London Design Festival is back and greatly appreciated after what has happened in the past 18 months, it feels good to be experiencing design and art in person again! The festival incorporates a wide range of exhibitions, installations and talks dotted in and around galleries, museums, shops and buildings within the London districts, and runs from the 18th to the 26th of September.
Our junior designer, Sabrina, took a trip to the capital over the weekend for the debut day of the festival, below are some of her highlights.
Communities from the Newham area in London took part this brick making workshop that ran from May 2021 in an area in the Royal Docks, and brought together individuals to create bricks from industrial waste materials in a hope of connecting people to the land they stand on, the people they live around and the places that they reside. They were also joined by artists and performers from the students at the University of East London who presented performances around the themes of dwelling, living and claiming the earth.
Some of the hand-made bricks are on show at The V&A along with artistic responses from Brickfield supporting artists Bobi MacFadzean and Zenna Tagney.
This installation is a collaborative piece created by a selection of youth groups in East London. The pieces are created using upcycled materials from The V&A and explore ideas around how museums and galleries can become essential spaces for local youth groups. The installation consists a formation of scaffolding housing a number of boards; which students have scribbled thoughts, ideas and mind-maps on, expanding on their creative ideas for The V&A (and other galleries) and includes a number of fashion pieces draped over the scaffolding which brings the splash of visual creativity alongside the written thought creativity.
Portal Tables is a recent project created in the wake of the pandemic which explores the relationship that we as individuals have with the environments around us, most importantly the furniture in which we spend the most time in – especially in the past 18 months. Exhibited at The V&A alongside a documentary film is a piece called Sofa-bread which explores the relationship between the places we sit to enjoy our food, where we make our food, and what our food is made from.
This was by far a personal favourite exhibition for me, being an animator and activist myself it was one I was instantly drawn to. Save Ralph is an animated puppet short-film created by Andy Gent, alongside many big names as voice actors, for The Humane Society International with a tale of heartbreak and harsh truth. The short follows the daily routine of a rabbit whose job is a cosmetic tester, with ounces of comedic flair dotted in it is an enjoyable watch, but you are always reminded of the intended messaging – these animals do not deserve this.
The grand overarching messaging I got from the debut day of London Design Festival was the very reason I got into design, that design can be a driving force for change. Every single thing that you see, interact with and experience throughout your daily life has been designed by someone – whether intentional or not. Design can make a difference, and designers across the world are starting to use their discipline to do so.