London Design Festival Journal

London Design Festival - London

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Now in its fifteenth year London Design Festival celebrates London as the design capital of the world. This week-long festival consists of hundreds of unique events throughout the city incorporating design from a local through to international level drawing in thinkers, retailers and educators in a celebration of design.

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The festival programme ranges from major exhibitions to trade events, installations, seminar, product launches and parties resulting in a mixture of the week being both a cultural and commercial event.

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A big theme at this year’s London Design Festival, and within the industry generally, is sustainability; utilising renewable materials, acknowledging and reducing our footprint and how design can collaborate with technological advancements for a cleaner future.

Whilst much of the festival is targeted at the design community the continual theme of sustainability, transparency and how this can be practically applied to our everyday lives is something that will appeal to the general public too.

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Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova created their own laboratory of biofacture where contemporary furniture is grown utilising an ancient material relationship between wood and mycelium (fungus). Non-commercial wood is shredded (different woods result in different colours and finishes) and combined with the fungus in a mould, where the furniture then ‘grows’ into that shape. The furniture has many positive properties including being water repellent and fire retardant and unlike mould tree fungus doesn’t give off spores so isn’t harmful to people’s health.

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New furniture brand Pentatonic presented the world’s first mobile off-grid recycling plant that uses rubbish to create an immersive installation, demonstrating the power and potential of upcycling.

The installation asks visitors to drop their own plastic rubbish off, and see it transformed through the solar-powered machine into tiles that can be used in manufacturing and building, making the process of recycling transparent and engaging. They have a pop-up shop open showcasing their chairs, tables and glass wear to be sure to pop in.

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The focus wasn’t just on tangible sustainability though, Superflux, Strange Telemetry and Wesley Goatley illustrated London’s air pollution problem by capturing and transforming local air quality data into exploratory visualisations and auditory manifestations of air quality.  The process and end result created a method to compare humans and machine interpretations of the world and the damage we are doing to it.

It has often been difficult to present big data in a meaningful way and with this in mind the interactive installation uses a hybrid of art, design and technology to explore the different ways in which people and machines experience the world.

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