London Design Festival 2014: Futuristic & Fab

A London landmark with more than a dozen flying drones overhead; large rotating reflectors displaying distorted views of the Rafael Gallery – The London Design Festival 2014 is set to enthrall all those that attend. With over 300 events and installations across the city (from 13 – 21 September), this is a celebration of creativity and design (graphics, digital, product and architecture) that you won’t want to miss.

In addition to spectacular interior design trade events like Design Junction, Tent London and SuperBrands, Decorex, and 100 Percent Design; a major part of  London Design Festival’s programme is their Landmark Projects in iconic London locations. These installations demonstrate the imaginative capacity of designers who in turn are able to share their unique design vision with the world.


New Landmark events this year will include:


V&A: ‘Drone Aviary’  designed by Anab Jain and Jon Ardern of Superflux and supported by Swarovski and the Arts Council of England 

Through a ground-breaking installation named ‘The Drone Aviary’, visitors of the V&A will get a glimpse into a future urban landscape where the presence of drones will become ever more familiar.

Not only will the dozen or more drones flying overhead change the visual landscape, they will interact with the public, perform tasks and display their own behaviour within the safe confines of the V&A’s John Madejski Garden. Although we don’t expect any Amazon packages to be dropping from the sky here, the designers hope the installation will change how individuals might feel about a type of technology that has primarily been associated with military surveillance and science fiction novels.

Whats more, the individual drones (each incorporating technologically advanced lenses, crystals and fibers from Swarovski’s innovation laboratories) will have their own Twitter feeds and footage of the ‘drone’s eye view’ will be made available online for the public both locally and abroad to enjoy.



V&A: Double Space by BMW ‘Precision & Poetry in Motion’

Olympic torch designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have teamed up with BMW to create ‘Precision & Poetry in Motion’, a kinetic sculpture made from two huge reflectors, which will turn the ceiling of the Raphael Gallery into a rotating reflecting surface.

Inspired by aeronautical and car design, the piece is concerned with the aesthetics of motion. Two huge reflectors measuring around 10 x 15 metres, will spin slowly on their own axis in a choreographed movement designed to distort the view of the Raphael cartoons on display, the form of the room and the viewer’s perception of the space.

Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby said “The dramatic scale and complexity of this commission makes it a real challenge and is an  amazing opportunity for us to further explore themes of movement and performance. We believe this collaboration with BMW will celebrate the paintings and the architecture by creating an immersive and memorable experience, offering a totally new perspective on the world famous Raphael Gallery.”


TRAFALGAR SQUARE: ‘A Place Called Home’ supported by Airbnb

Airbnb in collaboration with London Design Festival have invited four highly acclaimed designers (Jasper Morrison, Patternity, Raw Edges and Studioilseto dream up their interpretation of a room within a home ‘that you would not want to leave’, offering a new vision of a domestic space.

These rooms will be created as four separate structures in Trafalgar Square for visitors to peer into. All  identical on the outside, with each ‘house’ interior reflecting the individuality and personality of the different designers.

Studioilse’s Isle Crawford said that for her the idea was based on what Airbnb allows people to do. She said that “historically we had to look in magazines to see in other people’s houses, now we can stay in them.”


Other highlights at the V&A include:

- ‘The Wish List – What I have always wanted is…’ in collaboration with Sir Terence Conran and Benchmark Furniture Supported by the American Hardwood Export Council

As a celebration of  the versatility of timber and the enormous variety that can be achieved with one material, Sir Terence Conran, the London Design Festival and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) have invited ten design legends along with ten emerging talents, to design and make something they have always wanted, but never been able to find, out of this single material.

The finished work will be shown in the Architecture Landing at the Victoria and Albert Museum during the London Design Festival.

- ‘Human Nature’ by Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert supported by Perrier-Jouët, in collaboration with Vessel Gallery

Paris-based designer Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert has been commissioned by Champagne House, Perrier-Jouët to work closely with Vessel Gallery  in the creation of a bold glass installation inspired by the Art Nouveau movement which is at the core of Perrier-Jouët’s brand. This glass sculpture will be placed at the entrance of the Glass Galleries at the V&A.

– The John Madejski Garden installation by Zaha Hadid Architects – Supported by ME by Meliá Hotel

To highlight the opening of the ME Hotel in Dubai in 2016, Zaha Hadid Architects (who have been commissioned to design the ME by Melia Hotel in Dubai) are creating a structure which will be located in the John Madejski garden of the V&A. It will later be taken to Dubai where it will be installed as a permanent feature within the hotel.

This is just a glimpse of some of the exciting installations and events lined up for this years London Design Festival.

Stay tuned for more updates from London Design Festival 2014. You can also read coverage of last year’s events right now: Design Junction and Tent London.



The new ‘Lose Yourself in Design’ graphic designed by Pentagram, which will accompany the London Design festival identity seems perfectly fitting for this years event. Domenic Lippa of Pentagram says ‘The maze graphic is a visual metaphor for the experience that visitors have when the visit the Festival and the city of London. The solution is deliberately both playful and memorable.’.



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Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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