May 26, 2016

London Design Festival Previews the 2016 Installations

The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects, American Hardwood Export Council, and ARUP. Image by Alison Brooks Architects.

Running across the capital from September 17-25, this year’s London Design Festival brings together architects, designers and artists for over 400 events spread across the capital. At four months out, here’s a preview of what to expect from what is considered the platform for the best of London’s design community.

Since 2007 the festival has commissioned some the world’s most influential designers, architects, and pioneering new talents to create something extraordinary for the festival’s Landmark Projects, which are site specific and have appeared in some of London’s most prominent and covetable spaces. For the 2017 edition there will be four Landmark Projects: Visionary Crazy Golf, The Smile, Baboushka Boxes, and Mini Living. For The SmileAlison Brooks and the American Hardwood Export Council will present an installation in the form of a smile-shaped tunnel. The 118-foot-long installation aims to showcase the structural potential of cross-laminated timber (CLT), and will make use of American tulipwood to create an arch-shaped tunnel that rises off the ground to 11 feet. The images revealed already indicate an astonishing architectural achievement that will delight attendees.

Baboushka Boxes by London architecture studio dRMM. Image by dRMM.

Building on the CLT theme, Baboushka Boxes by London architecture studio dRMM will comprise a series of box-like structures designed to address the topic of housing and the future of living spaces, an issue similarly explored at the MINI Living installation, which focuses on the “third places” where the boundaries between work and home are blurred. The project with the biggest impact on the public environment will be Visionary Crazy Golf designed by architects and designers including Camille Walala, Tom Dixon, Sir Paul Smith and the late Zaha Hadid, which will take over Trafalgar Square in London.

Zaha Hadid’s installation for Visionary Crazy Golf in Trafalgar Square. Image by Zaha Hadid Architects.

Visionary Crazy Golf by Paul Smith.
Visionary Crazy Golf by Paul Smith. Image courtesy of Paul Smith.

Also unveiled were a variety of small-scale installations at the city’s V&A Museum. These include site-specific installations by Glithero, Benjamin Hubert, Layer, and Mathieu Lehanneur. Lehanneur will display “liquid marble” as part of his ongoing installation series in one of the V&A galleries. Elsewhere in the V&A, the Engineering season (starting in May) will see the installation of the Elytra Filament Pavilion by experimental architect Achim Menges exploring robotic technologies on architectural design.

Elytra Filament Pavilion by Achim Menges. Image courtesy of Achim Menges.

London-based design duo Glithero is partnering with Italian luxury watchmaker Panerai to create a time-based installation by emulating the circular motion of the arms of a clock. Titled The Green Room, the installation will be delineated by veils of colorful string. Similarly taking inspiration from the shape of an everyday object, Benjamin Hubert‘s Foil installation in collaboration with Braun is based on the shape of the shaver foil found on the company’s razors. Foil takes the shape of a 65-foot-long undulating ribbon comprising 40,000 individual metallic elements running through the entire room to reflect light all around the gallery.

Other festival news includes the first ever London Design Biennale; the new home for Designjunction in Kings Cross; the newly named London Design Fair destination encompassing Tent London, Super Brands London and the Country Pavillions; the addition of a new Design District, Brixton, taking part in the festival; and the newly launched decorative show LuxuryMade.

Foil by Benjamin Hubert and Braun. Image courtesy of Benjamin Hubert/Braun.

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