The last edition of the London Design Festival, before Covid-19, seemed to mark a shift towards a more conscious approach to design. The best product launches and installations focused on how designers can address some of the most pressing concerns facing the world today, from sustainability to the activation of public spaces in increasingly dense urban areas.
British designer Paul Cocksedge transformed one of London’s most pedestrianised neighbourhoods with Please Be Seated, a huge installation of undulating benches offering communal seating and archways for shelter, and delivering a new way for people to interact with the built environment and each other. At the V&A Museum, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma created a sculptural installation that explored how bamboo and carbon fibre could be woven together as a potential building solution for earthquake-prone areas, and architect Sam Jacob brought one of the Eames’ most famous textile patterns to life in an animation projected into the museum’s vast lobby, replacing the sea creatures of the original pattern with plastic waste objects.
Elsewhere, designers showcased products in striking ways. Lee Broom’s Kaleidoscopia installation, for example, featured just 17 Orion lights reflected in infinity mirrors to create a mind-bending immersive space. Here, we share our favourite trends, products and emerging designers from the festival.