The London Design Festival kicks off this weekend, so we give you all the unmissable events happening across the city during this celebration of creativity.
Ardent followers of the iconoclastic online design magazine Sight Unseen and its equally mesmerising Instagram account rejoice: co-founders and purveyors of great design taste, Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, will be bringing their curatorial eyes and a canon of 13 US design talents to the London Design Fair.
For the second year of its Guest Country initiative, 2017 sees the spotlight cast stateside for a coast-to-coast overview of contemporary American design. Furniture, lighting, textiles and sculpture; the Assembly exhibition promises to demonstrate the diverse aesthetic and myriad making techniques shaping the country’s contemporary design scene today.
Mondrian London + Bompas & Parr: The Spa of Unconscious Desires
Yet again, the flavour-based design duo Bompas & Parr will be taking a subversive, experiential twist on the senses. This year they collaborate with the Mondrian London for a one-off, late-night spa experience that explores the antithesis of the conventional world of wellness.
Intrepid guests to the hotel’s agua Bathhouse & Spa can experience a play on the predictable norms of treatments, with a collection of spa-inspired design objects that amplify one’s feelings of discomfort – think whole body wraps for ultimate sensory deprivation, edible masks and volcanic stones for creating seismic sound baths. There’ll be curated cocktails on hand by the award-winning Ryan Chetiyawardana.
Water at the Copeland Gallery
For those more interested in speculative design solutions, head down to Peckham’s Copeland Gallery for Water, an exhibition responding to the vast and pivotal role water plays in our natural and human environments.
With diverse backgrounds and disciplines, the 13 designers have interpreted their individual notion of water across a vast spectrum of products, projects and installations – some pose questions, others propose solutions. Some, like Kirsi Enkovaara’s Landscapes of Water sculptural pieces explore the aesthetic results of water’s movement. Expect an array of materials including ceramics, electronics, lighting, robotics and, of course, water itself.
SPACE10: Exploring the Spaces of Tomorrow
Ever thought about what London might look like in 10 – 20 years time? You only have to experience the overcrowded, rush-hour commute or witness the sprawling effects of urbanisation to know that it’s an intimidating concept. When the proportion of the country’s population living in cities by 2050 will be 70%, how can the creative industry help to create more meaningful, affordable and sustainable spaces?
Space10 – IKEA’s research laboratory – will be exploring this pertinent question at their pop-up in Shoreditch: a weeklong series of events alongside a top-notch roster of doers and thinkers. Materials agency, Ma-tt-er, is just one of the collaborators who’ll be delving into how materials and textures affect both our experience and understanding of space. A natural dyeing workshop to show how red cabbage can be used to measure pollution levels is just one example of how we might envision our environmental space.
The well-established design district of Brompton will play host to a cluster of projects aimed at expanding the remit of design and stretching the imagination beyond product. Deftly oscillating between art and design, SEEDS gallery welcomes the work of Italian designer Matteo Cibic. Dermapoliesis imagines hypothetical creatures of the future, developed from 2-dimensional paper into digital, ceramic, glass, fur and even scent-based forms.
Pop to over to Cromwell Place where Peter Pilotto & Friends are taking over a townhouse in its entirety, for a fusion of fashion and form in a domestic setting. The fashion label’s autumn/winter 2017 show was filled with eclectic objects including paintings, sculpture and soft furnishings by the likes of Martino Gamper, Bethan Laura Wood and Jochen Holz, and so will the dynamic three-floor takeover.
Something has gone awry at The Conran Shop’s Private View. Arbiters of all things good-looking It’s Nice That partner again with the retail destination for a tongue-in-cheek response to the usual one-night spectacular. Instead their month-long soirée of playful window installations will reveal the chaotic aftermath of a glittering occasion.
Main image: Studio Proba, as part of the Assembly exhibition