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'Secret' spaces revealed at London Design Festival
Aug 13, 2012

Visitors will be able to experience two spectacular site-specific installations – Veuve Clicquot Prism and The Journey of a Drop – both commissioned projects which will appear in hidden parts of the London Design Festival (LDF) at the V&A, the museum of art and design. During the ten day festival Sept. 14-23, the V&A will host events, installations, and talks surrounding innovative and inspirational design.
'Secret' spaces revealed at London Design Festival
As soon as the visitors enters the Grand Entrance of the V&A, they can look upwards to view part of one the Festival’s most exciting installations. Designer Keiichi Matsuda has been commissioned by LDF and Veuve Clicquot, the Champagne brand with a long heritage in design and innovation, to create Veuve Clicquot Prism, an installation that presents a very different view of London. Matsuda is interested in the dissolving boundaries between virtual and physical, and works with video, architecture and interactive media to propose new perspectives on the city. Veuve Clicquot Prism presents an alternative view of London, using the unseen data flows in the capital such as transport updates and surveillance cameras, which are then interpreted visually. It will appear as a giant suspended iceberg set into the V&A’s uppermost cupola, an area normally closed to visitors. The sculpture will be lit up like a lantern, displaying visualisations of live data over the skin of the installation. Due to the space restrictions of the cupola, visitors can pre-book specific time slots to view the installation up close.
Conceptual designer Rolf Sachs has responded to the grandeur of the V&A’s Henry Cole Wing Grand Staircase with an evocative installation that fully exploits its soaring height. It also opens the space to the public for the first time.
'Secret' spaces revealed at London Design Festival
There is purity to the concept of this installation; individual drops of three primary-coloured inks are released from the great height of the staircase in measured intervals. Spectators are able to watch the drops of ink land with precision into a vast glass tank of illuminated liquid, exploding into organic colour clouds; each one different and mesmerising in form. Upon arrival visitors are welcomed by choreographed soundscapes of droplets hitting the liquid; the sound amplifying through the space. “As the drops commence their journey, there will be a sense of anticipation, followed by a visual spectacle,” states Sachs. “Each drop within the sequence creates a unique and magical colour explosion, mysteriously disappearing moments later.’’
Mimicry Chairs, a series of elegant chair installations appearing in locations throughout the Museum, has been designed by Nendo – a Japanese studio that has emerged as one of the most dynamic design groups of the last decade. The studio has created a simple chair archetype made from pressed and punched metal painted white, giving it an almost ghost-like appearance that will contrast to the decorative Museum surroundings.
'Secret' spaces revealed at London Design Festival
As visitors journey through the Museum, the chairs appear in galleries, staircases and corridors in modified forms, mimicking the particular space they inhabit and surrounding objects. Visitors are invited to sit on these playful chair installations and observe the Museum collections from new perspective.
LDF is collaborating with Philips, a global leader in lighting, and designer Dominic Harris with his team at Cinimod Studio to create a temporary LED lighting installation in the underground tunnel entrance to the Museum. It marks the first time that the LDF has installed a dedicated lighting project.
'Secret' spaces revealed at London Design Festival
The installation is controlled by visitors' movement through the space. As a person enters the installation, they are illuminated by a white band of light that tracks them as they move through the tunnel. As one person passes, the white light jumps to the next arrival. Either side of the white light are two different color fields which vary in hue and saturation.


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