London Design Festival 2010

The London Design Festival has come around again. Each year it seems to get bigger and more diverse, but not diverse enough for Neville Brody who has launched the Anti-Design Festival to inspire creative thinking and risk-taking. Their manifesto is to “shift the focus from bums-on-seats to brain food”. A commendable idea and we agree designers should be inspired and challenged, but should a design be criticised simply for being commercial? Shouldn’t design be accessible to everyone? We’ll watch the debate in action as the week progresses.

As we mentioned earlier, we will be keeping ourselves busy this week with a presence at the two premier shows of the Festival - 100% Design and The Tramshed, so we took the opportunity yesterday to do a whistle-stop tour of a fraction of the events on offer this year.

First up was the V&A - the festival hub and host to some impressive installations. Save some time to take the Hidden V&A iPod Tour, specially commissioned for the festival and lose yourself in some of the less visited spaces of this amazing (and free!) London resource.

Also at the V&A are installations by Michael Anastassiades (Kinetic Light in the Music Room), Stuart Haygarth (Framed on Staircase P leading to the Architecture Rooms) and Relay favourite Max Lamb whose Vermiculated Ashlar-Plaster Bench was still drying when we visited. All shown below.

While you’re in the Brompton Design District, make sure you stop by mint for their Homework exhibition, below, and Italian brand Skitsch are hosting one of two Dezeen Watch Store pop-ups (the other will be our neighbour at The Tramshed - the temptation might prove too much).

Moving into central London we managed to get through the crowds gathered to see/protest against the Pope and saw Outrace in Trafalgar Square. The robots had gathered quite a crowd but no one seemed to know what they were doing. You can send your own message for the robots to write here.

Down on the South Bank, Paul Cocksedge’s Drop, below, had also drawn a crowd and this time, people instinctively knew what to do.

Down the steps to Canteen was the installation of Thomas Heatherwick’s Spun chair, below. Adults and children alike took great delight in spinning and spinning and spinning. It would seem the secret to lifting your mood is to take one of these for a spin.
We’ll post more on the Festival when we can, but in the meantime you can download your official guide to the 200+ events here.

See you at 100% Design and/or The Tramshed.