For the second year, the London Design Festival will take up residence at the V&A, London's museum for art and design, which will feature a collection of specially commissioned design installations, displays and events from September 18-26.
This year’s program includes installations by Max Lamb, Stuart Haygarth, Paul Cocksedge and Oskar Zieta that draw on the building's history and architecture. Lamb will create a plaster cast, inspired by the V&A's Cast Court collection while Haygarth will reuse discarded picture frames to adorn a historic staircase. Cocksedge will be exhibiting three hundred curvaceous ‘pages’ of Corian which will then be given away as part of the V&A’s Friday Late Program, while Polish designer Zieta will take a starting point from the curves of the pool in the V&A's John Madjeski Garden to create a work using his FiDU technique that inflates steel structures. The Sackler Centre, with spaces curated by designer Suzanne Trocmé, will once again host an extensive program of seminars, talks and special events, as well as a business and VIP space in the shape of the British Design Embassy.
Highlights of the V&A displays include:
Framed: Stuart Haygarth. Artist and designer Stuart Haygarth has earned himself a reputation for ‘upcycling’ – finding beauty in everyday discarded items and using them to create something handsome and desirable. Working with leading framing company John Jones, he plans to create a striking installation on the grand marble staircase leading to the V&A’s Architecture galleries. With ‘Framed’, Haygarth uses off-cut pieces of picture-frame that cascade down the stairs, bringing this significant piece of the museum’s architecture to life, and creating a dramatic landscape through which visitors can walk. This installation is sponsored by John Jones.
Blow and Roll: Oscar Zieta. Polish designer Oskar Zieta is creating a dramatic installation to be mounted in the V&A's garden using a revolutionary technique developed by Zieta's company Prozessdesign which uses compressed air to inflate steel. Zieta, a graduate of Eindhoven Design School, is best known for his Plopp stool, created for the Danish furniture brand Hay, using the FiDU technique. First, two sheets of metal are welded together, sealing the edges; then first water, then air is pumped into the gap between them to force the robot-produced shape into a unique, custom and perfectly shaped 3d object. His large-scale installation will reflect the shape of the stairs leading to the garden's pool, using steel polished to a high gloss.
HSBC Connection Collection: Max Lamb. British designer Max Lamb won the competition to carry out the commission. Taking the V&A Cast Courts as his inspiration, Lamb designed a piece based on a cast of part of the façade of the HSBC Private Bank HQ at 78 St James Street – a building designed in 1840 by British architect Sydney Smirke, now listed by English Heritage for its historical, architectural and decorative significance. The piece was made using the traditional plaster casting technique, resulting in a plaster monolith from which Lamb used stonemasonry techniques to remove material; the final work is a bench designed for public use both at the V&A and within HBSC’s HQ.
Contemporary Silver at the V&A. This will be a rare opportunity to see silver pieces from the Silver Trust's Downing Street collection, regularly used at state functions, alongside selected works by members of the Contemporary British Silversmiths. This exhibition showcases some of the finest pieces in contemporary silver which capture the artistry, variety and skill of current silversmithing practice.
26 Treasures. Objects from history can tell a story. They’ve lived, travelled, been held in a thousand hands, loved by families and revered by royalty. For this year’s Festival, the writers’ organisation 26 is giving voices to 26 objects from the V&A’s British Galleries ranging from the Great Bed of Ware to a Locket Containing a Caul. 26 writers from around the UK have been asked to reflect personally on an object they’ve been randomly paired with, and then to respond with 62 words imagined and crafted by each writer. Writers include the poets Andrew Motion and Maura Dooley. A ’26 Treasures’ map accompanies the display, available at the entrance to the gallery.
Designer Maps: Michael Johnson. The first year of the London Design Festival and V&A collaboration in 2009 saw a strong appetite for special design tours; this year a special program of ‘designer maps’, created by graphic designer Michael Johnson of Johnson Banks, will continue this trend. Celebrated figures from the worlds of art, design, literature and performance including Florence Welch, Sir Paul Smith, Annie Lennox, Cameron Mackintosh, Jacqueline Wilson and Stephen Jones, have been asked to choose their favourite objects, galleries and aspects of the museum. Each map will illustrate the celebrity’s choices, allowing others to follow in their footsteps at the V&A.
A Gust of Wind: Paul Cocksedge. The V&A are delighted to be hosting a very special one day only installation by Paul Cocksedge which will be exhibited as part of the V&A’s Friday Late Program on 24th September. A Gust of Wind comprises three hundred limited edition curved pieces of Corian, each handmade and engraved by Cocksedge. These pieces, or ‘pages’, will represent a stack of paper which has been blown into the air by a gust of wind, but each Corian piece has also been designed as a functional paper tray which visitors will be able to take away for free at the end of the evening.
The 11th Tapestry: A KikiT VisuoSonic Display and Performance. ‘The 11th Tapestry’, by the KikiT VisuoSonic group, is an interactive tapestry that will be projected onto a screen alongside the V&A’s Devonshire Hunting Tapestries. Using sound and motion capture technologies, the ‘tapestry’ will respond to the sound and movement of visitors in the gallery, causing it to constantly change throughout the Festival.
Michael Anastassiades Kinetic Light. Michael Anastassiades has designed a pendulum light for the Norfolk House Music Room at the V&A. Like a silent inverted metronome, the hanging arm of this bespoke installation holds a glass light ball which describes a perpetual rhythm. The mesmeric trajectory evokes a distant age when music sought to recreate the harmony of the spheres, a fitting installation within the context of the Music Room.
I Cling to Virtue : Onkar Kular and Noam Toran. The V&A has commissioned designers Onkar Kular and Noam Toran to create a site-specific installation. Launching as part of the London Design Festival, the installation will be positioned in Room 4, a gallery dedicated to the display of European decorative arts 1600-1800. Kular and Toran’s work spans different mediums from film to installations to conceptual product design engaging with social, cultural and popular issues. ‘I Cling to Virtue’ presents a collection of objects, artifacts, photographs and films that document the rise and fall of the fictional Lövy family. By layering anecdotes from the artists' own genealogies with those of illustrious families both real and fictional, a multi-dimensional portrait of twentieth century family life is represented through objects and media produced using a disparate range of techniques, from digital prototyping to painting, photography to audio narration.
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