Highlights from London Design Biennale 2018

‘Emotional States’ sets the theme for the 2018 London Design Biennale with Somerset House once again forming the brilliant backdrop to installations conceived by architects, designers and artists from six continents. The responses are varied. Apart from a handful of pavilions seemingly concerned with pleasing the instagram crowd, most others have responded with emotion and urgency to the sustainability of our planet, identity and nationhood,... Read More

Serpentine Pavilion 2018 by Frida Escobedo

This is the 18th Serpentine Pavilion, the temporary installation appearing each summer in London’s Kensington Gardens. It is the work of Frida Escobedo, a complex and fascinating architect with a small studio in Mexico concerned with reactivating urban spaces. In Hyde Park, her practice imagines a courtyard of light, water and geometry. It takes the form of an enclosed courtyard, with two rectangular volumes positioned at an angle. The... Read More

SOS Brutalism explores the radical movement

Simple block shapes made of raw concrete – this is how brutalism has come to be defined. Yet behind these concrete buildings – some poetic and sculptural – lay a movement with strong principles. New brutalism was controversial the moment it emerged on the architectural scene in the 1950s. It deliberately set out to be hard edged and radical. Progressive social ideals informed much of its thinking. Ironically brutalist building design is... Read More

2017: A year in design, cars and their intersection

It has been quite a year in design. London alone is buzzing away with creative energy – at times impossible to keep up with the number of festivals, exhibitions, talks, walks… Perhaps as a reaction to the current political and social climate, there appears to be much more open discussions around arts and ideas – platforms for encouraging wider dialogues. It got me thinking that perhaps a little nudge – in this case a painful... Read More

Design exhibition: The Future Starts Here

‘The future is up for grabs,’ according to Rory Hyde, co-curator of The Future Starts Here, an upcoming exhibition at London’s V&A which sets out to explore the power of design to shape the world of tomorrow. ‘This is not a speculative show,’ he warns me at the preview this morning. Rather this exhibition, which has taken two years to research – working with architects, designers, scientists, inventors around the world –... Read More

Exhibition – Opera: Passion, Power and Politics

Opera requires gauze to be wrapped around the imagination. It is hoped that the power of music and that most versatile of all instruments, the human voice, helped along by the magic of lighting and design could help penetrate that gauze. So, it was with some trepidation that I went along to the preview of ‘Opera: Passion, Power and Politics’ at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. How do they convey that artful magic, which depends on... Read More

Highlights of London Design Festival 2017

The creative industries are worth close to £90bn a year to the economy, offering some three million jobs here. It is a ‘serious, big, wealth-earning and reputation-enhancing’ sector, Sir John Sorrell told the Financial Times this weekend. These numbers came back to me as the London Design Festival (16-24 September) kicked off bringing colour and creativity to pockets of this dynamic city. In its fifteenth year, LDF is expecting some 350,000... Read More

Design Museum announces Beazley Designs of the Year shortlist

Pokemon Go, Kanye West clothing and the Olympic Refugee Flag are some of the creative ideas nominated by the Design Museum for the tenth annual Beazley Designs of the Year awards. The shortlist announced today include a sports hijab designed by Nike and David Adjaye’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. A year of political unrest, support posters for Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign and the... Read More

The new V&A Exhibition Road Quarter in picture

Last night saw the opening of V&A Exhibition Road Quarter – the much-anticipated new addition to my favourite London gallery. The work of Amanda Levete and her architecture practice AL_A, it includes a dramatic entrance onto Exhibition Road, and an impressive courtyard that celebrates the V&A’s storied past. New spaces for exhibitions include the Sainsbury Gallery, Sackler Courtyard and Blavatnik Hall. The scheme has taken... Read More

Diébédo Francis Kéré wins Serpentine Pavilion 2017 project

A pavilion that mimics a grand tree and offers a spectacular waterfall has won the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion project. The Serpentine Gallery’s artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel have named architect Diébédo Francis Kéré the latest designer for the annual project. The award-winning architect, who leads Kéré Architecture in Berlin, will bring his characteristic sense of light and life to Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park... Read More

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