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Green Preview: London Design Festival 2012

What’s green at London Design Festival [14 - 23 September]


The London Design Festival starts this week with a programme of over 300 events and exhibitions staged by partner organisations from all around the world. Hubbed at the V& A, the festival showcases the latest in contemporary design - including architecture, interiors, lighting, textiles and fashion - in a range of venues throughout the city.

Here is a taste of what’s green this year:

Out of the Woods – a project investigating the lifecycle of hardwood chairs
14-23 September (all week) // V&A


This collaboration between the Royal College of Art and the American Hardwood Export Council challenges product design students to envision a chair seat in an American hardwood of their choice. The designs will then be developed into working prototypes with the help of Benchmark, known for its high quality craftsmanship and work with Terence Conran.

The exhibition features twelve chairs whose production was carefully monitored with the help of sustainability experts P.E. International. A life cycle impact report has been prepared for each chair. This is a great way to bring sustainability metrics alive for students in a meaningful and immediate way by highlighting the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of design and material choices.

Design for the Real World
21 September - 3 October // RCA


At the RCA, the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design’s annual exhibition devised for this year’s festival is a joint show with SustainRCA to mark the 40th anniversary of the publication of Victor Papanek’s seminal text, Designfor the Real World. The show will present a range of inclusive and human-centred design projects by RCA research associates and design students. Themes focus on aging, diversity, health, working life and the city.

E-side – 100% recycled furniture
14-23 September (all week) // V&A



UK-based online concept store E-side will present an interior furnishings collection at the festival. Featured designers include A4Adesign, Malafor and Graypants and the exhibition highlights issues such as recycled and re-used materials and carbon footprint offsetting. One manufacturer plants a new tree each time one of their wooden products is sold. Watch out for the100% recycled cardboard lightweight bookshelf, perfect for displays or pop-up exhibitions.

Waterhouse Offices – low energy consumption
Public viewing 19 September 10am - 4pm // Shoreditch

waterhouse office

Located in Shoreditch, Waterhouse Offices features low energy comfort cooling and heating, large windows for natural lighting and sensor lighting in communal areas to reduce energy consumption. Furniture has been designed by Richard Shed Studio who has worked with local suppliers and manufacturers using natural materials from sustainable sources.

Wonderwater Café – food’s water footprint
14-23 September (all week) // Leila’s Shop / Shoreditch



The cafe will host a pop-up event exploring the relationship between food and water consumption. To raise awareness about the concept of water footprint, Wonderwater Cafe will serve a responsibly-sourced seasonal menu by Leila McAlister which highlights the importance of considering water consumption when making culinary decisions. Will you choose the Serrano sandwich with a high water footprint or the faro salad with a lower water footprint?

Wonderwater Café is supported by the Arts Council England and was part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 programme.

The Evolutionary Wall
14-23 September (all week) // V&A

evolutionary wall


The Evolutionary Wall at the V&A describes the evolution of eco design since the Great Exhibition of 1851. Designed by Rob Maslin and Megha Wadhawan for Green Car Design, the wall shows that sustainability is nothing new and has in fact been engrained in design over many decades.

2nd Cycle at designjunction
19 - 23 September // The Old Sorting Office / New Oxford Street
During the festival, Artek will highlight the issue of conscious consuming and authentic design through an upcycling project. A Fernandez & Wells-run sale of second-hand vintage furniture pieces combining traditional craftsmanship with modern interventions will be available to purchase through twentytwentyone.

2nd Cycle at designjunction

EcoAge - one stop shop for sustainable living
14-23 September (all week) // 213 Chiswick High Road / W4 2DW
The ECO vision is to create a full-service one-stop-shop in which people can find beauty, design, inspiration, ideas, advice, and apply concrete solutions for green living. It highlights all the seemingly small decisions behind what we buy, how we discard waste, and the steps we need to take to make our homes more energy efficient.


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