5 important things that happened in design this week

WPP merged its design consultancies and London Design Festival returned for its 15th edition – the design news from the last seven days.

London Design Festival took over the capital

Mycelium + Timber from Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanova

One of the biggest dates on the design calendar, the annual London Design Festival (LDF) took place this week.

Spread across nine different districts all over the city, this year’s programme has seen more than more than 400 different exhibitions, installations, trade shows and talks.

Design Week’s coverage of this year’s festival has included a review of its main hub at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum.

It is the ninth year that LDF has been at the V&A, and this time around the festival organisers have attempted to use the museum’s spaces differently, with installations that actively engage with and reflect the spaces that they occupy.

Highlights include Reflection Room by Flyn Talbot, which brings the rarely seen Prince Consort Gallery to life with immersive orange and blue lighting, and Ross Lovegrove’s installation in The Tapestries Room, which is inspired by the colours and textures of the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries.

Another must-see from this year’s festival is Design Frontiers at Somerset House. Spread across individual spaces within the gallery’s West Wing and Terrace Rooms, the exhibition features 30 diverse projects including a giant, plastic-recycling machines and furniture made out of fungus.

LDF runs until 24 September 2017. Read all of our coverage on the festival here.

The Government spoke out about protecting IP

Matt Hancock, minister of state for digital

The UK’s minister for digital Matt Hancock gave a speech this week emphasising the importance of protecting intellectual property (IP) and original ideas post-Brexit.

Hancock, who is part of the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), was speaking at the Design Innovation Law Reform Conference in Singapore earlier this week.

In his talk, Hancock said that while the UK’s existing IP laws and rights are “highly respected around the globe”, they need to be updated to protect IP online.

He added: “Working artists deserve to be rewarded for their efforts, and taking work without consent is theft. We must commit to protecting that content, because it’s morally right and because of its worth to our economies.”

Hancock’s comments come amid concerns around UK businesses’ access to the European Union’s (EU) copyright laws, such as unregistered design rights, after Brexit.

Made.com launched a new crowdfunding platform for furniture design

Online furniture retailer Made.com looked to democratise design when it launched TalentLab this week. The new crowdsourcing and crowdfunding initiative allows emerging designers to have their products sold on its site.

Designers can upload their designs to the site, which will then be shortlisted by Made.com and showcased to its customers.

If a customer likes a particular design they can pledge a refundable deposit of up to £30, and the pieces with the most interest will then go into production.

Made.com design director Ruth Wasserman said she hopes that the platform will help up-and-coming designers “get a foothold in the industry”, while customers will be able to “get their hands on bold new designs”.

TalentLab launches in October 2017.

WPP merged its design consultancies

Jim Prior

Advertising giant WPP revealed plans to merge five of its design and brand consultancies this week, including Brand Union, The Partners, Lambie-Nairn, Addison Group and VBAT.

Current CEO of Lambie-Nairn and The Partners, Jim Prior, will be global CEO of the as-of-yet unnamed consultancy, and Brand Union CEO Simon Bolton will take up the role of executive chairman.

Prior cited doing “more great work” for “more clients” as one of the main reasons for merging the consultancies.

He added: “Any clients of the existing business today will find that with the new company they are going to have access to a whole new range of services that might not have existed for them before.”

The news came after WPP’s acquisition of formerly independent brand consultancy Design Bridge last month.

PriestmanGoode unveiled its designs for Hyperloop

PriestmanGoode announced it is designing the passenger capsules for high-speed transport system Hyperloop this week.

The consultancy revealed that Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) – the rival company to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One – commissioned it to design the interior and exterior of the passenger pods last year.

Both HTT and Hyperloop One are in the process of developing technologies capable of transporting people or cargo at near-supersonic speed in vacuum-sealed pods.

Concept images of PriestmanGoode’s designs were on display at London Design Festival’s Design Frontiers exhibition this week, and showed “virtual windows” that depict scenes outside of the Hyperloop, which will be completely enclosed and underground.

Each 30-metre-long capsule will be made out of a material developed by HTT called Vibranium, weigh 18,000 kilograms and carry 28-40 passengers at a time.

PriestmanGoode did not confirm when the final design for the capsules will be revealed.

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