The Best of the London Design Festival 2016

From a soaring clock to a tiny hall of lights, the 10 design installations that caught our eye in London.

Lee Broom Opticality for LDF 2016 photo credit Luke Hayes 5.jpg
Ed Reeve

“Mezzing in Lebanon,” designed by Annabel Karim Kassar as that country’s entry in the first London Design Biennale, won first prize for its evocation of a Beirut street market, complete with food stalls, a small cinema, and even a barber shop.

Ed Reeve

“The Green Room,” an installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum by the London studio Glithero, riffs on the idea of time (it was sponsored by the watchmaker Panerai) with a six story-high, rotating cylindrical curtain of multicolored silicone cords that rise and fall as they make one revolution per minute.

Workshop for Potential Design

In “ABC. . .,” an exhibition in the Brompton Design District, the editor Oli Stratford comments (left) on Study O Portable’s “DIffuse Screen” (right), part of “XYZ. . .,” an exhibition at Etage Projects in Copenhagen. Both exhibitions were organized by the Workshop for Potential Design.

Jess Tully

Martyn Thompson’s “Rock Pool,” designed with Charlotte Lawton, features Thompson’s latest textile designs, based on his photographs of the Ionian Sea, in an installation that was a Victorian-tinged collage of furniture, plants, and sculpture.

Pilar Viladas

“The world’s smallest sauna,” by Marcis Zieman, was part of “Soak, Steam, Dream: Reinventing Bathing Culture,” an exhibition at the Roca Gallery curated by Jane Withers that examines the history of communal bathing and presents bathhouses designed by contemporary architects.

Damian Griffiths

“No Ordinary Love,” an exhibition at the gallery SEEDS, was curated by Martino Gamper, and includes ceramics by a collective of thirteen designers, including Tiago Almeida, Lars Frideen, Gemma Holt, Jochen Holz, Max Lamb, and Bethan Wood — all of whom are friends, but who have never collaborated in this way.

Deniz Guzel, courtesy Galerie Kreo.

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s limited-edition Hakone table for Galerie Kreo is a monumental, nearly 10 foot-long dining table made of solid oak from a 400 year-old-tree. The designers intended it to be a table for family meals, noting that the wear and tear of everyday use will only increase its beauty.

Courtesy JamesPlumb

JamesPlumb’s “Reading Steps” is their re-do of a 19th century staircase; the designers added an upholstered seat at the top, to create a place for reading or contemplation. Hannah Plumb and James Russell are known for their lyrical re-fashioning of antique objects with a contemporary spin.

Luke Hayes

Lee Broom’s hall-of-mirrors installation “Opticality” was a clever showcase for his Op Art-inspired Oprical lights, which were introduced during Milan’s design week earlier this year, in a mobile showroom made from a van.

Courtesy Studio Swine

“Fordlandia,” Studio Swine’s exhibition on Henry Ford’s rubber processing plant and company town in the Brazilian rainforest — a failed venture that was abandoned in the 1940’s — reimagines the place as a model of collaboration and sustainability, and includes the designers’ own creations, like this chair made from ebonite, a hard rubber.