Over the past week, London has been taken over by amazing design. Scattered around the city were beautiful works to visit, take in, enjoy, and reflect on. The London Design Festival had us trekking around on the final days to soak up as much as we good with the limited amount of time we had to enjoy it with how crazy life has been lately. While we didn't make it to everything, we were able to see some wonderfully inspirational pieces on a perfectly sunny weekend.
The festival brings in designers, architects, and creative thinkers from all over the country. London comes to life with design and shows just how much of a center it is for creativity. The one installation I knew I needed to see was The Smile by Architect Alison Brooks, one of the festival's Landmark Projects. The structure, made entirely of tulipwood, is shaped exactly how the name suggests—a smile—with it's edges curving up toward the sky. Inside the light floods through the openings at either end and through the holes carved out along the longer sides. By looking at it, you would think that it would rock back and forth like a rocking chair but one of the most amazing things—the structure was built to stay solid and still as the people inside enjoy walk back and forth between its opening edges.
After visiting The Smile at The Chelsea College of Arts, we took a long stroll through Pimilco and Belgravia to end up in South Kensington at the Victoria and Albert Museum. While there were some sections of the London Design Festival in the V&A that you had to buy tickets for, there was plenty to see once you got inside with the free admission into the museum (woo!).
While the Elytra Filament Pavilion was not technically a part of the LDF, we hadn't made our way to the V&A in quite some time so we were sure to get to the museum's beautiful John Madejski Garden to see the installation up close. Created by a team of architects and engineers, the structure is "inspired by a lightweight construction principle found in nature, the filament structures of the shells of flying beetles known as elytra." From an art and design perspective, its contrast to the red brick walls is what drew me to the piece itself. It was interesting to see it close up and see the work and details that went into creating such a structure.
As we moved back inside to the museum, we wove our way through the halls and rooms to make sure we got to each check point on the LDF map. Rather than creating a space for the LDF to call home, the V&A incorporated most of the LDF (minus the paid ticketed exhibits) into its current rooms creating interesting juxtapositions throughout—a smart tactic to bring in temporary pieces and allow visitors to see more of the museum. There was definitely plenty to see and take in. It felt good to be back in the lovely V&A.
Here are some my favorites we saw while mazing through the V&A:
After tiring ourselves out covering all 6 floors of the V&A (we are apparently crazy), we hopped on the tube to head home to kick our feet up for a little. Later on we were meeting friends at Dishoom in Kings Cross (so good!!) to refuel on energy so we knew that would be a good time to also check out just a few more LDF spots and one of my must-sees, the Cubitt House by Oktra.
Overall it was a great (okay—maybe a little exhausting) day hopping around to see as much as we could of the London Design Festival. We're sad it was only around for so long but as it always is in London, there's plenty of other exciting things to do and more always making its way to the city!
Hope each of you had a lovely weekend!