The future of design was a hot topic at the London Design Festival 2013, and some of the most optimistic and cutting edge concepts for the future were at The Fifth Element, a new platform for showcasing projects exploring science, technology and process in design. Part of Designersblock at the iconic Southbank Centre, The Fifth Element envisioned designers taking more inspiration from science, medical equipment made from everyday household goods, and society making the most of everything - even spoiled milk!
Featured projects at The Fifth Element ranged from the playful to the practical to the poetic. Blow by Florian Dussopt is an interactive LED light installation that is activated by visitors blowing into a pinwheel. Domestic Science Machines include a salad spinner-turned centrifuge and other household appliances given scientific functions. Design for Death imagines a final transformation, sending ashes after cremation into the clouds to make rain.
Multi-disciplinary collective Jiggling Atoms made a big impact with multiple projects showing the fun and thought-provoking outcomes when design and science meet, from Musical Jelly to hand-drawn optical illusions to plates decorated with the patterns of lab specimens.
There’s plenty of pessimism about the challenges the world faces, but the concepts in The Fifth Element are a reminder of the promise technology, science and design have for turning things around. It’s refreshing to get a vision of a future that’s less dystopian, and more delightful. This is a world we can look forward to living in!
Photos by Charlene Lam for Inhabitat