Unstoppable Spirit by Nono Musca and Land Rover

Land Rover design director Gerry McGovern and Italian artist Nino Mustica have collaborated to create Unstoppable Spirit, two seven-metre-high contemporary structures that stand boldly by the London’s River Thames and the Royal Festival Hall.

Mustica experiments with technology, working with three-dimensional modelling software to create his lively sculptures. Unstoppable Spirit expresses Land Rover’s newest family member, the Discovery Sport. Light dynamically reflects on the interplay of shapes and surfaces to represent a car that is at once stylish and a robust machine.

Unstoppable Spirit will be here all week as part of Frieze London.

Read our highlights from the PAD London as part of Frieze Week.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK 

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London Design Festival 2012

The London Design Festival opened yesterday at its main hub, the V&A. The festival sees a host of designers, showrooms, design organisations and retailers participating in over 200 events across the city. For a dramatic entrance to the V&A, designer Dominic Harris of Cinimod Studio has collaborated with lighting specialist Philips to create a temporary lighting installation in the underground tunnel entrance to the museum.

Inside the walls of the fabulous museum, conceptual designer Rolf Sachs has responded to the grandeur of the building’s Henry Cole Wing Grand Staircase with an evocative installation that fully exploits the soaring height of the ornate space. Here individual drops of ink are released from the great height into a vast glass tank of illuminated liquid, exploding into organic colour clouds; each one different and mesmerising in form.

Elsewhere in the building, champagne brand Veuve Clicquot has challenged Keiichi Matsuda to create a digital installation called Prism. It is made up from a series of screens through which fast moving data streams are visualised and coaxed into unfolding shapes and patterns of light and colour. It represents an alternative view of London, exposing unseen data flows in the capital through a sculptural, immersive interface suspended in the V&A’s uppermost cupola.

The American Hardwood Export Council set Royal College of Art design products students a brief to design and produce a functional chair using hardwood. Under the leadership of RCA tutors and designers Sebastian Wrong and Harry Richardson, the use of wood as a material and its life-cycle impact had to be taken into consideration by the students. The resulting designs were developed into working prototypes with the help of Sir Terence Conran’s furniture manufacturing firm Benchmark.

Away from the hub highlights include 19 Greek Street, a new venue that opened this month to be London’s hub for craft and sustainability in design. This six-floor Victorian townhouse houses an outpost of ESPASSO, the US specialists in modernist and contemporary Brazilian design.

For the first time, French crystal makers Baccarat exhibits its creations at designjunction, presenting Vase-O-Rama, a new collection in collaboration with Lausanne’s school of art and design ECAL alongside designs by renowned names such as Philippe Starck and Patricia Urquiola.

A new exhibition space has opened on 4 Cromwell Place opposite the V&A. The space is showcasing 12 new and experimental design projects, including Design Marketo, Haptic Thought and the Wonder Cabinets of Europe.

Elsewhere the 2012 African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival celebrates the breadth, quality and originality of black talent throughout all creative disciplines from the UK and overseas.

The three events of the AACDD Festival during the Festival showcase art installations and themed projects spanning architecture, interior design, furniture, lighting, textiles, glass, ceramics, accessories, fashion, and jewellery, as well as ?ne art, sculpture, graphic design, photography, ?lm, media and multimedia.

The commercial cornerstone of the festival is once again based at 100% Design in Earls Court. The country’s largest single-site design exhibition can be a struggle to get through, but it does give an interesting overview of the more commercial side of the industry.

Elsewhere there is 100% Norway – marking its ninth year here – which as the name suggests showcases pioneering design from the the country. This year it has relocated to a new design district in Tent in East London. Designers include Hallgier Homstvedt, Vibeke Skar, Magnus Pettersen, Caroline Olsson and Transplant as well as a number of the country’s leading manufacturers such as Northern Lighting, Tonning and Wik & Walsoe.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

The London Design Festival runs from 14-23 September at venues across the capital.

Read our report on Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum that runs as part of the LDF. Also read our highlights from the LDF 2011.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | www.d-talks.com | Bookshop www.d-talks.com/bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

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Chalayan’s visual adventure

B-Side showcases Hussein Chalayan’s explorations of the body, of movement and of voyeurism – highlighting his fascination with form and process. From pieces represented in new ways, to those making their public debut, the exhibition at Spring Project confirms that Chalayan’s work isn’t just about radical fashion design. Here he is sculptor, filmmaker and animator.

Hussein Chalayan B-Side ©Nicholas Smith

With his inter-disciplinary mindset, the British/Turkish-Cypriot fashion designer is regarded as a leading innovator in visual culture, with a significant body of his art collected internationally.

Speed, displacement and cultural identity all play a role in the two discrete projects on show at B-Side. Chalayan describes Anaesthetics as a ‘film sketch book’ consisting of 11 chapters each based on what the designer refers to as ‘institutions which codify behaviour in order to conceal violence’.

Hussein Chalayan B-Side ©Nicholas Smith

Light boxes isolate imagery from the film. And just as music has always been crucial to his fashion shows, here the designer provides a diverse soundtrack ranging from Bulgarian choir, to songs by Antony and the Johnsons, and Chalayan himself playing the electric guitar.

Chalayan named his spring/summer 2009 collection Inertia. It contained sensational body hugging dresses with dramatic protruding backs created in rubber foam – representing a snapshot of speed and the moment of collision. The moulds are on full display at B-Side.

Hussein Chalayan B-Side ©Nicholas Smith

‘The moulds are really beautiful in their own right,’ he enthuses, adding: ‘but showing them is about process and the in-between moments. I always talk about movement and animation in my work, but this instead is the monumentalisation of the frozen moment. A freeze frame,’ he notes.

B-Side at Spring Projects follows on from an exhibition at the Lisson Gallery where Chalayan created an installation that explores music as a cultural form. The two are a reminder of the his remarkable talent as a leading conceptual artist.

Words and images by guest blogger Nicholas Smith

Hussein Chalayan: B-Side was on show at London’s Spring Projects this autumn.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | www.d-talks.com | Bookshop www.d-talks.com/bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

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Kapoor: Turning the World Upside Down

Turning the World Upside Down brings out the child in us. There is something elementary in the concept behind Turner prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor’s latest sculptures, yet the experience of viewing our reflection, and that of the surrounding Hyde Park, in simple, distorted and upside down forms is a strangely liberating, almost healing experience.

Constructed from highly reflective stainless steel, these four giant curved mirror sculptures that are dotted around Kensington Gardens aim to create new vistas in this famous London setting and intensify our experience as summer turns to autumn and autumn to winter.

On a crisp autumn day, the sky a piercing blue, the park a lush pallet of burnt oranges, crimson red and rich yellows Kapoor’s simple statement couldn’t evoke a more visceral reaction.

Kapoor’s work may not be to everyone’s taste, but if public art is there to enhance its environment, as well as engage the audience, then this is public art at its finest.

It seems a real shame though to remove these sculptures on March 13th when the exhibition ends – it would be quite something to witness winter turn to spring, spring to summer.. through the eyes of these park sculptures.

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Anish Kapoor: Turning the World Upside Down is alive in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park until 13 March 2011. The exhibition is organised by The Royal Parks and the Serpentine Gallery and supported by Lisson Gallery, Gladstone Gallery and anonymous donors.

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | UK | www.d-talks.com | Bookshop www.d-talks.com/bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

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Social art: The Dream Factory

Should creativity be socially responsible? The Dream Factory thinks so. The collection of pioneering artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers, thinkers and social entrepreneurs believe that you can impact on the world by enhancing communities and raising social consciousness through creativity.

Art Against knives

Sponsored by Japanese carmaker Honda, the collective was born in May with an initial exhibition held at The Dray Walk Gallery on London’s Brick Lane. The exhibition will progress into an annual event alongside a series of eclectic shows and workshops running throughout the country. For more on future events visit the Dream Factory.

DT met with some of the so called ‘cultural engineers’…

Art Against Knives

‘Our aim is to set-up Our Space, a place designed, built and sustained by disadvantaged youth in East London,’ explains Art Against Knives co-founder Katy Dawe. ‘The area is developing at a fast rate and we feel there is little contact with the local community. We want to bridge this gap.’

The initiative was started in 2009 following a horrific knife attack on co-founder Oliver Hemsley a year earlier that left the 22 year old confined to a wheelchair. Dawe then organised a fundraising event for friends and fellow Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design students which grabbed the attention of local art and fashion heavyweights who donated artwork to the exhibition and auction.

Art Against knives

What started as raising awareness on knife crime has since evolved. The non-profit organisation is currently working on a number of initiatives within the art world – including collaborating with Open Shorditch, a coalition of local businesses and residents. ‘We will do mentorships so that anyone interested in the arts can gain an insight into the industry and perhaps it can lead to job opportunities,’ Dawe enthuses. The team will shortly be running workshops and are aiming to open their first Our Space in April. ‘The project is like a net – the corners eventually coming together to form a square.’

Benedict Radcliffe

Benedict Radcliffe creates intricate life-size wire frame models of supercars and graffiti-bikes. An architecture graduate from the Glasgow School of Art, he learnt his skills more or less whilst working at an architect firm in Scotland. ‘I learnt to fabricate techniques such as railings and spiral staircases so much so that cutting-edge projects were sent my way,’ he says.

Benedict Radcliffe's Lamborghini sculpture

Radcliffe works with any subject that interests him including an ‘Air Sculpture Garden’ for Nike – a vertical garden complete with a giant, 3D wire shoe. The artist admits he doesn’t intentionally set out with a social message, but such projects as his pedal-powered Lamborghini makes a clear ironic statement. ‘It was also about having fun,’ he says.


ColaLife founder Simon Berry has come up with a simple solution to help tackle child mortality in some of the more remote regions of Africa. The ColaLife concept is simple. ‘You can find Coca-Cola anywhere in Africa,’ he explains. By utilising Coke’s distribution networks, sachets of re-hydration salts and other urgent medical products can be transported in ‘Aid Pods’ designed to fit into the unused wedge space between the necks of Coke bottles and the crates.

ColaLife in Colombo © Simon Berry

The initial idea came to Berry when he was a development worker in Zambia in 1988. Then, one in five children died before the age of five, often from mere diarrhoea preventable with a simple dose of re-hydration salts – the mortality figure remain the same today.

Berry is now in talks with Coca-Cola to trial the scheme. ‘We want to distribute this to very remote areas starting in Africa – the aim being for it to be eventually taken on by local organisations.’

Heritage Orchestra

Heritage Orchestra collaborate with traditional and experimental artists from the world of art and music to encourage work that they hope engages the public by being relevant and reflecting the zeitgeist. Their mission is to reinvent the orchestra to express modern Britain.

‘Our ultimate aim is to be a different type of orchestra,’ explains artistic director Chris Wheeler. ‘We have a traditional set-up, and the instruments are the same, but our mind is set in the future. We want to be a modern orchestra and be open to new ideas and technology.’

Nargess Shahmanesh Banks

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | www.d-talks.com | Bookshopwww.d-talks.com/bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

All rights and labelled images are covered by ©