top picks at london design festival 2011

Wallpaper* & Bernhadt Design's launch party at St Pancras Hotel

Here are our top 10 picks (in no particular order) for London Design Festival this year, with a bit of art power! -

1. AL_A's Timberwave at the V&A - Amanda Levete's comeback masterpiece after her split with former partner in Future Systems

2. David Chipperfield's Size+Matter at the Royal Festival Hall - the minimalist master's attempt to unite technology and simplicity

3. Designjunction at Victoria House Basement - 30 furniture & lighting brands in 1 location, events on top of showcases

4. Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby at Haunch of Venison - the duo's first solo show with the gallery

5. Faye Toogood at Phillips de Pury - new and old furniture collection by the magazine editor turned stylist and designer

6. Cristian Zuzunaga at EB&Flow - brilliant photographic works by the spanish artist/designer

7. Formosa Show at Candid Arts - taiwanese art & design at your door step, London!

8. John Pawson's Perspective at St Paul's Cathedral - see how the master can attract eyeballs by doing nothing

9. Superbrands at Tent London - it's worth to go all the way to the east with all these big names

10.  De la Espada at Tramshed - suffocatingly beautiful timber furniture by the Spanish brand 

Top picks for London Design Festival 2010

London Design Festival 2010

In a week's time, the annual Design Festival would transform London into a mega design fair with over 200 events happening across the city. Believing in the power of creativity and the artistic value in good design, we have hand-picked 20 favourites (in order from the official print programme) below:

1. The Sphelix Installation by Johnny Hawkes in Covent Garden

"Standing nearly 3 metres high a white half Sphelix is situated next to the new Apple Store. The sculpture number 5 of an edition of 10 is made in GRP. The Sphelix® is a new global shape, the joining of a sphere and a helix, it spins ying yang, DNA and the life force, the joining of communities. Johnny Hawkes has been invited to show his work in many international & national exhibitions. An outsider artist, dropping out of art school, he started his studio in London in 1976 and is the creative and commercial force behind PW Ltd."

2. The AppLounge by Alexander Grünsteidl in 100 Wardour Street

The Applounge Logo

"The Applounge is a collaboration between Digital Wellbeing Labs, Method, and SpotSpotOn. It features a curated selection of well crafted mobile applications and services, sourced from creative agencies around the world, matched with accessories, and  fashion items to fit with different occasions and individual lifestyle requirements. Coffee is served during the day and cocktails at night. Alexander set up Digital Wellbeing Labs together with his partner Priya Prakash in 2005, to bridge the last mile between the producers and consumers of digital products and services."

3. ÖÖ: Was it a Dream? by Keskula in 94 Berwick Street

"ÖÖ, or 'night' in Estonian, is a pop-up gallery + concept store showcasing work by young avant-garde creatives from six Nordic countries - Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It is a collaborative project by a community of fashion and product designers, photographers, film makers, artists and illustrators, whose work introduces dark and surreal aspects of Nordic aesthetics.The project is accompanied by event programme featuring musicians, DJs, film screenings and art performances. KESKULA is set up to connect new creative minds from the six countries. The long-term vision for KESKULA network is to set up a foundation to support young designers from Nordic countries and launch creative residencies in London and New York."

4. Outrace - the official festival installation in Trafalgar Square by Clemens Weisshaar & Reed Kram

"This year's spectacular Trafalgar Square installation allows the general public to take control of eight industrial robots on loan from Audi's production line. Visitors to the square, alongside the entire global web audience, will be able to book a slot to interact with the installation via the specially built website."

5. The Smalls Short Film Fest 2010 in 125 Charing Cross Road

"The Smalls launched in September 2006 in association with The London Design Festival and Creative Review. The showcase celebrated “Small Films for Small Screens”, through a display of short films made for the web, iPods and mobile phones.The interest in The Smalls, from industry and contributors, led to the launch of, an online showcase for the creative community, at the end of 2006. Since then there's been collaboration with a number of broadcast and media partners on other competitions, as well as having launched a monthly short film screening in New York called The Can."

6. Anti Design Festival initiated by Neville Brody 28 Redchurch Street

"The Anti Design Festival will attempt to unlock creative fires and ideas, exploring spaces hitherto deemed out-of-bounds by a purely commercial criteria. Created initially as a direct response to the pretty commerciality of the London Design Festival, the festival will shift the focus from bums-on-seats to brain food, and from taste and style to experiment and risk. At multiple venues around Redchurch Street, the festival will incorporate exhibitions, installations, workshops, performances and talks in Art, Design, Product, Film, Sound, Fashion, Performance, Print and Interactive. Directed by Neville Brody, the world-renowned graphic designer, the festival will be curated by a select group of leading practitioners in various fields. These curators include Daniel Charny, Terry Jones, James Payne, Harry Malt, Stuart Semple and Brody himself. To date, contributors include Stefan Sagmeister, Jonathan Barnbrook, Yugo Nakamura, Yomi Ayeni and Mark Moore, as well as an open-submission route."

7. Emerge - the original graphic design graduate showcase curated by Dominic Lippa in multiple venues across east london

"This year you may well stumble across emerge without even realising. We'll be displaying special commissioned posters designed by a handpicked selection of 2010's graphic design graduates (chosen by Dominic Lippa) in underground stations around East London. To see the whole collection in one place, head along to The Cube London where the prints are available on sale. Besides there is an afternoon of information and advice in 'Bridge' for emergeing graduates on subjects such as setting yourself up as a freelancer, tax, IP and many more issues that may arise for recent graduates."

"Gastrotypographicalassemblage: The Designs of Lou Dorfsman presents the design history of one of the United States' most revered designers. In his forty years spent at the CBS television network, Dorfsman was responsible for every aspect of the advertising and corporate identity. Kemistry Gallery present a life's dedication to design excellence. Appealing to those with an interest in graphic design, advertising and broadcasting, the exhibition also serves to document the identity of the CBS network."

9. Kei Ito's special lighting by Museumaker at the Geffrye Museum

"The commission forms a centre-piece for the front gardens of the Museum, which are being refurbished in 2010. Kei Ito is designing an installation of lighting on either side of the main path. This will be extraordinary and beautiful: an ethereal parade of chairs and lamps, reflecting the Museum’s themes and inspired by the global cultural influences that have shaped English furniture, ornaments and textiles. Larger than life, they will be made from woven fibre optics and, from dusk, their glow will create a sense of ghostly magic on Autumn and Winter afternoons."

"Following on from last year’s success, Norwegian Prototypes returns with 14 Norwegian designers. This year the participants have all been asked to reflect on the size 55 x 40 x 23, a standard hand luggage size when travelling with budget airlines. The exhibition will present different solutions and approaches to this set format. Expect to see innovative approaches and a wide range of products all of which are easily transportable. As a self-initiated exhibition with little funding set up by the two designers, the team works around the limitations of a small budget and the help of all the participants. With the chosen theme it is able to transport the products at a minimum cost from Norway. This also reflects on current topics and issues such as ‘shipping air’, carbon footprint, packaging and the mare price of transport."

11. TENT London in Truman Brewery

"Now in its forth year in the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, Tent London showcases over 200 designers, manufacturers, design collectives and companies from more than 10 countries; presenting the cutting-edge contemporary interiors products and digital installations."

12. The Tramshed initiated by Luis de Oliveira of De la Espada at 32 Rivington Street

"The Tramshed, set to be the premier destination at this year’s London Design Festival, will feature 25 exclusive international design brands at this bold new venue. Initiated by De La Espada’s founding director Luis de Oliveira, and delivered by respected design-event experts Deborah Spencer and Alice Breed, this striking post-industrial venue will showcase the very best in high-end authentic design. 'The Tramshed Live’, curated by design writer and seminar/conference producer Aidan Walker, will run a series of thought-provoking design debates."

13. Skyroom at the Architecture Foundation

"Skyroom is a new rooftop venue for London. Sitting above the Architecture Foundation on Tooley Street, the installation provides a range of spaces for performances, meetings and relaxation. A central courtyard open to the sky frames the towers standing over London Bridge while a balcony cantilevered over the street offers breathtaking views of the Thames and the Tower of London beyond."

14. "Plain Place - John Pawson" in Design Museum

"Plain Space celebrates Pawson’s career from the early 1980s to date and includes a selection of landmark commissions including the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the new Cistercian Monastery of Our Lady of Novy Dvur in the Czech Republic and Calvin Klein’s iconic flagship store in New York, as well as current and future projects."

15. DROP by Paul Cocksedge at Southbank

"Cocksedge conceived ‘DROP’ as an outsize coin ‘which has fallen to Earth from a giant's palm’. Lightly buckled upon landing improbably upright. The giant coin is magnetic, encouraging passers-by to participate by affixing their spare pennies. At the end of the installation the public contributions will be counted and Barnardo’s corporate partners will turn every penny into one pound."

16. 'Framed' by Stuart Haygarth at the V&A Museum

"‘Framed’ uses off-cut pieces of picture-frame to bring this significant piece of the museum’s architecture to life, and to create a dramatic landscape through which visitors can walk. Creating magical and evocative stories through objects and architectural features is central to Haygarth’s work, and this installation is no exception."

17. 'Kinetic Light' by Michael Anastassiades at the V&A Museum

"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, and the interplay between elegance and hospitality was a delicate balance."

18. 100% Design in Earl's Court Exhibition Centre

"100% Design London features world-class interiors show 100% Design, innovative and sustainable architectural products event 100% Detail, cutting-edge materials exhibition 100% Materials and emerging talent showcase 100% Futures. Meet over 350 hand-picked exhibitors selected for their creativity and originality. From furniture to futuristic materials, emerging talent to building products, 100% Design London offers unrivalled bright ideas and visionary solutions for designers, architects, specifiers and buyers."

"This is the first UK solo show of the Japanese design studio Nendo. This two part exhibition features a new series of works that will be on view at the Saatchi Gallery. At the same time, an installation of archival works will be exhibited at Phillips de Pury, Howick Place."

20. Re: Public by University of the Arts London at Chelsea Futurespace

"This exhibition explores the increasing sophistication of public art, and the willingness of gallery artists to work with architects and engineers on permanent public projects. What effect does the move out of the artist's comfort zone, access to new materials and technologies, technical constraints, the change of scale ad the need to adapt and compromise have on both the artist, client and architect? What happens when an artist is commissioned to make a public work away from the privacy of the studio or the relative safe haven of a gallery; how does it affect the creative process and how does it affect the artist’s future work?"


Further Readings -
Official blog
Talking the Tramshed - interview with Luis de Oliverira
Interivew with Paul Cocksedge on his DROP installation

art march in london - part 1

Ai wei wei's latest solo show: 4 movements was held at phillips de pury gallery. His influence on contemporary art is comparable to Damien Hirst. Being the person who introduced architects Herzog & de Meuron to bid the Beijing Olympic Stadium, he is the media icon of contemporary chinese art at the moment.

ai wei wei at phillips de pury . 01
gallery reception

ai wei wei at phillips de pury . 06
ai's signature re-interpretation on antique furniture

ai wei wei at phillips de pury . 05

ai wei wei at phillips de pury . 04
ai wei wei in conversation with wallpaper* staff

ai wei wei at phillips de pury . 02

ai wei wei at phillips de pury . 07
ai's signature re-interpretation on antique furniture

Further reading -
architecture critic geoff manaugh writes on ai weiwei at his BLDGBLOG - 
ai's official website - 
wikipedia entry - 

a book about ai wei wei - Ai Weiwei (contemporary artists)