Since 2003, the London Design Festival has placed the city at the heart of the international design community and offered an international stage for the latest developments in technology and innovation. For the 2017 iteration of the event, the festival hub will once again be the Victoria & Albert Museum, further deepening the strong link between the museum’s world-leading collection of art, design and performance – spanning in total 5,000 years of human creativity – and the leading edge of contemporary design. As a key element in London’s autumn creative season, the festival runs alongside London Fashion Week, attracting a wealth of thinkers, practiioners, retailers and educators for a city-wide celebration.
Spaces within the museum are transformed by specially commissioned installations and displays, offering designers a platform to showcase innovative new approaches and mate¬rials whilst responding to the museum’s own collections as a point of departure. In a key example of this two-way process of inspiration, British designer Ross Lovegrove responds to the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries at the V&A by creating Transmission. He makes use of the versatile properties of the innovative microfibre material Alcantara® which, texturally similar to suede, is often used as a substitute for animal-based textiles and is found in many applications from car interiors to fashion, and used by companies from Louis Vuitton to Microsoft. It creates soft undulating folds of structure, which echo the colour and form of the medieval tapestries. The subject matter of the original 15th century artwork, with its scenes of wealth and aristocratic fashion, is echoed in the gold and silver threads of the installation, which reflect the gallery lighting.
Palestinian architects Elias and Yousef Anastas evoke an immersive space with While We Wait. Inspired by the scenic Cremsian Valley between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, one of the few green spaces in the Palestinian landscape, their work navigates the issues surrounding the construction of a wall through the middle of the valley, which sundered links between a monastery and the local community. While We Wait is a stone construction of a lace-like pattern, contrasting the sophisticated dentelle structure with the stark uniform concrete of the separation wall. The texture of the materials and the ambient soundtrack encourage a participatory experience as though one is entering the valley itself. After the festival, the structure will be relocated to the valley from which it was inspired.
Head of London Design Festival, Victoria Broackes, said: “The V&A and London Design Festival have a history of working together to showcase innovative and breathtaking installations by the world’s most exciting designers. This year, we look for¬ward to welcoming visitors, yet again, to experience the best in contemporary design.” The London Design Festival events run alongside the rest of the V&A Autumn programme, including exhibitions focusing on Pink Floyd and Cristóbal Balenciaga.
London Design Festival runs at the V&A, London 16-24 September. For more information: