arrow-right chevron-down chevron-left chevron-left chevron-right chevron-right close facebook instagram pinterest play search shallow-chevron-down shallow-chevron-up soundcloud twitter
Art Articles

48 hours in London during Design Week

Sep 20, 2018

48 hours in London during Design Week


The 16th edition of the London Design Festival is underway, running from the 15th to 23rd of September. Spread across different districts throughout the city, I spent a day in London navigating the traffic on a bike, checking out some of LDF’s main exhibitions and installations. Taking breaks in my tight schedule to stuff my face with some of London’s diverse cuisine offerings. Here’s WestwoodWestwood’s 24 hour guide to London during LDF.

Serpentine Pavilion 2018, by Frida Escobedo

Serpentine Gallery, London

Architect Frida Escobedo, celebrated for dynamic projects that reactivate urban space, was commissioned to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2018. Harnessing a subtle interplay of light, water, and geometry, her atmospheric courtyard design draws on both the domestic architecture of Mexico and England (specifically the Prime Meridian line at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich).

photo by Iwan Baan
photo by Iwan Baan

London Mastaba by Christo

Titled “The London Mastaba,” this installation is Christo’s first large-scale work in the United Kingdom. It takes the form of a truncated oil barrel pyramid set afloat in the middle of the Serpentine, a manmade lake in Hyde Park. 7,506 55-gallon oil drums painted red, blue, and mauve are horizontally stacked within a hulking framework of steel scaffolding that rises just over 65 feet above the lake to overpowering effect.

The London Mastaba by artist Christo sits on the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London, Britain, June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Multi-Ply by Waugh Thistleton Architects + ARUP

Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2018

London Design Festival collaborated with Waugh Thistleton Architects, the American Hardwood Export Council, and ARUP to create MultiPly, an interactive modular, maze-like installation in The Sackler Courtyard at the V&A. This pavilion delves into two of the current global challenges: housing and climate change. It presents the fusion of modular systems and responsible material choices are vital solutions for those challenges. This three-dimensional, permeable structure was built out of a reusable panel system made from 60 cubic metres of American Tulipwood.

A Fountain for London by Michael Anastassiades

Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2018

The London Fountain Co. presents a prototype for a new drinking water fountain designed by Michael Anastassiades at the The John Madejski Garden inside the V&A. The legacy project aims to revive the drinking fountain culture that has largely disappeared from the city’s public spaces. The first fountains will be sited in the V&A’s John Madejski garden and in a public space in Brompton Design District at the initiative of South Kensington Estates.

Mind Pilot by Loop.pH

Design Museum, 2018

During London Design Festival 2018, spatial laboratory Loop.pH will animate the Design Museum atrium with a spectacular installation titled Mind Pilot. The interactive installation invites visitors to pilot an airship using the power and focus of their minds inside the space. Mind Pilot imagines an inclusive future where people with varying physical abilities can use technology such as mind power to experience and manipulate flight. The lightweight airship is operated via a virtual reality headset, and a separate device communicating with the headset measures brain waves and sends signals to navigate the balloon through the space.

photo by Loop.pH
photo by Loop.pH

Lunch at Ikoyi

Ikoyi creates its own innovative cuisine based on the interpretation of West African ingredients. The food combines bold heat and umami with the highest quality products — ingredients such as Grains of Selim, a smoky peppercorn with the scent of eucalyptus, wild black tiger prawns, and scotch bonnet chillies, which they ferment, burn and pickle for various dishes. The open dining space uses natural materials, including handcrafted ceramics and wood, to warm atmospheric effect.

Highlights include:

Smoked Crab Jollof Rice

Wagyu Beef Suya

Peach, Ehuru & Cream

Tea time by Scholten Baijings at Fortnum & Mason

Using more than 80 products by companies from across the globe, the installation delivers a unique take on the ritual of tea. Fortnum’s iconic Eau de Nil colour provides the context for the installation, with all furniture and products bearing the distinctive green hue. In collaboration with Fortnum & Mason, 1616 / arita japan and Maharam, a porcelain tea set has been specially developed for the occasion in Japan, renowned for its fine porcelain.

Vincenzo de Cotiis - En Plein Air

Carpenters Workshop Gallery

During the occasion of LDF, Carpenters Workshop Gallery London presents En Plein Air, a solo gallery exhibition of works by Italian Architect and Designer Vincenzo de Cotiis. Featuring 20 furniture-sculptures handmade by Italian artisans, the collection of seating, lighting, tables, cabinets, and bookshelves is an aesthetic combination of semi precious stones, Murano glass, recycled resin, and cast brass.

photo by Carpenters Workshop Gallery
photo by Carpenters Workshop Gallery

Volumes by Konstantin Grcic

Galerie Kreo

There is a small but significant detail on Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni’s Arco lamp which Konstantin Grcic admires. A broomstick runs through a hole in the lamp’s marble base, allowing two people to use it to lift the stone. It’s a humorous contradiction — the suave and luxurious marble making room for such a humble device to add something to the lamp’s functionality. This detail is one that Grcic has applied to the six objects in the new VOLUMES collection for Galerie Kreo, which concludes at the end of the Design Festival on September 22nd. While Arco is a lamp, VOLUMES has no such straightforward domestic function. The floor-standing pieces are made using a singular block of material, without added structures, supports, or composite adhesives.

The Tate Modern - The Clock by Christian Marclay

Christian Marclay’s THE CLOCK, a 24-hour video installation comprised of several thousand film extracts; each referencing a specific time, or suggesting a particular moment in the day. Edited together, the extracts are synchronized with the ‘real time’ in which the artwork is experienced. Audiences viewing the installation will witness Susan Hayward’s execution at 11.35am, while Kirk Douglas will slump to the floor at precisely 10.29pm.


Dinner at Dishoom

The old Irani cafes of Bombay have almost all disappeared. Their faded elegance welcomed all: courting couples, sweaty taxi-wallas, students, artists, and lawyers. Fans turned slowly. Bentwood chairs were reflected in stained mirrors, next to sepia family portraits. There were almost four hundred cafés at their peak in the 1960s. Now, fewer than thirty remain. Dishoom pays homage to the Irani cafés that broke down barriers by bringing people together over food and drink.


Highlights include:

Chole Poori

Chicken Tikka

Mattar Paneer