Tag Archives: London Design Festival

Kapoor, the Design Story of LDF

Wallpaer Chair Arch by Martino Gamper for Ercol

Wallpaer Chair Arch by Martino Gamper for Ercol


The seventh London Design Festival fared mightily last week, hosting a string of impressive and engaging events around the capital which gave meaning and redefiniton to “Design’ as we know it. We weren’t daunted by the recession, either Continue reading

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Hayon at Play

London Design Festival 2009

London Design Festival 2009

Play is big right now. Big play is even bigger. Jaime Hayon’s  latest creation The Tournament in Trafalgar Square is a spectacle before it’s a game: a beautiful spectacle based on a beautiful game.  If you haven’t seen the man sized painted chess pieces, upraised in Trafalgar Square, the historiacal home of all battle,  they’re worth it.  com

Each game is played by two contenders over an hour. One sits up in the white chair, one in the black, at opposite ends of the giant board. Each game lasts one hour and is presided over by a compere. Each move is enacted on the great board battlefield by Hayon helpers, who move the huge pieces for the pleasure of the crowd.  The pieces themselves are ornate, intricate, bespoke, and just  recognisably chessmen. The contests are virtual, figurative, played more for the sheer hell of it than to win a game of chess like the grandmasters. And the audience watches something apart from the game, the moves and the chance of victory. They can’t really follow the match anyway to be honest. But this is not about victory. The tournament is for the giant thrill of the game.

Mike Exon

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Design in Recession – the FT talk

 The London Design Festival got down to business at the V&A on Monday morning, with the appropriately titled discussion ‘Responses to the Recession’.  On the podium sat Camper vice-president Miguel Fluxa Orti, Liberty CEO Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, and designers Doreen Lorenzo (Frog Design) and Rolf Sachs. Design’s been as pummeled as the next industry this recession, so what are we doing about it?

Bourdonnay offered up a useful view from the shop floor of a premium retailer. ‘Customers are trading down’ he said. ‘The demographic that’s been moist affected is the family with children, property and assets.  People have seen their investments dwindle. On the other hand, younger people in their twenties are doing much better. They still want to shop on their limited incomes, but they’re able to find great value products (faster supply chains and favourable interest rates).

The net result is an educated market that wants quality but is trading down in terms of what it spends. ‘My daughter is getting married next year but why would you buy champagne when you can buy excellent prosecco that tastes just as goof in blind tests.

On top of this, said Sachs, is the way people have changed their buying habits. When we shop we’re not looking for perfection, but for integrity. We’ve stopped binge buying, there is less impulse purchasing and instead people are thinking about what they are buying, he said.

The consensus was, it’s not about ‘cheap’ but about ‘value’. Luxury brands like Hermes are still performing but in a market with consumption reduced overall. It’s sectors like telecoms, energy and healthcare that have spotted the opportunity for product design early, according to Lorenzo.

On the global stage, the Asian markets are about to have a big impact on what we design and how, says Lorenzo. The design students from China and Asia have a new found freedom that is powerful and distinctive, she reckons.

You can see the whole talk here.

This post was written up from the  FT Breakfast talk ‘Responses to the Recession’ held  as part of the London Design Festival 2009 on Monday 21 September.

Mike Exon

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