Now in its eighth year, The London Design Festival is firmly established as a major cultural and commercial event. Last year London hosted a rich mix of over 200 commissioned installations and exhibitions plus over 150 launches, private views and parties, cementing its reputation as the design capital of the world. The 2010 Festival promises an even greater diversity of activity taking place across the capital – from the Festival hub at the V&A to spaces across the city filled with design from partners across the UK and around the world.
Speaking at the press conference to launch the 2010 Festival programme, Ben Evans, Festival Director outlined some of the major highlights of the Festival, saying: “This year our focus is even more on new ideas with major commissions at the V&A, Trafalgar Square, and at Southbank Centre. However, most of the Festival is made up of the 200 plus partner events that is rich with new work; that network gets stronger with many new partners and projects adding to the mix. Importantly this includes activities from all over the world.”
Many Londoners saw the spectacular installation in Trafalgar Square during the 2009 Festival. The Tournament, by Spanish designer Jaime Hayón, featured a giant chessboard with 2m high ceramic chess pieces, providing both a design statement and compelling entertainment for the public.
This year promises an equally stunning and exciting spectacle with an immense mechanical octopus taking up residence in Trafalgar Square. The Festival – working with leading car designer and manufacturer Audi – has commissioned German designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram. Their creation, Outrace, will take the form of six massive industrial robotic arms from Audi’s production line. Custom software developed by the designers will allow members of the public to temporarily control the installation and write texts in light traces drawn by the synchronised mechanical tentacles. The resulting ‘light paintings’ will be recorded using specialised high-definition video equipment and published online.
The work Weisshaar and Kram, described by the International Herald Tribune as ‘poster boys of the new breed of digital product designers’, focuses on the relationship between the virtual and the physical world, resulting in a new form of integrated product and process development — and a new way of thinking in design.
The London Design Festival, London, UK
18 – 26 September 2010