"Outstanding showcase" of London Design Festival invades the city for eight day rumble

By Laura Burgess | 16 September 2010
A photo of a W-shaped installation under dark lights
Outrace's giant metal octopus will reside in Trafalgar Square for the next eight days
Festival: London Design Festival, various venues, London, September 18-26 2010

As summer fades into a mild September, last weekend saw the final major UK music festivals, Bestival and End of the Road. This weekend, the London Design Festival 2010 moves us from music to creative art season.

Alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and London Film Festival, the eight-day cultural event has a mix of installations and exhibitions at Trafalgar Square, the Southbank Centre and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The installation piece Outrace, by German designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram, features a giant mechanical octopus that will sit in Trafalgar Square.

Visitors will be able to control eight massive robotic tentacles to write texts in light traces – resulting in “light paintings” which will be recorded by special high-definition video equipment and published online.

The designers’ work focuses on the relationship between the virtual and the physical world, aiming for a new way of thinking in design.

“London is a major centre of design, ideas and innovation, home to some of the most renowned arts and design educational institutes in the world, as well one-third of all the UK design businesses,” says Boris Johnson.

“The London Design Festival offers an outstanding showcase of some of the most exciting design anywhere in the world.”

Annual project Size + Matter at the Southbank Centre matches well-known architects and designers with specific materials to create dramatic pieces for the public to see.

Paul Cocksedge has been commissioned to create Drop – an imaginary coin that has fallen to Earth from a giant’s palm, working in brass to demonstrate properties not often associated with the material.

A photo of a young girl looking at a giant coin
Drop is an imaginary coin which has fallen to earth
The magnetic coin encourages people to attach their spare pennies so that it will eventually become copper-plated. At the end of the festival the money will go to the charity Barnardo's, and their partners will turn every donation by the public into a pound.

The festival will spread across the capital into Brompton, Covent Garden and the West End, providing a varied selection for visitors.

There are more than 200 events, including international show HEL YES!, where Finnish designers reveal recycled furniture and food, and Showhow, an exhibition that looks at Denmark as a design nation.

"This year's festivals is as ambitious as ever," says says Moira Sinclair, the London Director of Arts Council England. "It consolidates its status as a major cultural event not only in London but internationally."

Visit the festival online for full details.
More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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