Pioneering Design

The 15th edition of the London Design Festival returns in 2017 to prestigious venues and cultural institutions across the city to include Trafalgar Square, Greenwich Peninsula, Shoreditch Station and the V&A. It offers both emerging and established practitioners the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider audience, promoting engagement with the international industry. Through an ambitious programme of over 450 projects and events, visitors are offered multiple opportunities to experience world-class, innovative and challenging design; a selection of works by Eduardo Souto de Moura, Sagemeister & Walsh, Michael Anastassiades, Brodie Neill, Flynn Talbot, Ross Lovegrove and Jasper Morrison continue to reconfigure boundaries.

In Flynn Talbot’s Reflection Room, light and form are intrinsically linked. This immersive experience is the first installation housed in the Prince Consort Gallery. The dimensions of the 35m vaulted space use 56 custom-made stretch membrane Barrisol panels in gloss black. Woven within the panels are Tryka LED profiles emitting Flynn’s signature orange and blue hues. The play of vertical lines enhance the dramatic intricacies of the ceiling structure, serving the wider grandeur of the iconic venue. A slick backdrop of mirrors deceptively expand upon the dimensions of the church; the results distort reality and depict dream-like realms of undulating lights and faceted reflections.

By utilising pre-existing structures, the work transforms the established parameters of space. Taking inspiration from the historical context of the building, which previously housed 30,000 textile samples, the chapel is made with a complimentary modern textile. As such, the environment fuses the past and present; the transformative qualities of light evoke alternative readings of the familiar rendered uncanny. As Talbot explains: “I conceived the idea standing in the gallery, and wanted to add my story on top of the beautiful architecture but not to take it over. With all of my work, I want to create new experiences using light that build a connection between people and place.”

In a further feat of originality, Ross Lovegrove has created Transmission – a spectacular 21.3m free-standing tapestry inspired by the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries on display at the V&A. Best known for fluid and biologically inspired shapes in his designs for cars, aircraft interiors, cameras, watches and street furniture, the London-based visionary continues to combine the manufactured and the organic. As a response to the scenes of wealth and aristocratic fashion common in the 15th century tapestries, the piece adds contemporary dimensions to a historical form. The main component, Alcantara®, is a tactile, sound absorbent material and an alternative to animal-based textiles, demonstrating an ecological awareness through the lens of innovation. Lovegrove notes: “Everything is sophisticated and carefully curated, but anything can happen. London Design Festival works with the V&A to create such an exciting programme, proving that art, design, architecture and craft in London retains edge and adventure.”

London Design Festival takes place from 16 to 24 September. Further information can be found at:

1. Flynn Talbot, Reflection Room, 2017. Courtesy of V&A.