The capital is gearing up for the start of London Design Festival 2019, which sees designers, architects and creatives flood the city, and installations, exhibitions and trade shows spring up in every postcode.
This year’s edition is bigger than ever, so we’ve picked out a hit list of unmissable interventions and immersive installations to see, from an underwater sunset to peaceful public spaces where you can catch your breath between shows.
Walala lounge by Camille Walala
Queen of colour Camille Walala is at it again, this time creating an outdoor living room in the heart of London’s West End that’s furnished with bright and bold furniture. Expect Walala’s signature patterns and colour pops, which will enliven the South Molton Street’s Victorian streetscape – and visitors’ Instagram feeds.
Avalanche by Matthew McCormick
Canadian designer Matthew McCormick will take over the landing of the V&A’s British Gallery for his immersive intervention, Avalanche. The lowly-lit, reflective space is at odds with the classical surrounds of the Victorian museum and represents a threshold for decision making, and the ‘suspended moment in time where we are faced with a mindful revelation about our own mortality.’
Robin Hood Gardens, Woolmore Street, London E14 0HG by Do Ho Suh
Before controversial brutalist housing estate Robin Hood Gardens was demolished in 2017, the V&A salvaged a section of its facade and the interiors of two of its flats. The museum also commissioned South Korean artist Do Ho Suh – whose work centres on the idea of ‘home’ – to create an artwork in response to the building while awaiting demolition. Suh’s film documents life in the estate and how its inhabitants customised their modular modernist units. It’s stitched together from a mix of time-lapse photography, drone footage, 3D-scanning and photogrammetry.
VOID by Dan Tobin Smith + The Experience Machine in partnership with Gemfields
A series of large-scale projections show the spaces inside Mozambican and Zambian gemstones in Void – an immersive exhibition that blurs the line between design and nature. Designer Dan Tobin Smith and creative studio The Experience Machine teamed up to create the multisensory installation, which is set with Islington’s Collins Music Hall.
Life Labyrinth: PATTERNITY
Creative studio PATTERNITY invites you to stop for a moment and reflect on your surrounds with Life Labyrinth. The spiralling maze will comprise monochrome block seating that’s inspired by the intricate brickwork of Westminster Cathedral. Plants, graphic shapes and gentle sounds encourage creative contemplation and reconnect you with nature amid the bustle of urban living.
Take the Plunge by Volume Creative
An ‘endless horizon’ awaits visitors to the Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf on the banks of the Thames courtesy of Volume Creative and Virgin Voyages. The interactive multi-sensory installation depicts a sunset under the sea and encourages a spirit of adventure and endless possibility.
Please be seated by Paul Cocksedge
Public space – specifically how to use the spaces between buildings in the urban centre – is once again being explored at this year’s design festival. British artist Paul Cocksedge has created a site-specific, large-scale sculpture out of scaffolding planks for people to walk under and sit on in the heart of London’s largest pedestrianised neighbourhood.
Never Lost – Emily Forgot at CitizenM
London illustrator and designer Emily Forgot explores the boundaries between real, remembered and imagined spaces in her installation at citizenM. Forgot will translate her highly recognisable 2D visual language into a fantastical 3D space inspired by the geometric zig-zags of Ricardo Bofill and Richard England’s postmodern architecture, Xavier Corbero’s Labyrinth house, and the monuments of Jantar Mantar in India.
Kaleidoscopia by Lee Broom
Lighting designer Lee Broom always puts on a visual feast at Clerkenwell Design Week and London Design Festival, and this time he’s turning his Shoreditch showroom into a giant optical illusion. Get your camera-phone at the ready.
Underground Volume II – Kirkby Design x TFL
Transport For London enthusiasts will get a kick out of Kirkby Design’s Underground Volume II collection of velvet fabrics, which recreate the carpets and upholstery of Tube and buses back to the 1930s. They’ll be displayed in an original 1967 Victoria Line carriage, letting visitors get up close and personal with the transport of the past.