ICA to become ‘mansion’ for London Design Festival

The Institute of Contemporary Arts is to transform itself into a spectacular working mansion for this year’s London Design Festival, complete with a mock baroque dining room, and upstairs beds for visitors.

In a bid to become the hottest exhibition of the city-wide extravaganza this September, the ICA has quietly teamed up with an ambitious and diverse design team comprising former Design Museum curator Libby Sellers, designer Russell Sage, design journalist Marcus Fairs and former head of marketing at Tom Dixon, Jacob Peres. Iram Quraishi is leading the exhibition project for the ICA.

The move comes amid unconfirmed reports that the London Design Festival organisers are hoping to make use of the renovated Royal Festival Hall for the duration of the festival. By way of reference to the ICA’s Carlton Terrace address, the name chosen for the design haunt for the festivities will be No 12. Its interiors will be made over in the style of a grand London house by a cohort of up-and-coming designers, who will each be given a room to design.

Fredrickson Stallard has been charged with creating the dining room in the ICA’s long ground-floor gallery space, while a designer is understood to have been appointed to design a digital ballroom.

Other designers, so far unnamed, will be commissioned to design the library, a drawing room, a jungle-inspired bathroom and the ‘boudoir’, which will house sleeping quarters for the more daring. Nine will be appointed in total.

‘It’s all absolutely usable – if you want to sleep there, you can,’ says Sage.

‘The whole point is to create a working house that is totally usable and highly functional. It’s going to be a place to have some serious fun in.’

Park Studio has been briefed to create the graphics and branding for the No 12 event.

Last year, the London Development Agency-backed design showcase the Design Embassy – hosted by UK Trade and Investment and created by Dixon, Tim Pyne and Sage – was the cornerstone of the ICA’s presence during the festival. It is expected to make its second showing this year, though its location has still not been confirmed.

• No 12 design mansion, ICA
• Tent London, Truman Brewery
• 100% Design, Earls Court 1&2 and Olympia
• London Design Festival, Royal Festival Hall?

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