The Spaces, September 2015
While most of the London Design Festival is a showcase of products and furniture, there are a number of installations casting new light on the city, that promise to make even locals see the capital’s buildings and spaces with fresh eyes. Here Katie Treggiden pulls together 10 of the best.
1. Faye Toogood’s Drawing Room
As part of Somerset House’s Ten Designers in the West Wing, Faye Toogood will uproot a derelict country house and plant it in the heart of the city. Charcoal drawings on plastic sheets lining the space will evoke the interior, furnished with Toogood’s Roly-Poly collection remodelled in charcoal-coloured fibreglass, a hand-woven rug and ‘stray’ origami chickens and ducks.
2. A Bullet From A Shooting Star by Alex Chinneck
Comprising 450 pieces of latticed-steel, Alex Chinneck’s inverted replica of an electricity pylon leans precariously over a road on the Greenwich Peninsula. “I was inspired by the incredible history of industry and power generation on the site,” he says. As well as referencing the past, the 15 tonne sculpture points to 15,000 new homes planned for the site.
3. Makers of East London
A Tent London exhibition and Geoffrye Museum pop-up shop celebrate new book Makers of East London, in which railway arches, apartments and former factories belie craftspeople making everything from spoons to shoes. “We hope people will see the thread that connects the history of East London with the modern wave of creativity,” says Martin Usbourne of publisher Hoxton Mini Press.
4. The Tower of Babel
Barnaby Barford cycled over 1000 miles, photographing shop facades in every London postcode to create 3,000 bone china shop models for his three-metre Tower of Babel installation in the V&A. The artist says the piece is both a celebration of London’s trading history and a commentary on his view of its population’s transformation from citizens into merely consumers.
5. 41: A House For London
Carl Turner Architects has created a home in two shipping containers. “The use of shipping containers is a proven method for quickly constructing durable, adaptable buildings around the world,” says the team. “However, it has not been seriously applied to how the London housing crisis calls for faster, more flexible solutions to inhabit under-used land.”
6. Colourful Crossings
Better Bankside has commissioned EXYZT, Adam Frank and Morgan Silk to transform busy Southwark Street, which can be a barrier to people exploring the neighbourhood, into an ‘Avenue of Art,’ taking art of the galleries and onto the streets. “We want to make Bankside a better place to live, work and visit,” says chairman Donald Hyslop.
7. Sounds Like Home
An audio installation in Made.com’s Soho showroom explores the changing meaning of home. “I grew up in seventeen homes in five countries,” explains artist Haeyoun Kim. “Memories attached to each house melted together and got lost.” To capture memories of home, Kim translates user-interaction with domestic spaces into a melody, amassing a layered soundtrack of different homes over time.
8. Connected Streets
The Future Cities Catapult has curated prototypes and talks exploring how ‘smart’ objects, buildings and infrastructure might change London. “Whilst the dimensions of our streets remain the same, the dynamics of how we use and inhabit them evolves with changing technologies,” says the team. “What might these dynamics feel like in the time of the Internet of Things?”
9. Brixton Street Gallery
Following the successful launch of Brixton Design Week in 2014, architects Squire and Partners will create a ‘street gallery’ at the former Bon Marche department store. “We have pulled together a dynamic community of Brixton-based artists and designers to bring the store back to life and animate the surrounding streets and neighbourhood,” says partner Tim Gledstone.
10. Brixton Pleasure Garden
2MZ has collaborated with Black Cultural Archives to transform the heritage centre’s courtyard to celebrate Black Georgians, an exhibition challenging preconceptions of the black community in Georgian Britain. “Brixton is a vibrant place, so it made sense to look around us for inspiration,” says 2MZ founder Lloyd Touwen. “Ghanian ‘kente’ cloth was the starting point for our colour combinations.”
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