Highlights from London Design Festival 2017

Transmission by London designer Ross Lovegrove

The London Design Festival celebrated its 15th birthday this September as the city came alive with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shows all over this vibrant metropolis. The festival has grown to include Design Frontiers at Somerset House, two Landmark projects around the city, as well as a number of ‘sub-brands’ – most notably Design Junction at King’s Cross and a whole host of pop-ups from Brixton to Clerkenwell and around the city. This is a bigger and bolder festival, and certainly more exclusive and international in voice, with some 350,000 visitors visiting London to experience the city’s incredible creative energy.

At the main V&A hub – where exhibitors respond to a given room and collection – themes vary from sustainability and ageing to materiality. Leaf, for instance, is a bionic chandelier by Julian Melchiorri that explores how biological micro-organisms and materials can convert waste and pollution into valuable resources. Then Scooter for Life by transport designer Paul Priestman addresses ageing and mobility. While Czech glassmaker Petr Stanicky works with the possibilities of materials with two installations – a mesmerising site-specific work offering pixelated views of the surrounding buildings, and a geometric thick glass structure that plays with our sense of perspective.

Urban Cabin by Sam Jacob or MINI Living
As part of the Landmarks projects, architect Sam Jacob presents Urban Cabin for the Mini Living research initiative to see how intelligent design can help city life. Sitting on the Southbank between buildings, it explores the concept of a private home, how we can challenge the existing model to be relevant for future urban inhabitants living in crowded cities where residential property is limited and expensive. He proposes a mixed private and shared space with an open kitchen to evoke the feeling of street food and markets and a micro-library that is a cross between the grand library and the pile of books by our bedside. 

Elsewhere at Design Junction, working with Italian drinks company Campari, Spinach Branding revealed Campari Creates – a fun and stylish floating bar on the canal at Granary Square, King’s Cross with classic Campari cocktails on tap, and the latest book La Vita Campari brand book on exhibit. This lifestyle publication, also created by Spinach, is a hybrid of arts and ideas, design history, liquid history and cocktail book.

Campari Creates by Spinach at Design Junction ©Ruth Ward

The creative industries are worth close to £90bn a year to the economy, offering some three million jobs here. It is a ‘serious, big, wealth-earning and reputation-enhancing’ sector, Sir John Sorrell, founder of LDF, told the Financial Times during the festival. London does have an edge over its European competitors for it is home to leading art and design schools, and a great number of creative companies like Spinach are based here. Crucially, London’s multicultural makeup and the freedom it allows for self-expression, encourage a constant flow of influences from other worlds and cultures, bringing their collective and individual experiences from far beyond the city walls.

Images: Transmission by Ross Lovegrove in the Tapestries room V&A; Urban Cabin by Sam Jacob or MINI Living; Campari Creates; Flynn Talbot Reflection Room V&A.

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

Flynn Talbot Reflection Room
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