London Design Festival 2015: Intelligent Optimist

Thursday, 24 September 2015

(1) HORTENSE DUTHILLEUX   (2 & 3) EMIL KOZOLE   (4) JIM HU   (5) BRIDGETTE CHAN   (6) CAROLINE ANGIULO   (7) GARETH LADLEY   (8) SIDNEY LIM   (9 & 11) OLIVER THOMAS LIPP   (10) MARTA BORDES BLANCO   (12) YUXI SUN   (13) SAEEDA SAEED   (14) AKIKO SHINZATO   (15) MISHA VENTER

This weekend saw the beginning of one of my favourite London happenings - the London Design Festival! It's always tough to choose exactly what to try and get to because there's so much great stuff on the festival programme - personally, I try to prioritise events which showcase the work of young and emerging designers, something the festival is great at doing.

On Friday I headed down to Central St Martins to take a look around the Intelligent Optimist exhibition before it opened on Saturday. Its title sprang from writer Howard Jacobson's comment that he'd 'never met an intelligent optimist' - something which seems to clash with the notion of design, almost inherently optimistic with its creative problem solving. The show pulls together work from students of all levels, exploring responses to imagine new futures in broad categories of Future Gazers, Material Explorers, Social Agents and Fixers. It's full of interesting, intelligent and humourous ideas, all of which look towards better things.

I loved Louis Grosperrin's 'burial machine' - a Wallace and Gromit-style automatic undertaker contraption in a very accurate parody of IKEA's simple DIY aesthetic, right down to their graphics. Other students working from death included Vania Kristiani, who conceived of a digital platform allowing people to curate a narrative space for their loved ones after death, reminiscent of the 'memory palace' technique but accessible; Pan Wang's 'Memetry' creates augmented reality memorials in a climate where burial space is becoming more and more scarce.

On my 'let me take that home please' list was Bridgette Chan's series of amazing ceramic tea sets for one aiming to stimulate mindfulness, inspired by the concentric circles of Zen gardens, as well as Akiko Shinzato's mesmerising jewellery allowing the wearer to take on the physical features of another person. Also in the show was Project "Seen" by Emil Kozole, the self-censoring typeface developed from the way security agencies intercept our communications - it's received a fair amount of press, and for good reason (I definitely recommend trying out the typeface on the computer and seeing which words are 'watched'!).

If you're worried about missing other events at LDF or getting down in time, the good news is that Intelligent Optimist runs up until the 17th October, so you can see it after this week.

FIND 'INTELLIGENT OPTIMIST' AT: Central St Martins, 1 Granary Square, King's Cross, London N1C 4AA

No comments:

Post a comment