How 13 designers responded to a one-word brief: water

8 September 2017

London Design Festival is set to take over London’s venues, from the obvious to those that might be a little more hidden. Falling somewhere in the middle of that spectrum is the Copeland Gallery. It may be separated from London’s go-to design hubs by the Thames, but the Copeland Gallery has become a well-known show space on London’s spiralling art map.

Pouring life into the white walls of the gallery space from 19-24 September is Water, a “un-curated” experimental collaboration between 13 designers with very diverse practices, each of whom has interpreted the show’s one word theme — water — through their own unique view on the world’s most readily available resource. The works on display use lighting, robotics, installations, ceramics, electronics and, naturally, water.

Industrial designer Fernando Laposse will show a brass and blown glass gas lamp which generates a flame through calcium carbide and water. Interdisciplinary practise based research initiative Interaction Research Studio has made a DIY Underwater camera from household objects and enabled by open source technology. London-based design studio Unit Lab has offered up The Domestic Sea Collection which seeks “to bring the sensory experience of the sea into the urban home”. Object, installation and interior designer Dean Brown has come up with Reflections, “a meditation of the doubling of objects and the optical effects of water” by mimicking its behaviour.

Philipp Ronnenberg’s work hovers between creative design and technological engineering. His piece Dryver is a robot which takes water from the air and gifts it to humans. Multidisciplinary designer and maker James Patmore specialises in product and interior design, and he’s made Cloud, a lighting sculpture “drawn” with a glue gun and laced with micro LEDS. Finnish designer Kirsi Enkovaara has contributed sculpture and painting series Landscapes of Water which looks at how the human environment and water intersect.

From designer Andy Sheen there’s Kinetic Light, “the result of an accidental discovery” which shows show the kinetic energy produced by a waterfall can be made into a light display. Studio PSK and previous Anyways family member Karl Toomey have together imagined how human life might exist in a future icy climate in Cold Hands, Warms Hearts – Snapshots from a culture far, far away. From designer Ola Mirecka there is Fontanna, a handcrafted ceramic foundation which has been hacked to react to touch.

Designer Simon Denzel has responded to the “water” brief with Fester Farm, a “compact greenhouse” designed for installation on flat windowsills. Six:Thirty and Matteo Loglio teamed up for Natural Networks, buoys moderated with environmental sensors which make it possible for water to write poetry. Finally Henrik Nieratschker will present I Am Water, a “thought experiment” which, through AI technology, imbues water with personality.


Water: Natural Networks by Six:Thirty x Matteo Loglio


Water: Fenster Farm by Simon Denzel


Water: Domestic Sea Collection by Unit Lab


Water: Cloud by James Patmore


Water: Mineralia by Fernando Laposse

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About the Author

Bryony Stone

Bryony joined It's Nice That as Deputy Editor in August 2016, following roles at Mother, Secret Cinema, LAW, Rollacoaster and Wonderland. She later became Acting Editor at It's Nice That, before leaving in late 2018.

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