints at a synesthetic experience, when senses are ‘mixed up’.

crystal designed to represent a scent - in shades of blue and purple, with dots
Zuza Mengham for Laboratory Perfumes. Photo: Alberto Lamback

Decorex International at Syon Park

Decorex (18-21 September) is an integral part of the London Design Festival and is a great place to catch up with trusted partners and discover new talent. Worth looking out for is the innovative work of BeatWoven, an art-led textiles label that uses audio technology to translate the beats and sounds in music into woven patterns. Representing a favourite piece of music via a custom-made wall hanging, cushion or upholstery fabric is a subtle way to add meaning and personality to an interior.

Grey fabric with design based on a piece of music
CoolTone fabric by BeatWoven

The Champagne Bar

It would be remiss of us to end our preview without mentioning the fact that 1508 London is designing this year’s champagne bar at Decorex! Our installation will be a deconstructed version of classicism with simple geometric shapes, mirrored surfaces and sculptural details. Always a talking point and a great meeting place, we think this will be the best champagne bar yet…

impression of champagne bar at Decorex, designed by 1508 London