STIR at LDF: The London Design Festival returns with its 19th edition

This year, the festival hopes to be a platform that will enable audiences to rediscover the city of London as a design destination, as it continues to reopen.

by Devanshi ShahPublished on : Sep 18, 2021

London Design Festival returns with its 19th edition from September18-26, 2021. The festival is known to transform the British capital’s landmarks, neighbourhoods and cultural institutions with a series of installations, exhibitions, and specially curated events that highlight the city's diverse creative spirit. As a result of the pandemic, there has been a rise in hyper-localisation. This year, the festival hopes to be a platform that will enable audiences to rediscover the city as it continues to reopen after nearly two years of lockdown. In an official statement, Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival Director, said, “Cultural and creative activity is a powerful tool to help reignite the city and kick-start London’s economy. London Design Festival will provide the public and visitors with an opportunity to take to the streets to discover new pockets of London, and find works by leading designers and emerging talent, while enjoying all that the city has to offer.”

Watch this space as STIR brings to you highlights from the London Design Festival 2021 and ground reports on what is going on in London!

1. What to expect at the 2021 edition of the London Design Festival

Medusa by Tin Drum and Sou Fujimoto | STIR at LDF | London Design Festival | STIRworld
Medusa by Tin Drum and Sou Fujimoto Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival

This year the festival boasts a series of installations, exhibitions and displays, with an international roster of designers, and the projects exploring materiality, sustainable processes and circular design. With a more substantial display component at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the LDF 2021 also expands its reach through its Design District; there will be 10 featured districts as part of this edition.

2. ‘Between Forests and Skies’ embodies precise irregularity in aluminium at LDF 2021

L to R: Between Forests and Skies, Madhav Kidao and Brando Posocco of Nebbia Works | STIR at LDF | London Design Festival | STIRworld
L to R: Between Forests and Skies, Madhav Kidao and Brando Posocco of Nebbia Works Image: Ed Reeve(Left), © Manuel Ramos(Right)

At the Victoria and Albert Museum, Between Forests and Skies by multidisciplinary design studio, Nebbia Works, is an immersive pavilion in low-carbon aluminium, that serves as a poignant reflection of the themes of circular design, sustainable processes, and materiality advocated as part of the LDF 2021 programme of events in the lead up to COP26. Highlighting the unique durability, recyclability, and lightweight properties of aluminium, the pavilion’s surfaces craft a dazzling interplay of reflections that enliven the surrounding environment.

3. Henning Larsen designs The Cube by VELUX as a calming haven on London’s South Bank

The Cube by Henning Larsen and VELUX | The Cube Installation at London Design Festival 2021 | STIRworld
The Cube by Henning Larsen and VELUX Image: © George Kroustallis

As part of the Special Projects lineup at the festival, Copenhagen-based architecture firm Henning Larsen have designed The Cube - a mesmerising timber installation, developed for Danish manufacturing company VELUX.  Located at the Observation Point, on London’s South Bank, the structure offers a quaint little island of calm for visitors. Within its confines, abundant fresh air, an entrancing play of light and reflections, scored by music featuring the ambient sounds of nature, concoct an ideal atmosphere to unplug, unwind, and destress.

4. Experience the mixed reality of 'Medusa' at the London Design Festival

Yoyo Munk, Director of Medusa; a visualisation of <em>Medusa</em> | London Design Festival | Medusa | Tin Drum | Sou Fujimoto | Yoyo Munk | STIRworld
Yoyo Munk, Director of Medusa; a visualisation of Medusa Image: Courtesy of Tin Drum

The Raphael Court of the Victoria & Albert Museum plays host to an intriguing installation titled Medusa. Tin Drum, a renowned mixed reality studio, in partnership with Japanese architect, Sou Fujimoto, have created an enormous work that can only be experienced via a see-through mixed reality headset. The medium of mixed reality enables the merging of real and virtual worlds to create experiences where the physical and the digital design elements co-exist and interact in real-time. Medusa blends the audience's view of the physical world with another virtual dimension of the structure. In an interview with STIR, Yoyo Munk elaborated on the core concepts of the piece and how mixed reality is used as a means of understanding the ways spaces are inhabited.

5. Arthur Mamou-Mani creates swirling, 3D-printed bioplastic beehives for Mellifera

Mellifera: The Dancing Bee Hives by Arthur Mamou-Mani at London Design Festival 2021 | Mellifera by Arthur Mamou Mani at London Design Festival 2021 | STIRworld
Mellifera: The Dancing Bee Hives by Arthur Mamou-Mani at London Design Festival 2021 Image: Carmen Valiño

Mellifera: The Dancing Bee Hives by French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani - Managing Director of Mamou-Mani Ltd, is an installation of swirling modules, 3D-printed from fermented sugar. On display at Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly, the design takes inspiration from the famous beehives on the rooftop of the upmarket department store, to highlight the need to rewild urban spaces and rethink our approach to manufacturing plastics.

6. 'The Unboxing Show' at London Design Festival explores the dismantling of a box

Installation view of The Unboxing Show | London Design Festival 2021 | STIRworld
Installation view of The Unboxing Show Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival

'One man's garbage is another man's treasure' takes on a more literal definition at The Unboxing Show. Spearheaded by British designer, Peter Marigold, the show is a Festival Commission for Coal Drops Yard as part of the London Design Festival 2021. As part of the King’s Cross Design District, one of the 10 districts participating this year, the show is a comment on passive consumption. The Unboxing Show approaches the concept of passive consumption in a more holistic manner, from the environment to social media, and identifies it as the heart of many problems we face today.

7. Yinka Ilori restyles London’s pedestrian crossings with vivid colours for LDF 2021

The installation bolsters the visibility of London’s creative community, which was stifled by the coronavirus pandemic | London Design Festival 2021 | Yinka Ilori | STIRworld
The installation bolsters the visibility of London’s creative community, which was stifled by the coronavirus pandemic Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival

East London-based multidisciplinary artist and designer Yinka Ilori has flooded the pedestrian crossings of London with an exuberant array of colours as part of his ‘Bring London Together’ initiative. Commissioned as a Landmark Project under the London Design Festival 2021 programme of events, the series of street art installations is also part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ‘Let’s Do London’ tourism campaign, animating 18 pedestrian crossings with vivid hues and patterns throughout the city.

8. Adorno London returns as one of the leading virtual destinations of LDF 2021

Through a combination of immersive digital content and physical exhibitions, Adorno London invited 8 curators from different countries to present 8 distinct collections | London Design Festival 2021 | Designing Futures | Adorno London | STIRworld
Through a combination of immersive digital content and physical exhibitions, Adorno London invited eight curators from different countries to present eight distinct collections Image: Courtesy of Adorno London

Adorno London returns as one of the leading virtual design destinations during the London Design Festival 2021. Through a combination of immersive digital content and physical exhibitions, Adorno invited curators from Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden to put together a cluster of mini-shows. Each of the curated collections presented new work, that ranged from collectable design to functional art. The overall theme of this year’s exhibition was titled 'Designing Futures'.

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