Category Archives: exhibitions & visits

London Design and Anti Design Festivals 2010…

LDF at V&A

Last Friday I had a chance to visit London Design Festival and after last year’s good timing and awesome events my expectations were rather high. And truthfully, this time was different: horrible weather, bad ankle resulting in limping, and not many great inspirational moments.

I don’t wish to go on about everything I saw, but to pick out some of the memorable bits (you can also check more photos on my Flickr page):

A dark room with cabinets displaying objects, all pure white. Next to the cabinets, stories related to the objects building a saga of a fictional mixed background family. (I Cling to Virtue at V&A)

Miniature design doll house, magical, it can hold your gaze for hours.

The printed guide had no maps! You can stuff pages with advertising but not bother with a map. Pffft.

Stumbling through a door way into Anti Design Festival headquarters, and managing to get a free ticket to the afternoon talk Renewal & Strategy to Destroy and Rebuild featuring designer celebrities and their pals and some interesting artists.

“There’s  no such thing as grown ups, we’re just winging it because we have to.”
– Gerald Laing

Adrian Shaugnessy getting excited about magical Wales and praising young designers’ will to do social design projects instead of clamoring to be the next Neville Brody…

Shaugnessy’s realistic insights – we all need to make a living but it’s not an excuse to do something different either.

Peter Kennard’s vivid reminders of the simple power of image. His Cafe of Equivalents is a truly inspiring project: it made people rethink the value of money and the value of their earnings, and provided a space for discussion. A project worth looking up.

“The middle is not a great place to be” – Stuart Semple on the danger of the homogeneous middle

Barnbrook’s shifty nature not being allowed to talk about his work – felt like he was talking to students – again.

Brody being ripped into with criticism about “all talk no action plan” by a gentleman, watching Brody slither around responses.

Anti Design Festival space showing work by maestros and students alike, side by side on the walls without captions – interesting.

Hel Yes! Design and food from Helsinki

Hel Yes! warehouse converted into a hangout/ café/ restaurant/ discussion space, Finnish brunch to warm my soul, free coffee, use of wood branches to create tables connecting us back into nature.

Ok Do! talk Borderlands highlighting increased collaboration with co-creators and resource providers. “Friendship as an important catalyst for collaboration” – still resonates strongly within me, like a warm fuzzy feeling that tells me there is truth in those words.

Spotting parallels and common themes that have been popping up in recent workshops and events I have attended:

  • the need to embrace and explore collaboration and co-creation
  • engaging with society and the citizens living in it – inclusive design
  • the title “designer” losing its gravity and significance: we fall under different roles more and more
  • embracing technology to create future possibilities for participation, freedom of speech, debate, co-creation and strengthening networks for knowledge sharing

That’s it folks, tried to keep this short and hopefully shared some interesting observations. Please do share comments and thoughts.

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Tickets please…

I’ve just finished doing some work for the brilliant artist, Matt Cook, on his Open Top Sound art event coming up in Colchester this Saturday. The work included both printed and email flyers and a bus ticket (as seen above); when boarding the bus the ticket will be rubber stamped with Matt’s logo.

Making the bus ticket made me think how much fun little bits of work like this can be, playing around with type and paying homage to the style conventions of the past. And the fun isn’t just in the work, it’s also in the process of working with the client: an evolving, sparky two-way interaction at it’s best.

So what was the project about?

Open Top Sound is a sound art event that took place – you guessed it – on top of an open top bus as it made a journey through Colchester.

Open Top Sound is composed of field recordings, sections of ambient noise recorded around the town, combined with recorded descriptions of places in Colchester by local Blue Badge Guides. Recorded noises blend with noises from beyond the bus to create an immersive experience.

If you want to see more of Matt’s work, check out his website.

Them clever designers… snapshot of London Design Festival 09

Last weekend I checked out a selection of events and exhibitions on offer at the London Design Festival.

I like festivals: you are guaranteed to have a selection of visual snippets, tasty (or not so tasty) morsels. I find it rejuvenating to wander around the smaller exhibits, seeing the work of independent and up and coming designers who often have great ideas to show. And all the unexpected discoveries to be made on the way – that’s my kind of day out and about.

My colleagues from Stills went to 100% Design on Thursday, so I decided I would plan to see “all the other stuff” over the weekend. On Friday I started my trek at the Viaduct showroom in Clerkenwell. Their New Modernists exhibition struck a chord with me as I’ve always had a soft spot for simple, clean and clever design.

Lazy Bastard by Bertjan Pot

Lazy Bastard by Bertjan Pot

Now this chair is such a brilliant concept – the name and the product go hand in hand perfectly, and it needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated! It’s like a bean bag with a bit more structure, the adapting cushion making it a pleasure to sink into.

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