Review of the year – Design festivals

Calendar mainstay the London Design Festival put on its largest week to date with over 300 events, a barometer for its good health.

Perspectives by John Pawson at St Paul's Cathedral
Perspectives by John Pawson at St Paul’s Cathedral

However, with its Arts Council grant cut and funding body the London Development Agency set to close next year, the festival is likely to look more to sponsorship and other funding sources in the future.

At this year’s festival, architect John Pawson’s commissioned St Paul’s Cathedral installation was the stand-out – and festival HQ the Victoria and Albert Museum housed the highlights.

Timber Wave by AL_A: Amanda Levete Architects
Timber Wave by Amanda Levete Architects

There was an Amanda Levete-designed Timber Wave for the V&A Grand Entrance, which gave way to a Bouroullec Brothers collaboration with textile company Kvadrat in the Raphael Gallery, the latest in 3D printing spread over the museum in Murray Moss and Materialises installation series, and the widely acclaimed Power of Making exhibition, celebrating all that is painstaking and inventive.

Crochetdermy Bear by Shauna Richardson
Crochetdermy Bear by Shauna Richardson

Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec Textile Field collaboration with Kvadrat
Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec Textile Field collaboration with Kvadrat

At the end of the festival, chairman Sir John Sorrell led a trade trip to China for the inaugural Beijing Design Week, to lend advice and promote UK design.

Onedotzero Adventures in Motion, the  moving image, animation and interaction festival celebrated its 15th year, and not deterred by losing its Arts Council funding, brought together festival staples and new programming.

Wow+Flutter forecasted what’s to come in moving image and screened a particularly beautiful interpretation of the Barcelona versus Real Madrid El Classico in a piece by Richard Swarbrick for Sky Sports.

Kill Your Coworkers music video by Mike Winkleman for Flying Lotus
Kill Your Coworkers music video by Mike Winkleman for Flying Lotus

The Wavelength programme covered off music videos including Mike Winkleman’s work for Flying Lotus and Todor+Petru’s video for The Thuderclaps.

Code Warriers looked back at ten years of programming and a new type of film maker, while project mapping was put under the microscope and a moving Onedotzero identity was created with lasers by United Visual Artists.

Also on London’s Southbank this year, backdropped by the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Festival of Great Britain celebrations, The Royal Festival Hall was playing host to Vintage festival.

Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway at Vintage

Moving into its second year it took in design, music and fashion from 1920-1980, with spaces designed by founders Wayne and Geradine Hemingway.

An announcement has just been made that next year’s event will head to the Duke of Buccleuch’s estate, Boughton House in Northamptonshire from 13-15 July. 

The 60th anniversary birthday celebrations also saw Wayne Hemingway curate a museum on the Southbank centre site this year where memorabilia from the 1951 event was shown and the designers Robin and Lucienne Day celebrated. 

Internationally the global fairs and conferences Milan, Miami, Indaba, and Design Yatra all went ahead – with Indaba, in particular, hailed as a success.

Over at Cannes Lions: International Festival of Creativity, spin-off Cannes Also which looks to showcase creatives’ personal projects, was curated by The Brand Union and Lambie-Nairn. The WPP consultancies created a book showcasing the entrants with a bid to break a Guiness World Record.

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