London Design Festival held a press conference this morning to launch its 2018 identity and major projects to take place across the city in September. Domenic Lippa showed glimpses of Pentagram’s graphic identity, which changes for each year’s iteration, and the festival’s director Ben Evans revealed details of installations and events.
These include Alphabet by graphic design studio Kellenberger-White, which has designed a series of 26 folded metal typographic chairs. According to the studio, the chairs are informed by research into László Moholy-Nagy, Marianne Brandt and Wilhelm Wagenfeld, and inspired by Bruno Munari’s photos Seeing Comfort in an Uncomfortable Chair (1944). The installation in front of Exchange House in Broadgate will invite visitors to try out the letters, “some more comfortable than others depending on which letter you pick,” joked Ben Evans, and promises to be “an animated experience”.
Studio Frith will transform Room 131A at the V&A with an installation focusing on the graphic qualities of Dazzle Ships. Dazzle is part of LDF’s collaboration with 14-18 Now, a cultural programme marking the First World War centenary, and will explore the experimental camouflage painted on the surface of ships, which drew from cubism and vorticism for its vivid patterns.
MultiPly, an installation by Waugh Thistleton architects in the V&A Sackler Courtyard, will be an interactive, modular and “maze-like” tower of spaces which visitors “can explore and lose themselves in,” Ben Evans commented. It aims to encourage visitors to rethink the way homes and cities are designed and built, touching on two major themes: housing and climate change.
Also at the V&A, a musical installation by Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt and engineering firm Arup called Memory & Light will be similarly interactive. Visitors will be able to take part in the immersive, multi-sensory experience by stepping into a pop-up anechoic chamber.
Lastly, Pentagram partner Domenic Lippa showed early images of the visual identity for this year’s festival, which draws from Edward Johnston’s 1916 typeface Johnston, famed for its use on London Underground. Being the 12th year of creating the identity for the festival, Domenic explained how it’s always a challenge and this year “the solution was on our doorstep”.
“[Johnston] is one of the most iconic pieces of design London has brought to the world. It’s a humanist font, it’s a democratic font, and everyone can access it now so this became the source for the idea. We wanted to bring an element of the festival into it, so the design is playful… we’ve made little interventions into the font, changed little details, fractured the worlds themselves, and you’ll see over the next four months that this will change constantly and start to come alive. It’s an ever-evolving idea.”
London Design Festival takes place from 15-23 September 2018 across the city.