LDF 2018 – 5 Must-Sees at the V&A

Five FizzPicks at the V&A for London Design Festival, including architecture, installations and dazzling pattern

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

A magnet for design fans, the Victoria and Albert Museum is the buzzy Festival Hub for London Design Festival for the 10th year running, with a cluster of special V&A Projects including architecture, installations and graphic design displays (until 23 September). You’ll also find exhibitions, talks, tours and workshops as part of LDF at the V&A. Here are five fresh designs you won’t want to miss…

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‘MULTIPLY’: WAUGH THISTLETON ARCHITECTS
Start at sculptural, recently launched space The Sackler Courtyard at the V&A, where temporary architectural pavilion ‘MultiPly’ has taken up residence (until 1 October). A nine-metre-high, modular maze-like installation made from American tulipwood, this pop-up project is by Waugh Thistleton Architects, supported by the American Hardwood Export Council and engineered by ARUP. It’s designed to be interactive, so you can clamber around inside. Come evening the pavilion glows with light by SEAM Design. Playfully appealing, it’s also a serious exploration of modular construction and sustainable housing, addressing climate change and housing need.

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‘THE ONION FARM’: HENRIK VIBSKOV
Danish fashion designer Henrik Vibskov is the wild mind behind ‘The Onion Farm’, a colourful installation in the V&A’s dimly lit, long, narrow Tapestries Gallery. Like a quirky car wash, it’s intended to brush visitors as they pass through, care of its vibrant, spindle-like industrial brushes and red textile ‘onions’. Somewhat surreal, it’s like something scary growing in the dark, but also riffs on ancient weaving techniques and nature scenes that chime in with the background tapestries. Don’t be afraid to get touchy-feely…

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‘DAZZLE’: PENTAGRAM x 14-18 NOV
Design studio Pentagram reinterprets experimental First World War ‘dazzle’ camouflage in ‘Dazzle’ at The Creative Studio (Level 4). Originally painted onto the surface of ships to protect them from U-boat attacks, ‘dazzle’ camouflage was first championed by British artist Norman Wilkinson. Inspired by Cubism, Vorticism and animal camouflage, he used graphic shapes to break up the profile of vessels against the sea and sky. Pentagram reinterprets the ‘dazzle’ motifs, taking them from pure graphic design into a typographic exploration. Letterforms and words from wartime poem ‘Suspense’ by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson are abstracted into immersive, monochrome patterns on a huge scale. Co-commissioned by 14-18 Now, which curates new work for the UK’s WW1 centenary commemorations, and Liverpool Biennial, this high-impact space is sure to dazzle.

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‘MEMORY & LIGHT’: ARVO PÄRT X ARUP
Music and design meet in ‘Memory & Light’, a collaborative installation by Estonian contemporary composer Arvo Pärt and engineers Arup curated by Clare Farrow. Conceived for the V&A’s Norfolk House Music Room, this multi-sensory experience was born from Pärt’s words: ‘I could compare my music to white light, which contains all colours. Only a prism can divide the colours and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener.’ Cue a transparent, curved Perspex screen and a luxe listening booth, upholstered in Poltrona Frau leather, allowing visitors to experience the music through state-of-the-art speakers.

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‘A FOUNTAIN FOR LONDON’: MICHAEL ANASTASSIADES
How do you combat disposable plastic water bottle use? Make using public water fountains a pleasure. Designer Michael Anastassiades has come up with ‘The Fleet’, a luxurious new prototype for ‘A Fountain for London’, on display in the V&A’s John Madejski Garden and Brompton Design District (at Thurloe Place opposite South Kensington station). Aimed at reviving drinking fountain culture, it’s an initiative by The London Fountain Co. (founded by publisher Charles Asprey and curator Jane Withers). Robust yet elegant, the fountain comes in bronze, stone or cast iron, and will include wall-mounted and park-friendly versions. Sipping free water never looked so eco-chic…

londondesignfestival.com; vam.ac.uk

The Victoria and Albert Museum is at Cromwell Road, London SW7; admission to most events is free.