The London Design Festival is over following another year of great successes. Between the 15 – 25 September the entire city was infused with a unique enthusiasm for all things design. As the home to some of the UK’s most innovative and internationally renowned contemporary designers and exhibition venues, Oxo Tower Wharf was not one to miss out on this citywide celebration of creativity. Just over a week on we look back at some of our highlights from the festival.
For the first time ever, we worked with sofa.com to transform gallery@oxo into the Oxo Design Hub. This space, filled with sofa.com’s gorgeous sofas and armchairs and several pieces from the designer-makers upstairs, provided the perfect information spot for people to recharge both their literal and mental batteries in-between LDF activities.
Many of the design studios based at Oxo Tower Wharf hosted workshops, open studios and talks including Wagumi’s introduction to the Japanese Tea Ceremony with Hagi pottery and kokedama moss ball tutorial and Designed in Colour‘s colour demonstrations and a referendum for new British Colour Standard colours. Several studios revealed their new products and bodies of work; Philip Watts launched their new lighting range cast in solid bronze and Josef Koppmann presented their intriguing ‘Objects of Light’ (pictured below), stylish candle-holders which challenge the form of marble by exposing it to precious metals.
Timepiece brand Mr Jones’ Watches commissioned Clifford Richards, the unstoppable 82-year old graphics luminary, to design their lovely owl-faced watch (pictured below).
On 21 September we hosted our late night event across Oxo Tower Wharf. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet and chat with the designer-makers themselves over a glass of fizz.
Independent jewellery collective, JeDeCo, who had each been set the creative brief of designing a contemporary piece of jewellery inspired by their countries of origin, revealed their fabulous creations on the night. For example, Danny Ries, from England, drew inspiration from the Queen Mother’s famous hats to create his hydrangea brooch (pictured below) and Spanish Laura Parra’s jewels were inspired by the reflections and corals of the Mediterranean.
SUCK UK celebrated their new flagship store opening. They invited visitors to propose new products, however outlandish, and drop them into their ‘suggestions box’, with a prize being awarded to the most innovative.
Meanwhile, Bramwell Brown celebrated the opening of their new shop hosting a fun evening of drinks and clock-making workshops. A highlight was the launch of their new ‘London’ Weather Clock’ (pictured below, third from left) designed by young, award-winning illustrator, Josh Patterson, who was there on the night. Building on the very British love for discussing the weather, the clock-cum-barometer measures the change in atmospheric pressure and translates this into a ‘Mechanimated’ forecast of Very Dry, Fair, Change, Rain or Stormy weather. Patterson’s beautiful illustrations depict well-known London icons, ranging from Tower Bridge and the London Eye to the red telephone box and black cab, as well as little people reacting to the forecasted weather.
Innermost celebrated ten years of calling Oxo their home by hosting a total of ten events at their newly refurbished showroom and bar, where their 2016 collection was on display for all to see. These included a silent auction for ten of their greatest designs, with all proceeds going to Macmillan as well as flash-mob free cocktail events to re-fuel tired LDF-goers, which they announced via Instagram. One visitor was lucky enough to win a coveted bottle of the limited edition Innermost gin on the 21 – (called Ginnermost, of course).
Meanwhile, in Bargehouse, we hosted the launch of Designersblock’s ‘Creative Matters’, an exciting 4-day programme of talks, installations and workshops in the week before Edition 19 of its design showcase. Creative Matters saw influential individuals and organisations including the Evening Standard’s Barbara Chandler, photographer Yeshen Venema, Confessions of a Design Geek and The National Autistic Society, among many others, tackling hot topics around how creatives, institutions and businesses are collaborating to anticipate, shape and stimulate future economies.
The atmospheric four-storey Bargehouse provided the perfect backdrop for Designersblock Edition 19, the multidisciplinary design showcase from over 100 independent designers, collectives and companies.
It is no easy feat to pick some standout examples from the incredible and inspiring variety of work on show. Here are just a few that caught our eye:
Lambert Kamp’s giant pneumatic tube lamp clock which welcomed you into Bargehouse.
Vanessa Harden’s project, The Subversive Gardener, inspired by public interventions connected to the guerrilla gardening subculture.
Wataru Kobayashi’s BUG BUG kit, a picnic set to promote people eating insects as a meal for a large-scale food crisis predicted in forthcoming 2050.
Camilla Barnard’s humorous cardboard cut-outs of mundane, everyday objects.
Winnie Hua’s interactive Rainbow waterfall.
We are already looking forward to next year, which will run 16 – 24 September 2017.
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