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This weekend the Design Festival begins with many locations London wide. For the first time Paddington basin is getting involved along with a number of other sites.

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Although today, Thursday 13th, was a launch event for participants, the exhibits are already up and running and can be previewed prior to the weekend.

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The Design Route’s Launch Event welcome board this evening (not for outcasts such as I!)

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Handout showing the various exhibits’ locations

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The Design Route’s banners seen throughout the area

Some of the exhibits, notably Sir Peter Blake’s boats and Liz West’s artwork, are permanent artworks. The others are visiting exhibits, although I am of the opinion the Snøhetta rotating book pavilion could become a new fixture at Paddington.

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Liz West’s Colour Transfer

In total there are just seven sites roughly divided between those at the side of the canal at Paddington and in Kingdom Street. Apart from Darcle and May which I have featured before and Colour Transfer which was also featured a few months back, the one outstanding piece right by the canal is the Paddington Central Flip Book Garden. Its an “immersive landscape experience that mimics the exciting life-size sensation of a pop-up book…” Although I have not yet had an opportunity to see how it works, there was a photo shoot and the Flip Book Garden was very much in evidence. No doubt this weekend onlookers will be able to see what it really is about and how the multi-purpose dynamic environment shall work.

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Photo shoot with Ido Garini, the guy in the middle!

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Explanation of the Flip Book Garden’s concept

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Another view of the Flip Book Garden

The RCA’s Retail of the Future exhibit, sited underneath the canal bridge, is the one I have not seen as was pressed for time. However I did see the initial works at the beginning of the week although it did not give me any idea of what the exhibit would ultimately look like.

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Initial work for the Retail of the Future Exhibit seen on Monday 10th September

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En route to the Snøhetta Book Pavilion

Round the corner, at the rear of the amphitheatre, is Kingdom Street. The first exhibit is the Snøhetta Book Pavilion. Its a very creative idea and has potential although the ‘pages’ are huge and invariably very heavy. It takes some effort to move the pages round, so its not exactly what one would expect. The overall concept of being immersed in the pages of a book is nice however and one can see the potential – if only the pages were less hard to shift! There are traditional books too in a part of the pavillion which clearly reflects the old order.

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Some of the ‘pages’ one can browse – they’re very heavy though!

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The old order – real proper books! Not some giant sized flip pages or ebooks!

Within the lobby at Two Kingdom Street are some conceptual designs by various Royal College of Art students, entitled the Lobby Space of the Future. The idea is to put forward some ways in which spaces can be altered and perceptions improved in order to create a better interaction between public, private space and art, in other words, to make these spaces more human. A very difficult concept indeed as progress seems to have the double edged sword of alienation. These are early attempts and no doubt in due course some way or means will be found to improve these spaces greatly and enhance the public consciousness greatly.

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At the entrance to the RCA’s Lobby Space of the Future

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New Sites for Work – Work by Dan Hawkins and June Tong

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Lobby Optics – Works by Dylan Radcliffe-Brown and Ajay Larr

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Ambiguous space – Works by Michael Piderit and Valeria Munox Biggs

The final exhibit is again by RCA students, entitled Residential Build of the Future. Its an experimental project with a view to enhancing homes that are more suited to humans and their needs. In a historical context its a very brave one because many endeavours have failed. The modern estates of the sixties were thought to be the most ideal habitations for people but these soon turned to ghettos, dangerous places where only drug addicts ventured and so on. What is popular now, is not necessarily popular in the future and indeed certain forms of design will contribute to a less salubrious and considerably unsafe environment. Today’s fantastic ideas have a habit of becoming tomorrows’ nightmares. These RCA students have genuine aspirations however and its nice to see what sort of ideas and trends are currently coming on stream.

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The RCA’s Housing for the Future exhibition

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Bonus! There’s a model of Liz West’s Colour Transfer next to the Housing for the Future exhibit

Links:

Paddington Central Design Route

Constructing the Snøhetta Book Pavilion

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for this! I’ve always wanted to attend this festival but the dates never line up. Now I felt like I’ve been there, thanks to your article.

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