It is the 10th year that the V&A has been the official hub for London Design Festival, and as ever, it will be home to a series of special installations, exhibitions, workshops talks and events throughout the week.
Key installations this year include the The Onion Farm by Henrik Vibskov, in the Tapestries Gallery.
The designer was inspired by the dim lighting in the room to create the long, interactive sculpture that people can walk through, which resembles vegetables growing underground.
Made of a combination of red textiles and prickly brushes coming off them, unlike the surrounding tapestries, this piece is designed to be touched. It draws inspiration from the natural scenes in the works around it, but also comments on the “hyper-industrialized state of agriculture today”, according to the V&A.
The Norfolk House Music Room, comes back into play this year after a fallow year at LDF 2017. The work of Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt is the inspiration behind the Memory & Light, an installation put together by Clare Farrow and Eva Woode in collaboration with Arup.
The installation features a transparent, striped, curved screen and a “listening” bench in the centre of the grand white and gold room.
The composer’s comparison of his work to “white light, which contains all colours” which only a prism could separate, ignited the idea for the work, which invites the listener to sit and listen to his music and his words, all the while taking in the room’s intricate grandeur as the sound washes over them.
Design studio Pentagram are behind the Dazzle installation in The Creative Studio at the V&A. The piece is part of 14-18 NOW, a programme marking the centenary of the First World War through artworks.
The work takes over the entire room, covering walls, floors and glass panels with monochrome graphic designs mixed with typography based on the poem Suspense by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson. It is inspired by the Dazzle ships that were covered in a range camouflage patterns, to confuse the enemy during the war. Now visitors can become immersed in the Vortism-inspired Dazzle Room, which sits beneath an intricate white roof in the fourth floor space.
To mark the 10-year anniversary of the V&A as the hub of the LDF, Pentagram has also teamed up with the V&A to create a display for the Members’ Room showcasing LDF’s graphic identities from the past decade. It is the first year, the room designed by architects Carmody Groarke has been used for LDF displays since it opened in 2017. Non-members can view the display on Thursday 20 September, while glimpsing the views from the top-floor gallery, overlooking the Sackler Courtyard and Henry Cole building.
Out in the Sackler Courtyard itself, visitors young and old can enjoy another interactive experience with an installation they are invited to climb on and explore, peeking out at parts of the V&A from a new perspective.
MultiPly is the result of a collaboration between Waugh Thistleton Architects, the American Hardwood Export Council and ARUP, which looks at how sustainable building materials and modular systems may help with challenges such as climate change and the need for more housing.
The large, multi-storey structure is made out of panels of American Tulipwood and looks like a series of wooden blocks, connected with bridges and stairs, with holes and open spaces throughout.
Aside from the large-scale installations, there is a wealth of content, including talk, tours, workshops and exhibitions to take in at the V&A this week as part of this anniversary year.
A mixed-reality work, brings holographic nuns into the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries. The work by Rachel Ara is the artist in residence for the V&A Research Institute in collaboration with DoubleMe, invites people to put on a HoloLens headset to bring the work to life.
The Transubstantiation of Knowledge combines fictional and historic stories as it explores the idea of 15th century Franciscan nuns weaving their knowledge into the patterns of the metallic threads they were manufacturing, to pass down through the generations.
Those interested in the futuristic technologies may also like to visit The Institute of Patent Infringement in Gallery 4 of The Globe. Here they will find a “hackable” library of patents recently filed by Amazon, which they are then invited to “repurpose” for ulterior motives.
Also worth a look is the “3D printer farm”, created by ECAL, an Swiss art and design university. The ECAL Digital Market in the Blavatnik Hall, sees the machines print items live on site – and people can buy them later at the Exhibition Road Quarter Shop.
The Global Design Forum (GDF) is also back at the V&A with a series of paid talks, including Material Disruption, which looks at how designers can help change views on sustainable materials and Designing for Emotion which explores how works to trigger a response that stirs feelings through design work, that can push people to change their behaviour.
Those feeling thirsty after exploring the museum are in luck, as a new water fountain, designed by Michael Anastassiades has popped in the V&A’s John Madejski garden, as part of a move by the London Fountain Company to get people to use less disposable water bottles.
While the V&A may be the hub, London Design Festival which is in its 16th year is a city-wide event, so for more information on what to see across town, head here.
London Design Festival runs from 15-23 September.
All photos courtesy of London Design Festival.