The festival in Shoreditch

Perhaps one of the best things about the London Design Festival is the chance to hear some of the most interesting names in the business speak about their practice, current issues and the future of design.

There’s a host of speakers on the books for the Anti Design Festival’s afternoon of short presentations this Friday, including Peter Kennard, Adrian Shaughnessy, Stuart Semple, Jonathan Barnbrook and ADF daddy Neville Brody.

The ADF headquarters at London's 28 Redchurch Street
The ADF headquarters at London’s 28 Redchurch Street

It should be a great opportunity to hear the thinking behind what has so far been a thoroughly inspiring ADF programme. Tickets are available from the ADF HQ at 28 Redchurch Street from today or on the door, priced at £30 or £25 for students.

Elsewhere in Shoreditch, there’s tonnes of little exhibitions and installations on the LDF trail to explore, away from the main attractions of Tent, Rocket Gallery and ADF.

Although yesterday’s glimpse of an ‘Indian Summer’ was wonderful, it did somewhat spoil the effect of Kei Ito’s Sitting the Light Fantastic installation in the beautiful Geffrye Museum gardens.

Kei Ito’s Sitting the Light Fantastic installation
Kei Ito’s Sitting the Light Fantastic installation

The installation consists of oversized chairs and lamps, low tables with what appear to be cloud formations, and birdhouse structures. Inspired by the Victorian gas light-fitting in the museum’s 1870 period room, it aims to depict objects from the perspective of a stork flying away from the museum.

Mathmos showroom on Kingsland Road
Mathmos showroom on Kingsland Road

The Liliputian feel was more than a little reminiscent of childhood, bringing us on to another childhood memory: lava lamps.  For fans of space age retail interiors, the Mathmos showroom on Kingsland Road is showcasing the new imposing columns of their bespoke Monster lamps, and the new Smart Astro, which allows the user to pause the lamp on their favourite colour.

A stroll back up Kingsland Road takes you to Lifestyle Bazaar’s Tectonic Plates exhibition. More than 100 artists and designers have created a plate for the show, which is on its three-week stop in London from New York. Now destined for Tokyo, the designs range from slogans and a startlingly realistic half-eaten English breakfast to a woman with legs-akimbo; and form an exploration of the collision of art and industry.

Lifestyle Bazaar’s Tectonic Plates exhibition
Lifestyle Bazaar’s Tectonic Plates exhibition

The Clerks House’s Milk Concept Boutique is currently exhibiting a new Fornasetti vase collection – Variations on a Theme – by Bitossi Ceramiche. Like a peculiar little family, each vase is subtly different from the last – sporting eye-parches, clown make-up and comedy noses. Their ceramic visages are imbued with a distinct personality, and originate from a chalk mould of a vase designed by Piero Fornasetti in the 50s, which was never produced.

The work of Debra Franses Bean and Bitossi Ceramiche at The Clerk's House
The work of Debra Franses Bean and Bitossi Ceramiche at The Clerk’s House

Also on show was an installation of new works by emerging artist and designer Debra Franses Bean. Taking on a pop-art aesthetic, her transparent handbag-like sculptures encapsulate children’s toys and trinkets (DW’s favourite was a My Little Pony Doll) inside clear cast resin. You can’t help but be reminded of Damien Hirst but, thankfully, butterflies, pocket watches and dinky car models replace of butchered farm animals. Bean describes the illuminated bags as ‘psychological pieces’ – or a voyeuristic way to enter their owner’s universe; as each is handmade to create a bespoke piece.

For more information about other LDF events, big or small, see www.londondesignfestival.com.

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