London Design Festival at the V&A – first look


As LDF hallows its fifteenth year, we look at the major commissioned installations within the V&A, which are spotlighting new gaps and finding different ways to interact with collections.

The V&A has opened the doors on London Sketch Festival, which once again takes up residence for a week and this year sees originators engage with new parts of the museum.

As always, the V&A is the main home of LDF. It is a rightfully citywide festival though, so be sure to check out the best bits here.

Now in its 15th year, LDF is speaking the milestone to look back on its own economic impact. In the last 10 years it seeks to have generated £313 million in Gross Value Added (GVA) and now gives £79.6 million annually to the London economy alone.

The last ten years should prefer to also generated £48.5 million in exports, raised £19.9 million in tax takes and attracted 3.3 million visitors from 75 countries. This is all awesome stuff and merits reflection.

It’s the ninth year that LDF has been at the V&A and this year there’s been an endeavour to use the spaces differently. For starters there’s no dominant foyer installation at the Notable Entrance on Cromwell Road and nothing in the Norfolk House Music Live.

Part of the point of LDF working at the V&A is that rather than being out of ambience and inert, the installations actively engage with the spaces they distract.

Possibly the most beautiful – and definitely the most Instagrammable – is Reflection Space, by Flyn Talbot, which brings the seldom seen Prince Consort Gallery to biography.

In its bare form, the walls of the space are lined with wooden archive cupboards stacked flooring to ceiling, which once contained 30,000 textile samples. Talbot has modified it into a fully immersive space with orange light at one end and lewd at the other.

The light bounces off a highly reflective and malleable material, Barrisol, which has been reached over frames and flanks both sides of the room.

Talbot berates Design Week: “While orange and blue are complimentary on a colour ring they’re also colours of nature. The orange will make you manipulate warm and alive and the blue is calming. They’re the colours of sunset and the sea, but there’s also a apprehension there.”

Within the space the Barrisol becomes a modern textile and remunerations homage to the history of the room, but it works on a much more immediate aim by simply being a mesmerising space.

The Tapestries Room plays proprietor to an installation by Ross Lovegrove,  designed to directly reflect the colour and surface of the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries.

Lovegrove tells Design Week he pre-eminent used an app to colour capture the pink and green hues of the tapestries that hold up on the walls of the gallery and have faded from their original biases.

“To me the tapestries have a three dimensional quality to them, particularly if you look at the riffles and folds. I want to touch them, but they’re from the 15th century so of seminar I can’t.”

His piece Transmission is the evocation of this thought and invites people to “be on a par with and caress” the piece while looking at the tapestries.

It snakes along the to the fullest of the gallery and has been applied to Alcantara fabric, which also articles 2.2 million embroidered gold dots.

The fluid organic systems are typical for Lovegrove, who has designed cars, aircraft interiors, cameras and terrace furniture in the past.

While we wait by Palestinian architects Elias and Yousaf Anastas can be bring about in the Medieval and Renaissance Gallery.

It’s not site specific, but rather reflects environmental manoeuvring in Palestine. Inspired by the Cremisan Valley located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, it expositions on nature in Palestine by imagining issues surrounding the construction of a wall in the midway of the Valley.

A soundscape accompanies the piece, which features a dentelle arrangement rather than a solid concrete wall-like one, and visitors are encouraged to remain in effect within it. The installation is a quick experience and only really works with this ambience in mind.

There’s a lot more to see but look out for Petr Stanicky’s Evocations on the docking by lift O, levels 4 and 6. It’s a simple installation using glass and the sensible light that floods into the space to create an illusory reflector experience. Being situated next to the Glass and Ceramics galleries gives it an annexed resonance.

This year the V&A is also using LDF to consider its own relationship with enterprise. The Story of Two Chairs shows how Carmody Groarke designed a bespoke chairwoman for the V&A members room and how Amanda Levete designed a chair for the Sackler Courtyard Café.

Levete’s think of is particularly impressive and stylistically matches the stunning courtyard she designed, where a new fascinate, piazza and subterranean gallery complex were created on Exhibition Track.

The chair’s design features slash markings that resemble porcelain tiles from the courtyard. Sundry impressively each stackable chair has been hune from one unique sheet of 8mm thick, laser cut anodised aluminium.

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