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    Najla El Zein: The Wind Portal (Photo by Susan Smart)

London Design Festival: A look at the V&A offerings with audio interviews

Posted by Rob Alderson,

And so the London Design Festival rolls around for another ten days celebrating and showcasing the city’s design pedigree in various ways. The event has its detractors but rather than sniping from the sidelines it makes sense to put some time and effort in to discover the best bits of what – because of its size – offers something for everyone.

The obvious place to start is the V&A which has been the hub of LDF activities for the past few years. Although dRMM’s Endless Stair – the 2013 “landmark project” – is at Tate Modern, there’s still plenty to enjoy at the iconic South Kensington museum.

In the main entrance Canadian deigned Omer Arbel and lighting company Bocci have collaborated to create a 30 metre chandelier featuring 280 hand-blown glass lights. The piece cascades down from the top of the cupola to create a fun, bright, astonishing installation. Omer is not the only participant interested in scale; Lebanese designer Najla El Zein has created a beautiful gate out of 5,000 paper windmills which spin in the (provided) breeze and the sheer scale of the bright white piece with the soothing noise of the windmills turning is a fantastic fusion of Game of Thrones and Art Attack.

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    Omer Arbel: 28.280 (Photo by Ed Reeve)

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    Omer Arbel: 28.280 (Photo by Ed Reeve)

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    Omer Arbel: 28.280 (Photo by Ed Reeve)

God Is In the Details interacts with some of the museum’s many treasures, with Swarovski asking the likes of Faye Toogood, Tom Dixon and Ross Lovegrove to select a piece they are particularly drawn to and then placing a super-powerful lens in front of it for an entirely different kind of viewing pleasure. Fat Architects have created a cork mosaic floor in the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, in a bid to show off its properties, V&A Designer in residence Julia Lohmann has installed a huge sculpture made of seaweed on one of the staircases, exploring the line between the beautiful and the grotesque and Yuri Suzuki has created a white noise voice remixer which is sure to appeal to younger visitors (as it did the assembled journalists at last week’s press launch).

Long overlooked by LDF, this year sees a real emphasis on trying to promote more graphic design (as Max Fraser explains in the podcast above) and there is a real treat in the form of a selection of the Typographic Circle’s Circular magazine curated by Pentagram partner Dominic Lippa. If type geekery floats your boat, make sure you head down to enjoy this slightly indulgent celebration of all things font-y.

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    Najla El Zein: The Wind Portal (Photo by Susan Smart)

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    8-18: The Typographic Circle’s Circular Magazine (Photo by Ed Reeve)

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    God Is In The Details (Photo by Ed Reeve)

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    God Is In The Details (Photo by Ed Reeve)

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    God Is In The Details (Photo by Ed Reeve)

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    Yuri Suzuki: Garden of Russolo (Photo by Susan Smart)

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    Julia Lohmann: The Department of Seaweed (Photo by Susan Smart)

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.