The Deputy Director of LDF, Max Fraser, talks all things craft at this year's festival
The 12th London Design Festival is upon us and this year looks set to be a bumper year (although I’ve probably been heard saying this in previous years too!). At Festival HQ, together with our generous sponsors, we work all year to develop design installations that are constructed within the magnificent splendour of the Victoria & Albert Museum – our hub venue – and they’re executed with varying scale and ambition.
As each installation is bespoke, it’s fair to say that they’re all finely crafted too, with great care and attention poured into every detail of their design, engineering and construction. There is the grandiose scale of Double Space for BMW (an enormous kinetic sculpture designed by Barber Osgerby for the museum’s Raphael Gallery) and the gravity-defying curvature of the Crest aluminium feature by Zaha Hadid Architects in the garden.
Woodworking skill is demonstrated in The Wish List, where ten leading designers have invited ten emerging talents to design a wooden object they have always wanted in their home. Glass artist Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert is installing multiple mouth-blown glass cylinders in vacant space near the Glass Galleries, teasing us with the paradoxical strength and fragility of glass (he is also exhibiting at Gallery FUMI). I could go on but instead I’ll encourage you to explore these and other installations within the museum from 13 to 21 September.
Across the myriad events and exhibitions happening citywide, craft is certainly having its moment. Great celebrators of British craftsmanship, The New Craftsmen, have opened a shop in Mayfair and will be celebrating authentic skills and processes from the UK. Nearby, Sarah Myerscough Gallery is presenting On Display, a group show featuring work by contemporary British designers, David Gates and Peter Marigold, metal smith artist Grant McCaig, Austrian ceramicist Thomas Bohle and Japanese jewellery designer Mariko Sumioka.
Over at design gallery Mint in Brompton, the Elements of Craft exhibition focuses on the influence of craft in design. Vessel Gallery in Notting Hill is showcasing the Seams collection of ceramic earthenware pieces by Benjamin Hubert. In the east at Tent London, GLASSMANIA is a student & recent graduate exhibition of the Studios of Glass and Product Design of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, showcasing the diversity of processes that go into glassmaking.
Talks take place throughout the week on the subjects of craft and making. For example, the current maker revolution is discussed at a Global Design Forum talk on Monday 15 September at Protein Studio in Shoreditch.
Of course, don’t miss out on the Crafts Council’s own activities during the Festival. I have only scratched the surface. For lovers of craft, you will be spoilt at the festival. Enjoy the London Design Festival 2014!
London Design Festival is across London venues from 13 to 21 September