London Design Festival

London Design Festival (14-22 Sep) twitches with technological innovation. Showcasing the city’s creativity, it generates more than 400 events around London. One of the festival’s aims is to show how technological breakthroughs are influencing design and transforming our worlds.

South Kensington’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is a major hub for the festival and a great place to see several cutting-edge entrants in one venue. Fancy talking to a robot? Then find Sony Design’s Affinity in Autonomy in the Prince Consort Gallery. Described as a robotic pendulum, it responds to and engages with any nearby humans. That’s right – Sony Design wants us to make friends with robots.

Meanwhile, Lucy Hardcastle converts scientific data into digital art with her Kalos Stasis piece, which is a multisensory presentation inspired by the human heart. There’s also the work of Rachel Ara, a data artist (if that’s not a futuristic-sounding job, I don’t know what is) whose This Much I’m Worth piece is on display (top image): this smart sculpture processes data and algorithms to continually recalculate its own worth in real time.

Beyond the V&A, I’m intrigued by another London Design Festival work that is popping up in Islington’s Collins Music Hall. Called VOID (14-22 Sep), this installation uses large projections to help you see how gemstones are formed in nature, by putting you in the middle of one (pictured above). Using photography by VOID’s designer Dan Tobin Smith, it seeks to bring the flat world of images closer to the 4D world that we all live in. The whole experience has an otherworldly soundtrack by female ‘drone choir’ NYX: these women stretch their natural voices as far as possible, by pushing the limits of the latest digital sound technology. It sounds like it’s going to be dreamy.

Among the highlights of this year’s London Design Festival (14-22 Sep) is Please Be Seated, Paul Cocksedge’s wooden, octopus-like creation that will dominate Finsbury Square Avenue (pictured above). Sit on it or walk through it, the choice is yours. The festival has nine design districts in total; check the website for details.

London Design Festival runs from 14-22 September 2019


For more stunning structures visit the Antony Gormley exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

Images courtesy of London Design Festival and the artists.
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