Hammersmith & Fulham cemented its place as one of the leading design destinations in the country during the recent London Design Festival (15-23 September).
The newly formed West Kensington Design District proved to be a real hit with visitors throughout the week-long celebration, which ended on Sunday.
The design district consisted of 100% Design, the UK’s longest standing annual design event, at Olympia London, rare guided tours at the V&A Museum’s Blythe House and a show from Polish design house Zieta at the Arthill Gallery in North End Road.
And there were even more events over in the south of the borough at Europe’s largest interior design destination, the Design Centre, in Chelsea Harbour, as well as the borough’s first ever biotech festival from Open Cell at the Old Laundry Yard in Shepherds Bush.
“The London Design Festival showcased the success of our arts strategy to bring more cultural events to the borough,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for the Economy and the Arts.
“And the new West Kensington Design District has moved us one step closer to becoming one of the leading arts destinations in the country as we aim to give more residents from a wider range of backgrounds the opportunity to experience and participate cultural activities.”
The 24th edition of the annual design event, which attracted more than 27,000 visitors including architects, designers and interior specialists, took place at Olympia London in Hammersmith Road over four days.
It included talks from some of the world’s biggest names in design such as Thomas Heatherwick, whose works included the Rolling Bridge, the new Routemaster bus and the 2012 London Olympic cauldron.
There was even the chance to see Tesla’s latest invention, Powerwall, to help accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
The device integrates with solar to store excess energy generated during the day making it available only when you need it.
Outside of the exhibition centre, emerging talent Lou Corio Randall displayed his first commission at the London Design Festival.
His Tube Line street furniture is a mix of bench and bicycle rack which are formed from a single continuous curved line of steel tube which appears to exit the ground, twist into the shape of the object and re-enter the ground.
The pieces were coloured according to the local underground lines associated with Olympia station and outside Shepherds Bush station, where Lou also exhibited his work.
“It has been a great festival,” said Lou. “It was fantastic to have my work outside such a historic building like Olympia.
“People’s response to my street furniture has been really encouraging. They were eager to try it out and were even trying to sit down on it while we were installing it.”
This was the first time Lou had been commissioned to feature in the London Design Festival after only graduating from Kingston University last year.
Residents also had the chance to take rare guided tours around the V&A Museum’s huge collection in Blythe House, based in West Kensington.
Within the former Post Office Savings Bank building in Blythe Road, visitors were shown the museum’s furniture and woodwork collection which consists of more than 14,000 pieces from Britain, Europe and America, dating from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Another tour showcased the V&A’s theatre and performance collection which includes an original storm trooper kit from the Star Wars films and the archives of Oscar-winning actress Vivien Leigh.
The fun did not stop there as visitors were treated to a special event on Thursday (20 September) which explored the legacy of Frankenstein on page, stage and screen alongside special guest Sara Karloff – the daughter of the legendary actor Boris Karloff.
Oskar Zieta founded the company in post-communist Poland and went on to devise the unique technique of inflating welded sheets of metal with compressed air, to create his now renowned Plopp stool and Fidu benches.
The ‘Expansion’ exhibition illustrated the company’s journey to its latest breakthrough technique of thermal colouring that uses high temperature to give objects a unique colour finish.
The Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour held the Focus 18 show which included more than 100 sessions, talks, demonstrations, workshops and discovery tours.
International artist Moritz Waldemeyer was commissioned to create a new installation celebrating light, colour and movement which lit up the 12-metre walkway in the Design Centre using advanced LED technology.
Waldemeyer has previously worked with the likes of U2, Rihanna, Versace and Cirque de Soleil.
The Design Centre is Europe’s largest interior design hub with 120 showrooms and more than 600 international brands.
It has been used to source lighting for prestigious hotel Claridge’s, leathers for the Hilton hotel in Dubai and handmade wallpapers for the Shangri-La in Paris to name but a few.
Other exhibitions at the centre have included ‘Marilyn Monroe: Legacy of a Legend’ which showed never-seen-before personal treasures and original costumes from films like Some Like It Hot.
The success of the London Design Festival events which took place in the borough coincides with the H&F Council’s Art Strategy (pdf) to make the borough one of the country’s leading destinations for the arts.
Its core aims include:
- Destination: Boosting the local economy by developing and promoting a thriving borough for the arts
- Creation: Supporting people to create and produce excellent art of all kinds
- Inclusion: Giving residents from a wide range of backgrounds more opportunity to experience and participate in artistic and cultural activity.
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