Sometimes, every now and then, London is just the perfect place to be. We noticed this yet again when we jumped on our bike on Sunday to take a quick tour of a few of the first events of the London Design Festival. It was one of those days where it felt like the capital city was truly alive.
Over at the V&A, we checked out the Wallpaper* Chair Arch (above), Martino Gamper's re-interpretation of an arch made of chairs for Queen Victoria in 1877; and also checked out the Telling Tales show, which is a tasty little show featuring furniture, lighting and ceramics all 'inspired by the spirit of story-telling', and includes Lux Merx's brilliant Damned.MGX chandelier (below). Definitely worth a look.
Just around the corner from there we dropped in to catch up with Max Fraser at his pop-up store for the London Design Guide; which features a lovely living-room space designed by Sigmar. Drop in and have a chat with Max, and get a free drink if you buy a copy of the guide.
We then pedaled over to Trafalgar Square, on the way cycling past Boris Johnson, Chris Hoyle, Kelly Brook, and a man riding a piano; who were out promoting the Mayor of London's Skyride.
The square is playing host to the large installation The Tournament, by Jaime Hayon: it's an oversized chess set with bespoke pieces designed by Hayon. It was drawing a lot of interest from the crowd, and seemed like a good way to get the general public involved with the festival.
Just across the square Antony Gormley's One And Other installation / public performance piece was still going on - we were initially hugely sceptical about this work, and to tell the truth, as a piece of art experienced in Trafalgar Square, it's really limited. But it comes alive when you visit the website, which adds much needed depth to the individuals who take up space on the plinth, as well as gluing them together as a single unit, and in so doing creates a contemporary portrait of the country. While we were watching we saw a girl indulging in a bit of Alice in Wonderland fun, and a woman who, thanks to the website, we now know is a senior lecturer in fine art.
From there we nipped across the river to the Size + Matter installations outside the Royal Festival Hall, though they were both rather disappointing: Marc Newson's Supercell, and Shigeru Ban's Paper Monument. Both use materials interesting ways, but they don't go much further than that. The whole of the Southbank Centre excels at getting people involved with things (particularly the fantastic space outside the National Theatre), and these two installations stood apart like aloof outsiders - a bit of a missed opportunity. We found ourselves much more interested in the recently painted & numbered stairways:
All in all though a great day, and a fine start to festival. (More pics on Alistair's LDF09 Flickr set.)