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London Design Festival: six architectural highlights

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The London Design Festival opens this weekend. Jon Astbury shares his top tips on what to see

The annual celebration of London’s design industries, now in its 15th year, begins this weekend, filling the capital with more than 450 projects and events. As well as the larger fairs taking place at this year’s design destinations – 100% Design at Kensington Olympia, Decorex International at Syon Park, Designjunction at King’s Cross, Focus/16 at Chelsea Harbour and the London Design Fair at Truman Brewery – installations and pavilions will be popping up in and around museums. Here we select the top exhibits by architectural firms or exploring areas of architectural design.

Gateways by Adam Nathaniel Furman

Granary Square, King’s Cross, 21-24 September

Designjunction, the exhibition for contemporary interior design and culture, held in Granary Square at King’s Cross during LDF, has for the first time collaborated with Turkishceramics to present a ceramic installation in the central fountain space. Its designer, Adam Nathaniel Furman, known for his bright ceramics and impassioned defence of Postmodernism, presents ‘Gateways’, a series of colourful tiled gates that invite visitors to take a journey through the rich history of ceramics in Turkey. The four gates are 4m high, each encompassing a different design story including: The Classic Gate, The Timber Gate, The Retro Gate and The Metro Gate.

2017 july designjunction features installations press release final

2017 july designjunction features installations press release final

Urban Cabin by Mini Living and Sam Jacob Studio

Oxo Tower Wharf Courtyard, 16-24 September

MINI Living is a long-term research project by MINI, exploring the future of urban habitats based on creative use of space. This year, working with Sam Jacob Studio, the team has designed a microhouse, Urban Cabin, as a research space for relevant urban needs and local identities in London. The cabin consists of a clever module reflecting its environment and featuring distinct London characteristics. Unique features include a shared kitchen and a micro-library where visitors can share and swap literature that focuses on the history of living in London, including classics by Dickens, Keats and Shakespeare as well as design bestsellers.

Ldf urban cabin by mini living with sam jacob studio 005

Ldf urban cabin by mini living with sam jacob studio 005

Ldf urban cabin by mini living with sam jacob studio 003

Ldf urban cabin by mini living with sam jacob studio 003

On Repeat by Universal Design Studio and The Office Group

Black & White, Shoreditch, 16-24 September

Universal Design Studio and The Office Group (TOG) have teamed up to create a pavilion of repetition in a space between two buildings in Rivington Street. From the architecture through to a programme of events and activities, the pavilion intends to explore the power of frequency and give visitors the opportunity to get into a ’free-flowing mindset’. Each day visitors will be invited to participate in the making of repeat elements for a collaborative installation that will, over time, fill the ceiling of the pavilion. A programme of talks with a variety of guests will investigate how repetition works on our brains, bodies and lives.

Villa Walala by Camille Walala

Exchange Square, Broadgate, 16-24 September

Textile designer Camille Walala has created a huge inflatable sculpture, Villa Walala, in Exchange Square, Broadgate, adjacent to Liverpool Street station. ‘I want to introduce a sense of the unexpected,’ she says. ‘I think that to turn a corner into Broadgate and find a huge, bouncy, pink and patterned house will be hugely entertaining. And people are, of course, invited to come in and play.’ Her inflatable castle, with its primary colours and dazzle-ship patterns, resembles a stack of outsized building blocks crossed with Masanori Umeda’s boxing ring seating for Memphis, with its black and white border and padded posts. Walala imagined her installation being somewhere where city workers coming to eat and have a coffee during their lunch breaks could relax and have fun.

Ldf villa walala by camille walala 005

Ldf villa walala by camille walala 005

Reflection Room by Flynn Talbot

Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, 16-24 September

Reflection Room is an immersive coloured light experience, which will be the first London Design Festival installation to be housed in the Prince Consort Gallery at the V&A. The space is lit by Flynn Talbot’s signature complementary blue and orange light, and uses large black reflective Barrisol panels to add depth. The 35m-long space is lit at each end to highlight and define the dramatic length and architectural ceiling structure. The resulting effect offers visitors a fragmented view of colour, reflection, space and light. Reflection Room uses 56 custom-made stretch membrane Barrisol panels in gloss black, manufactured at Barrisol in France and delivered to the V&A for installation. Woven within the panels, various custom linear LED strips create fragmented light sources at each end of the space. Following the festival, the panels will be returned to Barrisol and recycled for future use.

Ldf top 50 highlights sept 2017[1] print 4

Ldf top 50 highlights sept 2017[1] print 4

Set in Stone at the Design Museum

The Design Museum, South Kensington, 16-24 September

The Design Museum, which opened the doors of its new home in Kensington last November, presents a new project during this year’s festival. Set in Stone includes a selection of works by eight designers invited to explore the potential of marble and limestone. These works, displayed in various locations both inside and outside the museum, include objects intended for public use, such as seating by Eduardo Souto de Moura; a slide by Elemental; graphic pieces by Sagmeister & Walsh; and a series of domestic objects by Michael Anastassiades and Jasper Morrison. The project is an investigation of the qualities of stone, and the technical means through which it is cut and shaped.

Resistance athingnotanobject elemental  ®joana morais at design museum set in stone

Resistance athingnotanobject elemental ®joana morais at design museum set in stone

Source: Joana Morais

A Thing not an Object by Elemental

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