London Design Festival preview – Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum will, for the fourth year running, be at the heart of the London Design Festival in 2012.

Walk The Light, by Cinimod Studio
Prism, by Keiichi Matsuda

As well as existing design shows including the Heatherwick retrospective and Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950, there are a host of new LDF-specific installations, some of which will be in ‘secret’ spaces not usually open to the public.

The headline act is surely Keiichi Matsuda’s ambitious Prism, a giant sculptural lantern hanging in the V&A’s cupola – the highest point of the museum.

Prism is made up of a series of screens, on to which fast-moving streams of data about London will be visualised (taken from here with an aim to represent the complexity of the capital.

Another key installation, Nendo’s Mimicry Chairs project, uses the museum itself as a canvas and inspiration.

Walk The Light, by Cinimod Studio
Mimicry chairs, by Nendo

The project comprises a series of installations of white, metal chairs dotted around the museum. The chairs are arranged to mimic their surroundings – climbing stairs, for example, or stacked up near lift entrances.

Over at the Henry Cole Wing Grand Staircase, Rolf Sachs has created an installation in which individual drops of primary-coloured inks are dropped into a vast glass tank of illuminated liquid, to form clouds of colour.

Prism, by Keiichi Matsuda
Rolf Sachs installation, Henry Cole Staircase

The John Madejski Garden will play host to the Bench Years installation, co-ordinated by Established & Sons, which features 10 one-off benches designed by 10 different designers – one for each year of the LDF.

Martino Gamper, Barber Osgerby, Konstantin Grcic and Jasper Morrison are among the bench-creators.

Bench by Konstantin Grcic
Bench by Konstantin Grcic

And continuing the seating theme, design products students from the Royal College of Art have worked with the American Hardwood Export Council on the Out of the Woods installation, which has seen 12 individual chairs designed using American hardwood.

Other highlights include Lost – A film by David Kassman in collaboration with Sodastream, which addresses the problem of plastic waste in oceans and is being screened in the V&A’s Lecture Theatre during LDF, and the Art in Miniature stamp design exhibition, being curated by Hat-Trick Design.

And on their way into the V&A, visitors can pass through Dominic Harris and Cinimod Studio’s Walk the Light installation, which will see a beam of bright, white light tracking people walking down the Exhibition Road Tunnel.

Walk The Light, by Cinimod Studio
Walk The Light, by Cinimod Studio

London Design Festival runs from 14-23 September. For more information visit

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