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The London Design Festival at the Victoria and Albert

For 2012, the London Design Festival will continue its successful residence at the V&A, this will be the fourth year the museum and festival have partnered, bringing the many disciplines of design together.




In previous years, the Festival has created a number of unforgettable installations and displays, from a beautiful staircase created from picture frames by Stuart Haygarth, to AL_A’s technically brilliant Timber Wave structure which cascaded in dramatic fashion from the Grand Entrance on to the street.

During the ten days of the 2012 Festival, the V&A will provide a central hub for the capital’s major celebration of design, with a rich and varied programme of events, installations and talks that will appeal across a broad spectrum of visitors, from design aficionados to families. From landmark projects to innovative installations, the Festival at the V&A will showcase design that is thought provoking, imaginative and always inspirational.

This year, the London Design Festival has been working closely with the Museum to utilise ‘secret spaces’ within this vast edifice. During this year’s Festival, visitors will be able to experience two spectacular site-specific installations – Veuve Clicquot Prism and The Journey of a Drop – both specially- commissioned projects will appear in hidden parts of the Museum.

Veuve Clicquot Prism by Keiichi Matsuda

As soon as the visitor enters the Grand Entrance of the V&A, they can look upwards to view part of one the Festival’s most exciting installations.  Talented designer Keiichi Matsuda has been commissioned by the Festival and Veuve Clicquot, the Champagne brand with a long heritage in design and innovation, to create Veuve Clicquot Prism, an installation that presents a very different view of London. Matsuda is interested in the dissolving boundaries between virtual and physical, and works with video, architecture and interactive media to propose new perspectives on the city. Veuve Clicquot Prism presents an alternative view of London; using the unseen data flows in the capital such as transport updates and surveillance cameras, which are then interpreted visually.

The Journey of a Drop’ by Rolf Sachs

Conceptual designer Rolf Sachs has responded to the grandeur of the V&A’s Henry Cole Wing Grand Staircase with an evocative installation that fully exploits its soaring height. The striking space is open to the public for the first time during the Festival. There is purity to the concept of this installation; individual drops of three primary-coloured inks are released from the great height of the staircase in measured intervals. Spectators are able to watch the drops of ink land with precision into a vast glass tank of illuminated liquid, exploding into organic colour clouds; each one different and mesmerising in form.


Mimicry Chairs by Nendo

Mimicry Chairs, a series of elegant chair installations appearing in locations throughout the Museum, has been designed by Nendo – a Japanese studio that has emerged as one of the most dynamic design groups of the last decade. Working in contrast to the often-ornate Museum surroundings, the studio has created a simple chair archetype made from pressed and punched metal painted white, giving it an almost ghost-like appearance.



‘Walk the Light’ by Philips and Cinimod Studio

London Design Festival is collaborating with Philips and designer Dominic Harris with his team at Cinimod Studio to create a temporary lighting installation in the underground tunnel entrance to the Museum. This innovative lighting installation will be controlled by visitors’ movement through the space. As a person enters the installation, they are illuminated by a white band of light that tracks them as they move through the tunnel. As one person passes, the white light jumps to the next arrival. Either side of the white light are two different colour fields which vary in hue and saturation.  As the light moves from person to person, both leaving and entering the V&A, a collective experience is projected and shared, uniting a group of previous strangers.

Bench Years

London Design Festival is collaborating with the British furniture and lighting producer Established & Sons to create a series of one-off benches made from a wide range of materials. Designers Barber Osgerby, Fernando Brizio, Martino Gamper, Konstantin Grcic, Sam Hecht & Kim Colin (Industrial Facility), AL_A, Jasper Morrison, Luca Nichetto, Felix de Pass and Alexander Taylor will each collaborate with an individual supplier to design a bench that accentuates the inherent attributes of a specific material such as Corian, cork, mosaic, steel, wood, marble and ceramic. The resulting family of benches will be exhibited collectively within the John Madejski Garden of the Museum.

Out of the Woods: Adventures of 12 Hardwood Chairs

An innovative collaboration between the Royal College of Art Design products programme and the American Hardwood Export Council offers a fascinating approach to working with an age-old material – American hardwood. Out of the Woods explores the creative and environmental potential of this naturally renewable material by looking at the life cycle of each product. Working with British furniture producer Benchmark, internationally renowned for its craftsmanship in wood, RCA students – under tutors Sebastian Wrong (Established & Sons) and Harry Richardson (Committee) – have each designed a chair or seat using American hardwood.

SodaStream film screening

Throughout the week, ‘Lost’, a short film by conceptual artist David Kassman in collaboration with SodaStream will be screened in the V&A’s Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre, addressing the environmentally damaging plastic waste in our oceans.

Talks and Events at the V&A

The Museum will host a series of events as part of the London Design Festival, with over 60 talks, workshops and seminars taking place over the Festival period. Events include a daily drop-in Digital Hub in the Sackler Centre, design workshops, and a wide variety of talks by London Design Festival partners and collaborators.



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