A 35-metre high upside-down electricity pylon was the stand-out project announced for this year’s London Design Festival today, but once again none of the headline projects are graphics focussed.
New LDF deputy director Chris Turner (formerly of Icon magazine) unveiled the programme at the V&A this morning and among the installations and exhibitions he introduced, Alex Chinneck’s new sculpture A Bullet From A Shooting Star is by far the most eye-catching. It will be built on Greenwich Peninsula and the final sculpture will use more than 1,000 metres of steel and will weigh 15 tonnes. From his melting house to his levitating building, Alex has built his reputation on ambitious and immediate installations that raise questions over our relationship with the architecture around us, and this LDF commission (supported by Hong Kong property developers Knight Dragon) promises to continue these explorations.
At the V&A itself – LDF’s main base – there’s a few interesting bits to look out for. Austrian studio mischer’traxler is installing a chandelier made of 250 mouth-blown glass globes while intricacy and scale similarly combine in Barnaby Barford’s Tower Of Babel, which will comprise 3,000 bone china facades, each depicting a shop Barnaby has photographed across London.
Meanwhile Frida Escobedo will take over the museum’s garden with a piece inspired by Tenochtitlán, the Aztec city built on Lake Texcoco, and the Assemble collective (named yesterday on the Turner Prize shortlist) will create an installation paying tribute to furniture designer Robin Day and his passion for working with wood.
Away from the South Kensington hub, Made North is celebrating 50 years of Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert’s British road signage by inviting 50 artists and designers to respond to the iconic visuals, and Somerset House returns as an LDF venue with David Adjaye creating a piece for its vast courtyard (although bar it being a collaboration with Mini, details are vague at this time). Finally it’s worth noting that Designjunction will be split between two new venues – Victoria House in Bloomsbury and Central Saint Martins.
But even though the programme is still being developed, it’s striking that nothing major announced today could be classed in the graphics or illustration category, although plans are afoot to run the Graphics Weekend at the V&A again and there will be a raft of smaller projects covering these bases. I’ve written before about the need for LDF to work harder to represent this massive part of the London creative scene (and indeed for the graphics community to embrace any opportunities that are offered) but it’s disappointing that none of the main statement projects are graphics-related.
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