Gallery: Inhabitat Reports from London Design Festival 2009


The London Design Festival is in full swing, and Inhabitat has been on the scene to give you the scoop on the dazzling examples of sustainable design presented at this year’s event. Read on for our favorite products and innovations that we spotted this year.

If you happen to be in town, a must see is the brilliantly curated In Praise of Shadows exhibition at the V&A. Showcasing innovative and enchanting contemporary European lighting design, the exhibition concept was inspired by the EU’s directive to phase out low efficiency light bulbs by 2012.

Sonumbra by textile architects, was designed with the needs of the developing world in mind. The tree-like web captures sunlight during the day, while providing shade from the sun. Then at night, it converts the solar energy into power to light up in beautiful patterns.

Fragile Future (pictured above) by Drift, is partly made from printed circuit boards and Dandelions with LED lights inside. The 156 LED light use 12watts in total, providing a light source lifespan of 20,000 hours.

Merel Karhof‘s colorful scarves made from her incredible Wind Knitting Factory featured at YCN.

Goldsmiths MA Design Critical Practice graduate Dina Papathanasiou’s Oikological hut project proposes a series of slotted building blocks, made from recycled and reused construction materials, to create a structural system which can filter rain water to be used by building inhabitants.

Shigeru Ban‘s 22-meter high paper tower installationSize + Matter, created in collaboration with cardboard manufacturer Sonoco, is located Southbank Centre.

Design Plus Award winner for its innovation and sustainability, the Roca W + W (wash basin + water closet) combines 4 liters of recycled water from the wash basin with two fresh water liters in the toilet’s 6-liter flush toilet. Part of Roca’s new ‘Reusing Water’ technology, the product is estimated to reduce the use of water by 25% each year.

Architect Ian Douglas-Jones and designer Ben Rousseau were chosen by Arts Co. to create a dramatic entrance to the V&A Museum. Their installation, Wasted, highlights the continued use of landfills by using reclaimed materials.

This project marks the launch of Arts Co.’s company E&K Arts, who seek to create aspirational products made by artists and constructed from reclaimed materials.

Gitta Gschwendtner‘s Off-Cut seat uses small pieces of off-cut material typically discarded in standard timber manufacturing processes.

The Pallet Chair is manufactured in a collective workshop in Lugano, Buenos Aires, however, its makers make the instructions available for purchase online to encourage others to rework wooden pallets into functional furniture.

For 100% design artists were invited to personalize the chairs, to be auctioned off for charity. Artist Cornelia Parker painted her chair with alternate white and red pigments. The white pigment was made from the chalk from the white cliffs of Dover, and the red, from a house that fell on to them.

First launched in 1960, Hans Brattrud’s Scandia Stackable Chair has been put back into production by Fjordfiesta. Updating the classic design with modern, sustainable manufacturing techniques, Fjordfiesta use low-formaldehyde adhesive, Aswood, water-based lacquer, and metal frames that are lacquered instead of chromed.

Photo by Gideon Hart, 2009

Pop-up gallery Libby Sellers is occupying a beautiful light-filled parking garage in South Kensington this year. Featured in the gallery space isDick van Hoff‘s ‘Industrial Tailor,’ a traditional tile stove designed for The Netherlands’ oldest company, Royal Tichelaar Makkum. The stove requires no gas, and is temperature-controlled with an oxygen gauge.


Note on writer’s clothing featured in photos:

Thank you to Melissa Shoes and Bibico for allowing me to showcase some of their ethical fashion!

More info here:

Red Lady Dragon Peeptoe Bow Shoes were made by Vivienne Westwood Anglomania, in collaboration with Melissa Shoes.

Besides being 100% recyclable, Melissa shoes are made from MEFLEX, a revolutionary breathable and non-toxic plastic and are totally cruelty free and devoid of animal products. Plus, a startling 99.9% of Melissa’s factory water and waste is recycled and the Brazil-based company’s employees are paid above average wages and benefits.

Striped boat neck sailor jersey tunic

Bibico is a design-led company that loves beautiful, simple, charming clothes. Bibico is about being fair.

Each garment is stitched, sewn and knitted by women who work in co-operatives that are certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation. Women who are as committed to producing high quality garments as they are dedicated to transforming their communities. Bibico is a Fair Trade clothing company that seeks to support vulnerable communities and provide you with fashion that is conscious in more ways than one.


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1 Comment

  1. Inhabitat is Looking fo... September 9, 2010 at 12:28 am

    […] year’s show! This is an incredible opportunity to get a press pass to the show to check out the most exciting emerging designers, while showing off your stunning photography or writing chops to an international audience of […]

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