London Design Festival '17


25 September 2017

Plywood: Material of the Modern World

The trip down to London for the Design Festival started with a visit to the V&A for Plywood: Material of the Modern World. An insightful exhibition showing the history of the material and the uses which it has had over time.

Naturally, for a plywood exhibition, there was no shortage of examples of beautifully moulded chairs - perfectly sculpted using the nature of the material, and layered structure, to create curvaceous forms. Along with a range of furniture, the exhibition also depicted the less well-known, or glamorous, uses of the material. Ranging from marine/aero use in transportation to the innovative, and lesser known, Eames design of the leg splint. 

The exhibition not only offered a history of plywood uses, but also its importance in the digital age. From fast and accessible CNC production to more recent methods in which the material can be formed. The exhibition highlighted the versatility of the material, as well as, the importance of sustainable and ethical sourcing of Plywood.

Design Frontiers at Somerset House

Design frontiers at Somerset House, as the name suggests, offered the most future-facing exhibition of the festival. 

In the courtyard, a live installation from Pentatonic saw visitors waste be transformed using their ‘trashpresso’, an off grid, solar powered recycling plant. The process shreds, clean, heats and forms the waste into hexagonal tile piece, which were then added to spheres to form a growing exhibition. Most impressive was the small scale at which this process happened, a transportable ‘mini factory’ could allow this process to happen virtually anywhere.   

Inside Somerset House, Prototypa, an exhibition from Swedish design studio Form Us With Love examined the design process through various ways of prototyping. An impressive collection of prototypes, ranging from watches to synthesisers, demonstrated the journey from quick and dirty models through to precision 3D prints. 

Jaguar showcased their way of working, through renders and clay modelling used in the automotive design process. They also provided a glimpse into the future of travel through an immersive exhibition combining a full scale car model along with cutting edge visuals overlaid, taking visitors on a journey through the future of travel. 

In contrast to the futuristic installation from Jaguar, Sebastian Cox and Ninela Ivanoras exhibit, Mycelium + Timber explored the potential of a mushroom fungus-based material to create furniture. The unique material is created through using a combination of scrap willow sliced into thin strips, which is woven together inside a mould, a fungus is then added and cultivated to form the material.

The material was used to create a range of lamps and stools, all with a truly unique organic surface finish due to the natural process which the material undergoes.

Space 10

Carrying on the 'future-facing' nature of the festival, an interesting installation Exploring spaces of tomorrow from future living lab, Space 10 questioned our connection with the food we eat and its sourcing. Examining the use of smart home technology and hydroponics to change the way we grow our food, this exhibition provided a far more sustainable approach to conventional growing methods. 

Space10 allowed us to question the way in which we well as providing a couple of delicious salads!