Hannah Smith, Fashion Communication and Promotion Student at Nottingham Trent, attended the festival of design to scope out the talent.

In London, September is overflowing with creativity, innovation and originality; leaving the other 11 months to live in its inspiring shadow. From Fashion Week to the London Fashion Film Festival to the glorious London Design Festival, there is something for any age, culture and profession.

From a students’ perspective and entering my third year this October, having the opportunity to dose myself up on all things art, culture and design in September couldn’t be timed better. Preparing me to fuel future projects with inspiring exhibitions in mind, and imagery bursting with upcoming trends in fashion, interior and architecture.

The London Design Festival is held annually across London. This year, its doors opened on the 15th September and closed on the 23rd. A huge array of artists and designers exhibited their work in some of the most creative ways imaginable. From landmark projects spreading across open places, to commissions held at the V&A, to exhibitions set up in the designers’ own creative spaces. I also attended the 100% Design show held at Olympia this year, not part of the Design Festival, however it was conveniently Iopen from the 19th to the 22nd of September. This, in true Olympia trade-show style, was filled to the brim with stalls, pop-up shops and innovative products. They presented over 400 international brands who are leading the way in interior design, and not to mention the emerging talent within the industry.

Our first port of call for the day was British-born designer Tom Dixon, hosting his incredibly immersive exhibition as part of LDF called ELECTROANALOGUE at the Coal Drops Yard, the brand’s new HQ and flagship store. This beautifully rustic, industrial backdrop marks the spot for Dixon’s detailed interiors, extensive installations and architectural design. ELECTROANALOGUE stimulates several senses, involving sight, sound and touch. An add on to this inspiring exhibit was the Bill Amberg Print display. Some beautiful designs printed by him and other designers using leather and other effective materials.

After this exhibition, we veered away from the festival to visit the 100% Design show. This show was not only enormous, but it was overflowing with up and coming design studios, innovative technology and interior trend forecasting for the year ahead. I attended with another student specialising in textiles. Her perspective on the displays gave me a whole new insight into the world of design. Dissecting the brains of those around you can be one of the simplest yet effective ways to gain inspiration. Her interest lay with lighting; considering at every left turn there was a lighting stall, 100% Design did not disappoint. The innovation was great to see: reflective lighting, cable cords with bulbs attached to fire lit walls. Designers were using any means necessary to connect with the consumers’ senses. I am looking forward to stores adopting these unique trends in the upcoming year.

Another trend that stuck out throughout 100% Design was block coloured interior. Bold, eyecatching art deco inspired sofas and arm chairs. For example, a bright pink sofa would be the focal point of any room and raise eyebrows, however the mock-up living rooms at 100% Design made these features appear so natural and accepted.

And finally, we took the Piccadilly line straight to South Kensington where we were met with Brompton’s design district. The V&A almost acts as a centre for the London Design Festival where visitors can plan their day around it. It hosts a huge selection of commissions in spaces within the gallery along with outdoor installations such as MultiPly, a landscape project made through a collaboration with Waugh Thistleton Architects and Arup.

My highlights from the V&A were firstly Dazzle Pentagram X 14-18 NOW. This commission is inspired by the First World War which makes it immediately more intriguing, as it has been linked to the world of design. Dazzle was as impressive as it sounds, I entered through a mirrored doorway in the Creative Studio of the V&A; then instantly greeted with animmersive monochrome haven. The Dazzle monochrome camouflage was painted on the surface of ships during the First World War. The Shapes, patterns and lines were an attempt to confuse the enemy in the stormy conditions.

Second highlight was The Onion Farm by designer Henrik Vibskov, this was part of the Tapestries gallery, a unique space kept at the correct temperature and lighting for the tapestries exhibited there. The Onion Farm is inspired by something growing in the dark which in most cases means underground. This tapestry is interactive, visitors are encouraged to interact with it. I found the shapes and colours used fascinating, as well as the contrast between the natural earth onions grow in compared to this exhibit.

Then, finally, we rounded off our day of art, culture and inspo by visiting the MultiPly installation from Waugh Thistleton Architects. This sustainable construction in the Sackler Courtyard of the V&A was not only impressive but incredibly satisfying to know the materials used were recycled. AHEC’s European Director stated, “MultiPly explores a new, more sustainable way of building, bringing together a readily available carbon-negative material – American tulipwood – with modular design.” The maze-like tower was incredibly interactive and great for the public.
To gain more of an understanding or to see the other designers that were involved in the festival check out their social media accounts: @l_d_f_official ; @100percentdesign

Images Via Hannah Smith

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