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London Design Festival: Day One

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Over eight short years The London Design Festival has grown from a minor design-world offshoot to one of the few must-attend events. With all of the UK's homespun talent—from Tom Dixon to the most recent RCA grads—the festival takes advantage of all its hometown has to offer, and it's a pleasure to attend a show that isn't just hyping the latest wares from the established oligarchy. Here's a smattering of images from the first 24 hours in London. Check back for more in the days to come!

 

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  First things first. Upon arrival, I called my friend Adrian Rubi-Dentzel, who was visiting from Paris and showing a piece in the PROJECTORY show at the Saatchi Gallery, and we met up for a proper English breakfast. The meal was so good I forgot to take a picture before it was finished.
    First things first. Upon arrival, I called my friend Adrian Rubi-Dentzel, who was visiting from Paris and showing a piece in the PROJECTORY show at the Saatchi Gallery, and we met up for a proper English breakfast. The meal was so good I forgot to take a picture before it was finished.
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  The Hackney City Farm Cafe is adjacent to their rather proper farm—chickens, goats, sheep, and all—which is somewhat surprising to be found in the heart of East London. 
    The Hackney City Farm Cafe is adjacent to their rather proper farm—chickens, goats, sheep, and all—which is somewhat surprising to be found in the heart of East London. 
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  Next up, I booked it over to the Haymarket Hotel to meet up with Monica Förster to discuss her latest work for Bernhart—a "Scandinavian" style chair for public spaces called Vika, which came out of over a year of design and research. As Monica explained, the curves of the seat, and the way in which the molded pieces fit together, was influenced by water flowing through streams. She confessed to be neither talented with pen or computer, but as a former graphic designer she feels most comfortable with paper. Rather interestingly, she works with mixed-media models until the work arrives at a suitable point.
    Next up, I booked it over to the Haymarket Hotel to meet up with Monica Förster to discuss her latest work for Bernhart—a "Scandinavian" style chair for public spaces called Vika, which came out of over a year of design and research. As Monica explained, the curves of the seat, and the way in which the molded pieces fit together, was influenced by water flowing through streams. She confessed to be neither talented with pen or computer, but as a former graphic designer she feels most comfortable with paper. Rather interestingly, she works with mixed-media models until the work arrives at a suitable point.
  • 
  In the early evening it was time to go see Nendo's archival show at the Philips de Pury headquarters, Blurry White Surfaces. Although the work has been around for some time, it was exciting to see it gathered in one place. 
    In the early evening it was time to go see Nendo's archival show at the Philips de Pury headquarters, Blurry White Surfaces. Although the work has been around for some time, it was exciting to see it gathered in one place. 
  • 
  London Design impresario Tom Dixon, largely known for the work under his eponymous label, opened his very first shop in a disused space known as the Portobello Dock. Offering a wide selection of his own wares, and those from a highly curated selection of retailers, The Dock's opening night party was a well attended to-do. Photo courtesy Notcot.com.
    London Design impresario Tom Dixon, largely known for the work under his eponymous label, opened his very first shop in a disused space known as the Portobello Dock. Offering a wide selection of his own wares, and those from a highly curated selection of retailers, The Dock's opening night party was a well attended to-do. Photo courtesy Notcot.com.
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  The venerable Victoria & Albert museum is something of a hub for the wide-ranging festival, and the definite highlight of the installations on display in the museum is to be found in the basement level. I Cling To Virtue by Onkar Kular and Noam Toran is a moving portrait of one man's—Monarch Lövy Singh—family memories, as espoused through short anecdotes and corresponding recreations of pertinent ephemera, such as this reel-to-reel tape machine. Discussing the work barely does it justice, but in short, but Kular and Toran are masters of narrative, and have created an engrossing, novelistic and novel tour-de-force. 
    The venerable Victoria & Albert museum is something of a hub for the wide-ranging festival, and the definite highlight of the installations on display in the museum is to be found in the basement level. I Cling To Virtue by Onkar Kular and Noam Toran is a moving portrait of one man's—Monarch Lövy Singh—family memories, as espoused through short anecdotes and corresponding recreations of pertinent ephemera, such as this reel-to-reel tape machine. Discussing the work barely does it justice, but in short, but Kular and Toran are masters of narrative, and have created an engrossing, novelistic and novel tour-de-force. 
  • 
  Stuart Haygarth is well known for his masterful repurposing of detritus, and for his installation at the V&A has transformed a banal staircase into an explosion of color using over 600 meters of cut-off pieces from picture frames supplied by bespoke framer John Jones.
    Stuart Haygarth is well known for his masterful repurposing of detritus, and for his installation at the V&A has transformed a banal staircase into an explosion of color using over 600 meters of cut-off pieces from picture frames supplied by bespoke framer John Jones.
  • 
  A few blocks up on Yeoman's Row, a crew of young designers collaborated on the show Objects With A Void. Prisms, by Max Lamb, was something of a Russian doll-meets-trivet. Stacked upon each other, the various prismatic shapes make a perfect square. Lamb sees prisms as objects void of function—but that can be used for an assortment of tasks, from paperweight to pattern maker.
    A few blocks up on Yeoman's Row, a crew of young designers collaborated on the show Objects With A Void. Prisms, by Max Lamb, was something of a Russian doll-meets-trivet. Stacked upon each other, the various prismatic shapes make a perfect square. Lamb sees prisms as objects void of function—but that can be used for an assortment of tasks, from paperweight to pattern maker.
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  Just south of the V&A on Brompton Road, New York designer Harry Allen showed off his latest wares for Italian newcomer Skitsch. Entitled Home, the endlessly configurable modular shelving units let you play house with your belongings. 
    Just south of the V&A on Brompton Road, New York designer Harry Allen showed off his latest wares for Italian newcomer Skitsch. Entitled Home, the endlessly configurable modular shelving units let you play house with your belongings. 
  • 
  Just downstairs at a show of young designers' work entitled Arrival (at least that is the best I could make out from the "graphically designed" poster), I was charmed by this Colorforms-esque desk set by recent RCA-grad David Weatherhead that is available fromGood-D.
    Just downstairs at a show of young designers' work entitled Arrival (at least that is the best I could make out from the "graphically designed" poster), I was charmed by this Colorforms-esque desk set by recent RCA-grad David Weatherhead that is available fromGood-D.
  • 
  This site-specific installation by another RCA grad, Bas Kools, asks us to consider our idea of what utopia means in a world rocked by financial crises, natural disasters, political dissatisfaction, and dwindling resources. By soliciting views from participants, Kools hopes to create a database and map of potential modern-day utopias.
    This site-specific installation by another RCA grad, Bas Kools, asks us to consider our idea of what utopia means in a world rocked by financial crises, natural disasters, political dissatisfaction, and dwindling resources. By soliciting views from participants, Kools hopes to create a database and map of potential modern-day utopias.

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