How lucky we are to have the London Design Festival on our doorstep! Next stop Designersblock, at the Southbank Centre – a hive of unrestrained creativity – full of fresh designers and artists, and without the slick finish of some of the other Festival shows.
Designersblock have pioneered the use of transitional architectural spaces for the production of city festivals. We were in a warehouse storage space, which has never before been seen by the public, under the Queen Elizabeth Hall – exciting enough in itself – we love the Southbank! But, we pulled ourselves together and went to meet some of the great characters exhibiting.
We’ve always coveted the work of Tortie Hoare and Natalie Brady, collectively called H&B, and they had their latest furniture on show. They use boiled leather to form ergonomically sculpted shapes, without the use of plastics, or resins. By combining old methods and new ways of thinking they create environmentally conscious contemporary pieces.
Now they’ve taken to topping and tailing chimney pots with cork bases and lids, to create stools that double as containers. Neat.
Walter Raes from Walterworks makes wearable art from things you wouldn’t expect. Walter thinks that what is thrown away in London & around the world is criminal and it’s from these consumer society throw-outs that he makes his designs. His works of art are witty manifestations of his views on the wastefulness of society.
His stand featured furniture pieces made from plastic bottles and coat hangers and clothes made from plastic bags, slippers, baseball caps, trainers and boots. He also uses electricians’ ties, baby dummys, ironing boards, Tetra packaging, bicycle parts, plastic cutlery…the list of rubbish goes on.
Our environment is full of sound, which can be very evocative and create powerful emotional triggers, but as yet it’s seldom deliberately produced within textiles and fashion. Cindy Wang, from 10 Fold, has created Material Symphony. The intention is to engineer textiles, through traditional craft techniques, to produce unexpected sounds, extending the appreciation of textiles to a third “sonic dimension”.
Cindy’s acoustic dresses were hung to be appreciated as beautiful art pieces. She also extends their application to physical performance. The skilfully choreographed video she presented was mesmerising. We had to drag ourselves away.
Young Ju Do, also from 10 Fold, is a textile designer who has created jewellery from her own bio-plastic material, made from edible food sources. She uses organic fixings and crochet and knitting techniques to construct the distinctive pieces. Her inspiration is the idea that waste need not exist at all, which is the premise behind the book Cradle to Cradle, by William McDonough & Michael Braungart.
Necklaces were displayed on soil to illustrate that they’re biodegradable, biologically nutritious and, at the end of their life, can be put on the compost heap to disappear to nothing. The project intention is to promote home compostable products, encouraging transient design as a sustainable solution.
For more, check out Designersblock’s website here http://verydesignersblock.com/