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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  16 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Ziba turns 30 this year, and the renowned design company is understandably proud. To celebrate the diverse and lasting work of founder Sohrab Vossoughi, he and other design veterans discussed the future of product design. On the panel were Vossoughi, Allan Chochinov of SVA and Core77, John Jay of Wieden+Kennedy, and Aura Oslapas, previously Chief Design Officer for Best Buy, with questions and moderation by Carl Alviani. These folks had strong opinions, punchy advice, and more personality than your average lineup of industry heads. Here's our synopsis of the key questions and insights.

The definition of "product" has shifted over time. What does it mean now and why?

Oslapas started off clarifying that a product has come to describe services and software, in addition to hardware. Vossoughi agreed, but pointed out that even as design becomes more integrated with business the consumer still thinks of "product" in physical terms. Jay, as a communications and advertising pro, disagreed, pointing out that in his field of design creating an emotional response and relationship to another product is itself a product. Chochinov jumped on this, noting that Product Design has never been a particularly clarifying term, and now the growth of interaction design has made things even more complicated: "I can never hope to have a career moniker that makes sense. If it weren't so funny it would be cruel." Referencing the recent Facebook/Ello debate, he pointed out that point of view is everything, since from one angle Facebook is the product, but in reality it's us the users who are the profitable product. Oslapas countered that consumers still call the product by what it is, unless there's an issue—"product" is just a business term for the thing that we sell, rather than name or noun used by the user. In Allen's words: a product is something that needs to be fixed.

What are new impacts on the field and practice of design?

Social media was the first, albeit obvious, theme. In Jay's estimation, user engagement is empowering enough that it's changing everything. Ideas necessarily have to come from different places, and the production process is no longer a Push theory from the producer's end. Oslapas credited design methodologies and tools that cross disciplines. Prototyping tools and new work models are both rapidly shifting expectations towards greater collaboration.

User-centeredness, as Chochinov put it, is design's current but deeply problematic frame. "Users are part of the problem! Earth-centric design won't fly with consumers, but it's essential that we use the privilege of the design community towards making something of use at all." This shifted into a scathing critique of what he sees as the main goals in design, namely providing convenience, beauty, pleasure to anyone with the disposable income to afford it.

Ziba_Design_Panel-FIRST.jpgFrom left: Allan Chochinov, Aura Oslapas, Carl Alviani, John Jay & Sohrab Vossoughi

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  10 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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ShowPDX is one of the long-running events that makes Design Week Portland worth leaving the house for. Now in its ninth year, the show is a small juried furniture exhibition with a specific focus on brand new work from the Northwest. The votes have been cast, and if you're in town you have until the 14th to visit them in person at the Fisk Building.

As is becoming PDX-standard, this year's submissions showed a heavy slant towards woodworking (they still call us Stumptown for a reason) and lightly updated Midcentury lines. There were some standout pieces, with and without vintage wood appeal. Here are our favorites.

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Phloem Studio has retro wood in the blood, but I love the thick rope update to the traditional woven seat on the Harbor Chair. Really elegant frame doesn't hurt. Inspired by childhood boating adventures, it's scratching my macro textile itch without going absurdly nautical.


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The Kindred Tables are a set of three indoor-outdoor mini tables, collaboratively designed by Ashley Tackett of SERA Architects and Gavin Younie of Outdoor Scenery. Their separate backgrounds in interior design and landscape architecture combined well with these airy looking but super solid pieces that would work as well in a garden as in a living room. Steel bases with marble off-cut tops make for durability, but the side-centered leg placement keeps them from feeling too clunky and suggests a jewelry-like stone setting.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  10 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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How do you feel after listening to a Stefan Sagmeister lecture? Whether you mean to or not, you probably feel... happy. Sagmeister is a plainspoken powerhouse of graphic design and a walking wealth of lifestyle koans. His Design Week Portland talk, presented by Portland's AIGA, touched on the internal and external frameworks that impact our positive emotions. To illustrate his ideas about designing happiness he veered between beautiful shots of his interactive installations and often smutty infographics unpacking what "happiness" really is and how to get it.

Using the casual, personally-oriented storytelling familiar in most of his public talks on the subject, this keynote also got technical. Through personal anecdotes and work highlights, we got a guided tour through the research and findings he came to while struggling to make his movie on happiness a reality. Up first: definitions and limitations of happiness. Surprisingly, it turns out that self-reporting is pretty accurate. Do you think of yourself as happy? If asked, how would you describe your life satisfaction? From the sound of it, most of our public answers would check out when tested against our MRI readings. So that's cool.

The three factors that he believes influence happiness most are our activities, life conditions, and genetics. Specifically, the more non-repetitive activities, the more supportive your social environment, the better. Genetics, as a factor you can't impact, he doesn't "care for." Moreover, the material conditions of our lives only matter up to a point—money matters up to "middle class" and then stops having an appreciable impact as you get richer than $85K/year. People, perhaps unsurprisingly, find success relative: Most people would prefer to make less money overall but more than their neighbors when opposed to making more money overall but less than their neighbors. Telling. It's also why you get a little depressed seeing everyone else doing so damn well on Facebook.

Sagmeister's own notorious work cycle, which is loosely structured around taking a long sabbatical every six years, incorporates diversity of activity and socializing into his life, which in turn helps bring diversity and social thinking into his work. Even those of us without our own internationally renowned agencies can apply those ideas. The value of seeing new things, talking to new people, and pushing your own boundaries are obvious—as he put it: "Seek discomfort."

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Posted by Ray  |  10 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The short story of the Caochangdi artist's village is that Ai Weiwei more or less singlehandedly established a creative community in a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of Beijing. The experiment worked, and CCD is now home to dozens of artists and designers, as well as galleries and studios, and is rightfully among the primary sites of Beijing Design Week. Although it's mostly concentrated in a self-contained cluster of austere buildings in the heart of the neighborhood, there is a sense in which Ai's Red Brick complex endures as a vital hub for Chinese design.

"It's a strange area—it's a village on the edge of the city; it hasn't been the subject of regeneration or development or top-down beautification," says Ben Hughes, who curated the exhibition for this year's weeklong celebration of design. "All of the galleries here are entrepreneurial and sort of grassroots. It's a working village—it has its rough edges."

BJDW2014-CCD-ext.jpgA major thoroughfare in Caochangdi—the main horizontal street in the map below—with the Red Brick complex at left (and Zaha Hadid's Wangjing SOHO in the distance)

Hughes would know, having embedded himself in a live/work space shortly after he relocated to Beijing from London, where he taught at Central Saint Martins, in 2011; he currently works with his partner Alex Chien as A4 Studios. Despite the camaraderie between most everyone who has set up shop there, he notes that the Red Brick complex can be quite desolate at times, the interlocking planes of red and light gray that cast long shadows across the interstitial plazas and alleyways. (The locale is dramatized in Jason Wishnow's recently released dystopian short film Sand Storm, starring none other than Ai himself.)

"In China, design is quite often portrayed as highbrow [or] elitist—something that you need to be quite wealthy to take part in or enjoy," explains Hughes. "For Design Week, the message we're trying to [convey] is that design is accessible... that design is more about everyday things that everyone can get involved with. In the courtyards here—which are normally very brutal, very stark—we've tried to create more like a fair, a village fête kind of atmosphere." To that end, he set out to engage the locals by expressly fostering participation, namely through 'Plug-In Stations': "Things you can take part in, things you can make, things you can draw, things you can produce and take home."

BJDW2014-CCD-map.jpgA4 Studios designed the map, which incorporates street-level sights as landmarks; see the full version here

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |   8 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The Design Week Portland opening party was as beautiful and laid back as you'd expect for Portland. Staged at the historic and dramatic Staver Locomotive building, the scene was split between the odd-old and brightly modern. Entering through a blinding mirror-striped walkway visitors arrived in a huge moodily lit ex-industrial warehouse. Model train tracks wound through parts of the space and acted as unusual counters for drinks vending. The vaulted ceiling was hung with lights and live video installation pieces. Meanwhile outside, fire pits and food carts kept people close and sociable.

Back inside, guests lined up for their chance in a "live photobooth": a seat in front of a two way mirror, behind which artists scribbled frantically for 90 seconds to produce their portraits. A large glossy black open sketching wall invited anyone to add their own work to the communal pool, with predictably yearbook-like results. The other interactive highlight of the night was Set Creative's video installation, a pair of dazzle-painted boxes labeled "Fear Of Missing Out" into which viewer peered to watch the crowd around them... and their own darting eyes projected onto pyramid screens above.

All in all, a sweet and visually enjoyable start to a colorful week.

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Posted by Hand-Eye Supply  |   7 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The real heart of Design Week is the chance to peek behind the curtains and into the workspaces of creative people around town. Come by the Hand-Eye Supply Open House to check out the back story of how we do what we do, because sharing is vital, and snooping in inspiring!

Community engagement is key to supporting a creative culture, and for HES that engagement is more like an endless honeymoon. Our fortnightly Curiosity Club speaking event highlights the varied talents of local minds and encourages ongoing learning. The HES Quarterly brings together talented people and cool gear every three months. While creative work takes good tools and elbow grease, it also benefits from a strong social network.

Tour the shop and facilities 4–7pm, today. And if you didn't get tickets you can still tune in online at 6pm to catch the talent-packed panel presenting at the Design Week edition of Curiosity Club.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 4–7pm
427 NW Broadway
Portland, OR 97219

Posted by Sam Dunne  |   7 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

As part of the popular Passionswege—the Vienna Design Week platform that links international design talent with industry in the city—rising stars of London design scene PostlerFerguson have been working with craftsmen at 200-year-old producer of fine jewelry, A.E. Kochert, to make these stunning microphone accessories for Viennese DJ and music producer Ken Hayakawa, who uses sound recordings from the streets of Vienna as the basis for much of music.

The piece—designed to hold Hayakawa's weapon of choice, the AKG C1000 microphone—is a great example of the Passionwege's intention to combine the skills of designers with traditional manufacturing. Conceived and digitally modeled by Martin (Postler) and Ian (Ferguson) in the studio in London, the form was later printed into a mold used to cast the object from molten metal, then of course being given an exquisite finish by the team at the Kochert workshop in central Vienna.

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As well as being damn stylish and a celebration of Hayakawa's unique composing process, the accessory is intended to give some real functional benefits—the cone shape providing a shield or the microphone whilst also providing a flat surface to rest the recorder. The addition of an equally crafted clip gives the option to keep the cable under control or providing a hook to hang the microphone from.

Posted by Sam Dunne  |   6 Oct 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Our tour around Vienna Design Week last week gave us a chance to finally get a first-hand glimpse of winners of the 6th annual Recycling Designpreis—the touring exhibition of the awarded works having already made their way slowly form Berlin to Hamburg to Dusseldorf this year.

The winners and shortlisted works on display showed some awesome creativity in turning discarded items into surprisingly desirable products—upcycling at its best. Some of the most ingenious pieces even managed to identify a material stream beyond the obvious—fashion student Viktoria Lepeschko made striking outerwear from the skins of old tennis balls and designer Michael Hensel created uncompromisingly industrial furniture from used escalator steps.

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Furniture designer Henry Baumann snagged first prize with his clever and intricate use of fruit crates to create a range of benches, stools, lamps and coffee tables.

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Posted by core jr  |   6 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

LDF-2014-Gallery.jpgPhotography by Sam Dunne & Anki Delfmann for Core77

The London Design Festival, now in it's 12th year was back bigger than ever with festivities spreading even further into the metropolis. The usual suspects; designjunction, Designersblock, Tent, and Superbrands were out in full force with more design eye-candy than you can wave a well crafted candlestick at. There was a lot of unexpected treasures to be discovered in peripheries, and once again the organizers did an amazing job with producing and branding the design festival.

» View Gallery


London Design Festival 2014:
» Highlights from LDF14 at the VA
» Lee Broom Launches 'Nouveau Rebel'
» The First Law of Kipple
» Dominic Wilcox's Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car and Dezeen x MINI Frontiers
» Highlights from Designjunction
» Highlights from Designersblock
» Highlights from Tent London
» Global Color Research x Giles Miller Studio: 'Ten Years of Color'
» Ernest Wright & Son Scissormakers on Shoreditch Design Triangle

Posted by Kat Bauman  |   4 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Tonight marks the start of a dense week of design, craft and innovative thinking as we kick off this year's Design Week Portland. This evening's opening party will feature installations by Set Creative and a DH set by local legend Rev Shines of Lifesavas. From October 5th through 11th, the rest of the events are cast far and wide over the city. This year there is an official HQ, located inside a series of geodesic domes in Pioneer Courthouse Square, where information and registration are centralized and where experimental events will take place throughout the week.

Like the design field itself, the festival's highlights are all over the physical and conceptual map. The lineup is thick with speaking events, open studios, demonstrations, curated shows, and panel discussions. The exhibited work ranges from modern architecture and cutting edge advertising to letterpress and ecosystem design.

Stay tuned for live and almost-live coverage of the highlights and question marks of this year's DWP.

Posted by Sam Dunne  |   3 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Institution of Vienna cafe culture, Cafe Landtmann, have partnered with local design studio Lucy.D to explore the impact design can have on cake decorating. The cafe's management tasked designers Karin Santorso and Barbara Ambros with the brief of finding a new way to allow their customers to order custom-decorated cakes whilst avoiding the possibilities of their brand being tarnished by potential clienteles' kitsch creations.

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Posted by Ray  |   2 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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A mover-and-shaker in the Chinese creative scene for a decade now, Naihan Li got her start working for Ai Weiwei upon returning to Beijing after completing her studies at London's Bartlett School of Architecture. After subsequently working with various art and design organizations, she founded her own studio in 2010 and is perhaps best known for her CRATES series. This year sees the debut of the I AM A MONUMENT collection at Gallery ALL in the 751 D.Park, as well as a move from the Red Bricks studio/gallery compound (where she hosted an exhibition in her live/work space last year), around the corner to a converted factory. (Rest assured she's still based in Caochangdi, although she handed off her BJDW curatorial duties to Ben Hughes, who gave us a brief tour of the place last week.)

Some two years in the making, the pieces in I AM A MONUMENT take the form of scale models of various landmarks from the Western world: the UN building, Pentagon, New York Stock Exchange and Edinburgh Palm House, which have been re-imagined as a bookcase, bed, shrine and terrarium, respectively. The four new pieces are exhibited alongside the "Armillary Whisky Bar," which was commissioned by Melbourne's Broached Gallery in 2013. Li's artist statement invokes a critical examination of the relationship between art, architecture and design:

I AM A MONUMENT originated from Naihan's recognition of the Chinese desire for giant art installations in their homes. People want to own things that are monumental. This desire traces back to Chinese traditional paintings, which play with the idea of scale from a subjective point of view and minimize the universe. Chinese artists attempt to zoom in to a large part of the world on a small scale. The I AM A MONUMENT collection shrinks a landmark building 100 times and turns it into a utilitarian furniture piece, allowing collectors to contain something that is extremely large inside a room of their house.

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NaihanLi-IAM-Edinburgh.jpgThe Edinburgh Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |   2 Oct 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Recent Swiss design graduate Sebastian Marbacher has taken to the streets in Vienna, exhibiting some of his furniture as part of the festivities this week. Sebastian caught our eye immediately with his clever 'Baustellen-Bank' (translating from the German as 'Building Site Bench'), a bench made from a simple hack of components usually used to block public access from building sites.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |   1 Oct 2014  |  Comments (0)

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More from the Passionswege: Young Portuguese design duo Pedrita Studio were paired up with central Vienna glass workshop Karl Stiefelmeyer Glaserei to share skills and explore some new avenues.

Designers Rita Joao and Pedro Ferreira were inspired by the detailed craftsmanship that the workshop staff gave to huge sheets of mirror and glass, wondering if these skills could be turned to small scale objects. Rita and Pedro set out designing a range of table top objects that could be made simply from the huge array of glass types and mirrors in stock at the shop. The designers incorporated colourful felts—the material used extensively in glass handling for protection—giving some lovely contrast to the pieces.

Although Stiefelmeyer have yet to make any moves to produce the objects, they did allow the designers to set up a showroom in a disused office room at the front of the shop to display the wares.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  30 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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'Design Week' season is very much upon us here in Europe. As things wrap in London, we've jetted over to the slightly more sedate and astonishingly grandiose (seriously, Paris ain't got nothing) Vienna—capital of Austria—to hit the trail of Vienna Design Week, running from September 26 to October 5.

We're delighted to see the return of the awesome 'Passionswege' platform—the program in which the city's design department pair traditional manufacturing companies still surviving in the region with emerging international design talent, the partnerships sharing skills and often creating some truly inspiring objects and interventions.

First stop in Vienna this year, world -eknowned crystal manufacturer Lobmeyr—who took part in the Passionswege last year— invited the public to their showroom and workshop to see the fruits of their pairing with design duo BCXSY.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  26 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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What with all the pomp and ceremony, prolonged exposure to design shows and festivals these days can, on occasion, cause a slight feeling of disease— a symptom perhaps of a perceived detachment from reality amongst the shiny objects and chair redesigns. What an oasis of perspective then, on our week-long tour of London Design Festival 2014, to stumble on the humbling sight of a scissor-making workshop in the heart of Shoreditch.

Craftsmen from century-old Sheffield-based Ernest Wright & Sons (fifth-generation family-owned no less) set up shop at The Saturday Market Project, giving demonstrations of blade hand-sharpening and scissor assembly in their mini-workshop. (Some of you may recall that Cliff Denton, a lifelong 'putter' at Ernest Wright & Sons, was recently the subject of a short documentary.) Whilst spending the day working up some intricate bird-like embroidery scissors, the guys also had an impressive selection of their hand-made tools on show—the owners are still passionate about the role of hand crafting in an age of mass-manufacturing when much production has moved out of British towns, like the once industrial powerhouse Sheffield.

We were particularly enamored with the cutting potential of the enormous large bolt 13" tailoring shears—a hell of weight to them! A pair of these hand-crafted monsters will set you back a cool GBP 130/USD 212

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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  26 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Contemporary Hungarian design, what is it? - that was the question roaming around my mind when I headed down to Budapest a little while ago. In order to gain a greater understanding and overview of what's cooking over in Hungary, I met up with Judit Osvárt, the woman responsible for Budapest Design Week, at Nomuri, a newly opened design cafe in the heart of the city.

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First, a very brief history of Budapest Design Week: Once upon a time, in the early 2000s, the Hungarian Property Office felt that it was time for them to introduce the public to the world of design so as to create a greater understanding of what design is, seeing that it can be rather hard to wrap your head around unless you know what it's all about. They were also very keen on helping Hungarian designers understand their rights in the legal system and teach them more about patents and other mysterious formulas.

The first year, you could attend a mere 28 events, but over the years, Budapest Design Week grew and grew in size, peaking on their ten-year anniversary with a total of 350 events including fashion shows, design exhibitions and festivities for days.

In the design sphere, we often hear about countries such as England, Italy, China, The Netherlands and Denmark when it comes to what is hot and up and coming on the design scene. Hungary is not on this list, but things are changing. For the 11th year in a row, they are arranging Budapest Design Week, an event that this year around starts off with the opening of a major exhibition on October and continues with events in various forms until October 10.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  26 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Color trend research agency Global Color Research took over the green outside Shoreditch station last week at London Design Festival, collaborating with material and surfaces specialist Giles Miller to create this unusual multi-colored obelisk in celebration of the dark art of colour forecasting. "Global Color Research has been successfully prediciting and applying color trends in design for 15 years. The science behind precise forecasting isn't simple but the results are clear..."

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The installation—comprised of a frame holding a number swatches from the GCR archives, tracking the developing taste for colors from 2006 to (erm...) 2016—took on something of a religious character, with weary LDF-goers taking rest beneath its predictions past and present.

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A smaller version of the sculpture was also on show at design show Tent London for those in need a mid-fair solace. All hail the gods of color!

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Posted by Ray  |  25 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we're pleased to be media partners with Beijing Design Week for the fourth year running, since its inception in 2011. The ever-expanding celebration of Chinese design kicked off last night in Dashilar, which endures as the cynosure of the nine-day event even as it evolves as a design-hub-cum-historic-district.

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Last night saw the grand opening of the Dashilar Guild House exhibition space, adjacent to the extant area, at the Quanyechang 'department store'—originally built in 1906 and reopened last month following a three-year restoration process—where dozens of projects are on view across four stories of the skylit main hall. As the story goes, the organizers secured the space only after presenting Beijing Design Week at the Venice Biennale this summer, and a follow-up to that exhibition is on view at the Guild House (concurrently with the Biennale, which runs until November).

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This year also saw the debut of a one-night-only pop-up in Dashilar's farmer's market, where the local community was invited to celebrate alongside international guests for a colorful launch party.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  25 Sep 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Tent London—and its sister event Superbrands—took over the long retired Truman Brewery (interestingly the old beer may be making something of a rival) once again for London Design Festival exhibiting creative furniture and design work from both big brands and smaller players.

Highlight of the show for us has to go to the mind boggling optical illusion mirrors on show at the Cascade stand. Although the guys wouldn't reveal to us quite how they had achieved this impressive effect, it seems that neon tubes are wedged between reflective plastic sheets giving this three dimensional tunnel effect shooting straight through a solid wall (there was a stand on the other side, we checked).

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We couldn't help but be drawn in by the lovely crisp, clean kitchenwares on show as a collaboration between Sue Pryke and Wild and Wood, a range of crockery and chopping boards with subtle references to life in the great outdoors.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  24 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Well-known for being awash with emerging talent from across disciplines, Designersblock has been a mainstay of the London Design Festival, now in it's 17th edition. This year saw the event move from its Southbank home on the River Thames to a more central location, in a jaw-dropping location in a soon to be converted 18th-century courthouse (sold only recently, the story goes, by London Masons). Exhibitors could not have asked for a more inspiring location for their work—enormous projections on the domed ceiling bringing the already epic space to life.

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Designer low energy bulb makers Plumen took over one of the grander spaces on the buildings top floor with a stunning installation—'The Glowing Oak'—featuring their newest bulbs, the Plumen002, hanging like fruit from a pretty sizeable tree seeming to grow straight out the centre of the room.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  23 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Design fair designjunction once again took over 120,000 sq. ft. of old warehouse space in central London, displaying all that is hot in furniture and object design with international brands, smaller cutting-edge labels and pop-up shops all getting in on the action.

With an unexpected twist on last year's format in MINI x Dezeen's take over of the entrance space, there was also of course plenty of the usual eye candy we've come to expect from this jewel in the London Design Festival crown across the three vast stories.

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Fitting quite perfectly with the old industrial interior of the venue, design duo Soderlund Davidson took over a large portion of the ground floor with a clever never ending conveyor belt display for their ceramic creations.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  22 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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UK design blog Dezeen have collaborated with car manufacturer MINI at London Design Festival this year to create an exhibition of commissions exploring the future of transportation. Far from a showroom for shiny self-driving cars or connected-car dashboard concepts, was eclectic collection of exploratory interpretations by artists, designers and architects was on display in the ground floor entrance of design and furniture fair designjunction. The exhibition space itself embodied the theme—architect Pernilla Ohrstedt teaming up with 3D-scanning specialist ScanLAB to create her contribution 'Glitch Space'—an enormous arrangement of vinyl white dots meticulously laid out across the exhibit floor as a representation of the swaths of environmental data that will flow through the city in a future of driverless cars.

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On the same theme, Dominic Wilcox, ever the inspiring out-of-the-box thinker, turned a lot of heads with the revealing of his incredible 'Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car.' Not just a pretty piece of craft, Wilcox's creation is actually a profound reflection on the future design possibilities for the automobile. In a future in which cars are self-driving and super safe, the forms, materials and uses that have constrained automotive design in our time may no longer apply. Although Wilcox's fictional future car manufacturer's website shows a spectacular array of possibilities this could present, the stunning stained-glass model on view demonstrated the equally appealing option of rolling around town in a half-car, half-bed 'hybrid,' revealed when lifting up the hood (below).

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (3)

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When it comes to week long festivals of design, it is often off the beaten track and around the fringes—at a safe distance from the frantic hype and clamouring furniture brands—that you find the most interesting things going on.

North from the thriving creative district of Shoreditch, photographer Dan Tobin Smith—famous for his work with everyday objects, perhaps most recognizably as the cover artwork of Jay-Z's Blueprint 3—has opened up his studio in Haggerston (a recently established haunt for the creative classes, with a few notable IDers amongst them) exhibiting a spectacular installation that is perhaps the most critical contemplation of consumer culture we're likely to see all week.

"No one can win against kipple, he said, except temporarily and maybe in one spot."

Entitled 'The First Law of Kipple' in reference to Phillip K Dick's 1968 novel 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'—that later went on to inspire Blade Runner—the installation features thousands upon thousands of objects swamping the studio on every flat surface, arranged (with great appeal to the OCD-inclined) in a stunning spectrum of colours. Much like the fictional post-apocalyptic world that is haunted by plastic 'kipple,' the objects swarm all throughout the exhibition space—following viewers up stairs and into the toilet cubicle.

Apparently the accumulation of months upon months of collecting in thrift shops and carboot sales, the objects collected were first used for a series of photographps of spectral seas of objects. Tobin Smith and his team report then spending around a month to lay out the objects perfectly for this week's incredible installation.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  18 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Lee Broom opened doors at his Shoreditch studio last night to launch an opulent new collection of lighting and objects under the tongue in cheek title, 'Nouveau Rebel.' Recognized on the design scene for his contemporary twists on classics and high-end finishes (see his Crystal Bulbs from 2012) Broom's collection this year shows some creative and incredibly crafted use of marble—thin tubes of the stuff, for example, making even strip lighting look swanky.

Moving away from generic studio opening format or indeed the mock shop of previous LDF's, last night's dramatic exhibition ushered visitors down monochromatic corridors of curtains with only the collection to dramatically lighting the corners and crevices.

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Posted by Sam Dunne  |  17 Sep 2014  |  Comments (0)

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With festivities now in full swing, first stop for many (us included) on the London Design Festival trail is a whiz 'round the various goings-on at the illustrious Victoria & Albert Museum in the city's Brompton district. As the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design (housing an estimated 4.5 million objects in the permanent collection), the grand Victorian edifice has become a fitting hub for the design festival in recent years. As in previous years, the V&A hosts a number of LDF exhibits dotted around the maze-like galleries and corridors of the museum, as well as an impressive program of talks and debates.

Amongst the highlights, new trio Felix de Pass (product and interior designer), Michael Montgomery (graphic designer) and Ian McIntyre (ceramist) have taken over the dimly lit climate controlled tapestry galleries with a spellbinding installation entitled "Candela.' A large rotating disc floating above the gallery floor rotates to display evolving glowing partterns—a light fixture at the bottom of the piece effectively 'printing' light onto the discs phosphorescent surface (similar, apparently, to that used by the sponsoring watch brand). As the disc turns and the printed pattern evolves, a pleasing depth is created as previous rotations slowly fade.

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