From Es Devlin’s landmark fifth lion installation in Trafalgar Square, to Pentagram’s exploration of dazzle patterns at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the 16th London Design Festival reconfigured our expectations of space.
Spanning 11 design districts, this year’s festival was a platform for innovation, democratic design and the reclamation of our most sacred environments. Here are three names – and projects – that stood out.
Fernando Laposse’s Totomoxtle veneer
Designer Fernando Laposse is on a mission to put craftsmanship and sustainable materials at the heart of our homes. The Mexican-born but London-based designer’s new material ‘Totomoxtle’ – nominated for a Beazley Design of the Year award – sees husks peeled off the cob, ironed, glued onto paper or textiles, then cut into small pieces that are reassembled to form marquetry for everything from traditional furniture pieces to architectural finishes to more decorative items such as lampshades and runners. ‘This project is intended to make more income for farmers by making an inexpensive secondary product – the veneer – from husks that would otherwise go to waste,’ says Laposse, who also collaborated with Shoreditch hotel citizenM to produce an immersive relaxation environment, created entirely with sisal, a sustainable fibre native to Mexico and first used by the Mayans.
Waugh Thistleton Architects’ MultiPly installation
In collaboration with the American Hardwood Export Council and ARUP, London-based Waugh Thistleton Architects challenged visitors to the V&A’s Sackler Courtyard to reconsider the modularity of homes and cities. The three-dimensional permeable structure, made of re-usable panel systems, explored the ways modularity can provide not only efficient solutions but also enjoyable experiences.
James Shaw’s PlasticScene project
At the newly-opened King’s Cross Gasholders, RCA graduate and furniture designer James Shaw teamed up with Modern Design Review to curate a showcase of brand new designs made from waste plastics. The exhibition represented an extension of his groundbreaking extruding gun, which allowed for the production of waste plastic ‘goo’ strands which can then be used to quickly and easily sculpt furniture pieces that boast a signature aesthetic unique to Shaw’s extrusion process.