• Ldfmain

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

Graphic Design

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.

  • Ldf_v_a-03

    Omer Arbel: 28.280 (Photo by Ed Reeve)

  • Ldf_v_a-30

    Omer Arbel: 28.280 (Photo by Ed Reeve)

  • Ldf_v_a-06

    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.

  • Ldf2013%c2%a9susansmartphotography-4734

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

  • E60r96p674bzcoqapvddo_hznlceclhto7hx-owibni

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

  • Ldf_v_a-83

    God Is In The Details (Photo by Ed Reeve)

  • Ldf_v_a-60

    God Is In The Details (Photo by Ed Reeve)

  • Ldf_v_a-42

    God Is In The Details (Photo by Ed Reeve)

  • Ldf2013%c2%a9susansmartphotography-4948

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

  • Ldf2013%c2%a9susansmartphotography-4805

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

Ra

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.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List

    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.

  2. List

    Few forces shape the modern world more than the internet and yet it’s an invisible presence that we just understand is there. But PhD student Luis Hernan has changed that by designing a system which scans for wireless networks and creates images where different signal strengths are represented by different coloured LED lights. The results, in essence, allow us to see the WiFi around us.

  3. Main9

    Anyone in New York had better gallop over to Ed. Varie gallery to catch a new show by the ever-wonderful artist Ana Kraš. We’ve posted about Ana a few times, mainly about her beautiful lamps and designs to make your home/life better, and her fun collaborative photography projects. Her show at Ed. Varie entitled Mothers with Spoons and Relationships is an exploration into her more recent love of drawing, using predominantly back-to-basics art supplies such as wax, crayon and oil pastel.

  4. List

    When we last encountered Essex-based painter Simon Monk he was busy preserving toy superheroes in plastic bags and rendering them with hyper-real precision. Secret Identity explored the strange imbalance of the powers ascribed to superheroes and the powerless inertia of their model representations. Since then he’s focussed his attention on one plastic superhero in particular, treating Batman with torturous sadism and restricting him with any binding he finds to hand. He’s been netted, taped, cling-filmed and roped down, trapped forever in a compromised position thanks to Simon’s dangerously accurate brushwork.

  5. Main

    I came across Graham Little when going through content from the site, he was one of the first people I ever put on the site about three years ago. To revisit his work reminded me just how much I loved him the first time around, particularly as he’s been very busy in the last few years and has created some absolutely stunning new work. There’s something about the poses, and the calm nature of his nymph-like female subjects that makes me slightly uneasy.

  6. Main9

    I’m the third person to take a turn waxing lyrical about the art of Bryan Olson (he was discussed here and here in the past), but I don’t mind, I’m just happy to have the opportunity. The North Carolina-based artist is arguably the master of his medium; a creator of collages so delicately crafted it’s often impossible to tell they’ve been made from hand-cut paper. Though it’s by no means his only concern Bryan focusses a great deal on the cosmos in his work, leaving strange portals into the unknown at the centre of his images or placing earthly objects within inter-planetary scenes. It’s a heady combination that lures viewers in, making them feel like children gazing at a dense night sky or an adult on one hell of a trip.

  7. List

    The phrase “artistic intervention” has a chequered past, but we’re struggling to think of a more impressive example than Frank and Patrik Riklin’s BIGNIK. The ongoing project aims to build a huge picnic cloth by 2040, made up of 252,144 panels – one for every person in the Appenzell region of Switzerland.

  8. Main

    Sure, here at It’s Nice That we love fine art. You may even walk past us on the weekend ambling around in galleries, or poring over art books in libraries. We champion some of the most exquisite architecture, sculpture and filmmaking along with some of the most groundbreaking works of art made in modern times. What you define as “art” is a personal thing, but I can tell you now that when it came to voting on content for the site (we decide on content via a voting process around a table FYI) this Presidents with Boob Faces was a unanimous “YES” from each knowledgeable, art-loving member of the It’s Nice That team. When you can see hard, skilled craftsmanship and evidence of a brave artist taking one small idea and running really, really far with it, how can you resist loving it? These are amazing, and artist Emily Deutchman should be very, very proud of herself.

  9. Main

    When something is well-designed, be it a magazine, building, fashion collection or car – it should be well-celebrated. To honour the spectacular and cutting-edge design of the brand new Lexus NX, a new digital art exhibition entitled NX-Perspectives has been launched. Gathering together some of the world’s leading creative thinkers, makers and doers, Lexus have assigned them to create a special piece of performance art inspired by the Lexus NX to exhibit in the digital show.

  10. List

    London-based artist Aleksandra Mir has been busy over the past month investigating the process of drawing in a collaborative experiment that invites participants to contribute to a giant collage of the London skyline, rendered entirely with Sharpies. The process of creating the work was part of the exhibition itself, with Aleksandra and her team engaged in drawing everything by hand during the first days of the show. But for those that missed it there’s also a beautiful time-lapse film of the process, providing context and insight to this giant piece of collaborative draughtsmanship.

  11. List

    I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking; “How on earth did that priest train a dolphin to carry him like that?” Or maybe you’re thinking; “Where did the photographer have to stand to capture that image?” Or perhaps, in fact, you’re thinking; “This HAS to be fake.” But all of these lines of inquiry are valid in the world of Joan Fontcuberta, the Spanish artist and photographer who’s latest exhibition has just landed at The Science Museum’s Media Space.

  12. List

    You’re on the internet, so you probably like cats, right? Well, these woodblock prints by Tadashige Nishida capture all of those cat qualities that we love to love: his creepy but cute kittens are unafraid and alert, always listening and sensing, and very delicately, playfully poised. Tadashige renders the subtle lines of a cat’s body against brilliantly bold backgrounds, and it is very difficult to work out just what it is that makes his prints so hypnotically intriguing. Doris Lessing, one of literature’s best cat lovers, describes the curious creatures in the following way: “If a fish is the movement of water embodied, given shape, then cat is a diagram and pattern of subtle air.” Tadashige captures these dexterous and whimsical cat attributes beautifully in his surprising, minimalist prints.

  13. List1

    The only real auction action we get exposed to regularly is top programmes like Bargain Hunt or Flog It! but recently the whole auction concept has started to be used in a way that removes our cliched expectations of a collection of people (eccentric oddballs) bidding on antiques (old stuff).