Wednesday, 20 September 2017

London Design Festival at the V&A 2017

The London Design Festival is currently well under way, and I visited the V&A Museum which is the hub of the festival, and usually features some interesting installations. They seemed to fall a little flat this year though for whatever reason, and although I did like one offering in particular at the V&A, there was little there that had the 'wow factor'.

My first encounter was Reflection Room, by Flynn Talbot, which I was searching for so hard, and then just happened to stumble across by accident by going through some dark curtains. It was basically a set of coloured strip lights at either end of a corridor that added atmospheric colour, and reflection but little else. The most interesting thing about the space was the vaulted ceiling which was already a feature of the museum space anyway.

My favourite design installation at the V&A was While We Wait, by Elias and Yousef Anastas. I loved both the scale and sculptural qualities of  this tower-like structure which really complemented the museum's other exhibits in the Medieval & Renaissance Room. The tower is made from stone elements from different regions of Palestine which range from earthy reds to bleached limestones. Because of the way the individual stones which make up the tower are cut, they become self-supporting. There was supposed to be an audio-visual component to evoke the middle-eastern surroundings but this wasn't in evidence on my visit.

I loved the shapes of the stones which were like a shoal of fishes swimming in a perpetual circle. They were apparently created via a computer design, cut by robots, and then finished off by hand by local artisans. They interlock beautifully to create pleasing patterns. Quite lovely.

The last installation I visited was Ross Lovegrove's Transmission in the Tapestries Room. I enjoyed the wild undulations and forms created by the fabric which were inspired by the red gown of one of the ladies in the tapestries which adorn the walls. It is an awkward space to fill but the movement in Transmission complements the movement of the hunting scenes in the tapestries. The gold spot surface patterns on the Alcantara fabric of the installation were also quite pleasingly tactile. Although not an outstanding year, I eagerly anticipate next years design efforts.

London Design Festival at the V&A
until 24th September
Reflection Room: Flynn Talbot
While We Wait: Elias and Yousef Anastas
(until 24th September)
Ross Lovegrove: Transmission
(until 8th October)
V&A Museum
Cromwell Road