8 must-see installations at this year’s London Design Festival

Plan your tour with our pick of ‘best in show’

The 2021 London Design Festival begins tomorrow with the latest design innovations installed at locations across the capital. This year Yinka Ilori enlists volunteers to paint one of his flamboyant patterns on a London road; Fortum & Mason exhibits its new 3D-printed beehives, and Sou Fujimoto unveils a groundbreaking installation with Tin Drum at the Victoria & Albert Museum. The festival runs through 26 September.

The Cube by Velux®

Image: Velux®

Window manufacturer Velux® chose Danish architects Henning Larsen to design a chill-out space for weary festival-goers on the South Bank’s Observation Point. The timber-clad Cube has an asymmetrical flat roof with a mosaic of roof lights that visitors can control with an app to change the pattern of light within the space. Kasper Bjørke composed a custom soundtrack.
Cromwell Rd

Medusa by Tin Drum and Sou Fujimoto

Image: Tin Drum

Nature and architecture intertwine in Tin Drum’s mixed-reality installation at the V&A. Located under sweeping arches between the museum’s 16th-century Raphael Cartoons, Medusa is visible by headset only. Architect Sou Fujimoto’s input is the virtual semi-transparent tubular form-based, in part, on aurora borealis and underwater bioluminescence.
Cromwell Rd

Between Forests and Skies by Nebbia Works

Image: Nebbia Works

Walk around this aluminium-sheet pavilion in the V&A’s John Madejski Garden to witness a forest of reflections suspended between the sky and water. Nebbia Works created a self-supporting structure with minimal cuts and bends in the material. The complex cut-and-fold form results in a strong yet whip-thin space whose reflective quality offers a new perspective on the landscape.
Cromwell Rd

Campbell Hay X Art of Ping Pong

Image: Campbell Hay

The game-table brand Art of Ping Pong collaborated with brand consultancy Campbell Hay on a series of bold and bright ping pong tables displaying animated typography. The design captures the dynamic, fast-moving nature of the game in action.
The Gallery at Islington Square

‘Diaspora’ by Creative Visionaries Studio

Image: Creative Visionaries Studio

Scottish-Egyptian designer-artist Sara Abdalla hand-painted the geometric motifs on this vibrant wall mural designed by Creative Visionaries at a red-brick housing estate in Holborn. The six individual panels bring positivity and cheer, she says, and reflect the “community, diversity and multiculturalism that make London and Britain great.”
Tybalds Estate, Bloomsbury, Holborn

Sonic Boom by Yuri Suzuki

Image: Alberto Balazs

Japanese sound artist Yuri Suzuki worked with multidisciplinary designers Alter-Projects on the wild floral display of these colourful metal pipes. The horn-shaped conduits absorb street sounds and transport voice recordings through their stems, so they can be used as a communication tool. The accompanying Digital Sound Garden transforms voice recordings into flower animations and “plant” them on a map of Mayfair.
Brown Hart Gardens, Mayfair

The Illuminated Garden Featuring Super Nature TV

Image: John Sturrock

Sustainability is at the heart of Space Frames, an installation of reusable glowing arches near King’s Cross Station. Studio Mieke Meijer constructed the Illuminated Garden using a light, aluminium skeleton covered in industrial polyester fabric more commonly used in the aviation industry. It will house a new film commission with a theme of circularity, reuse and sustainable systems.
Central Yard, Coal Drops Yard

The Conran Shop X Damien Poulain 

Image: Damien Poulain / Conran Shop

French designer, muralist and illustrator Damien Poulain has put his vibrant, geometric mark on the window of Conran Shop’s flagship Chelsea location. His multi-perspective piece has a steel-grid frame filled with vivid abstract shapes found around Michelin House and the natural landscape beyond. It makes an arresting backdrop for Conran’s furniture offering.
Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road

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