Bamboo Ring by Kengo Kuma - Photo by Ed Reeve.
7 installations pushing design boundaries at the V&A. Bamboo Ring by Kengo Kuma – All photos by Ed Reeve.

London 2019Victoria & Albert Museum is London Design Festival true epicenter. Here you can find specially-commissioned installations across the venues’ historic halls, gardens and galleries. We selected 7 great installations including works by Sam Jacob, Kengo Kuma and Matthew McCormick.

‘Sea Things’ by Sam Jacob

@ Tapestry Hall.

This year, British architect Sam Jacob teamed up with SAP to create a giant mirrored cube suspended above visitors exploring the role of design and technology in reducing ocean plastics. An animated motion graphic, created alongside Rory Cahill,  “internally reflects to an infinity that seems both as wide as the ocean and as large as the challenges we face“.

Sea Things by Sam Jacob - Photo by Ed Reeve.

Titled Sea Thing, the installation reimagines a famous pattern of fish and sea creatures created by Charles and Ray Eames which Jacob found in the V&A’s textiles collection. The installation is both a digital and physical manifestation of the global single-use plastics crisis.

In addition, in the Ceramic Galleries, Jacob has remade seven water vessels from the V&A’s Collection made from recycling to experimental post plastic materials. “The intervention emphasises issues of value – the design of water vessels in global culture and history, along with the value of plastic itself ”. 

Bamboo () Ring: weaving into lightness’ by Kengo Kuma

@ John Madeski Garden.

Bamboo Ring by Kengo Kuma - Photo by Ed Reeve.

Inspired by the John Madeski Garden, Kengo Kuma has weaved rings of bamboo and carbon fibre together to create a nest-like light structure that conceptualizes the building material as a Japanese symbol of strength and rapid growth. The installation is an exploration of pliancy, precision, lightness and strength: by pulling two ends, it naturally de-forms and half of the woven structure is lifted into the air.

The resulting effect achieves a certain rigidity while maintaining the unique material properties and beauty of bamboo, “a remarkable, sustainable material that resonates with my childhood memories and looks into the future of architecture.” Explains Kengo Kuma, founder of Kengo & Associates, who has recently completed the V&A Dundee.

Affinity in Autonomy’ by Sony Design

@ The Prince Consort Gallery.

Affinity In Autonomy by Sony Design - Photo by Ed Reeve.

Sony design explores the independence and free-will of robotics with an interactive kinetic pendulum which moves randomly but also detects and recognises human presence in the room.

Affinity In Autonomy by Sony Design - Photo by Ed Reeve.

The conceptual piece envisions a world in which intelligence, technology and creative design are more integrated.  “We believe that the relationship between humans and technology will evolve, through deeper understanding of Artificial Intelligence and its ability to display feelings.” Explain at Sony Design.

‘Avalanche’ by Matthew McCormick

@ British Gallery landing.

Avalanche by Matthew McCormick - Photo by Ed Reeve.

Canadian designer Matthew McCormick fuels thoughtful introspection on the effects of climate change through his experiential walk through Avalanche ‘suspended in time’ installation. On entering, visitors find a lowly lit, deceptively reflective space, bringing a sense of entrapment and confusion around the uncertain pathway through. Grappling with the increasing darkness of the narrow, constricting corridor, visitors are urged to pause in a heightened sense of consciousness, as they toy with the human instinct to find the safest route out.

‘Non-Pavilion’ by Studio Micat, There Project and So Proud Studio

@ The Sackler Courtyard.

Non-Pavilion by Studio MICAT - Photo by Ed Reeve.

In Switzerland, the volumes of buildings awaiting granting of planning permission are outlined with poles to help public envisage the impact of future developments. From here, the Non-Pavilion by Studio Micat, There Project and So Proud Studio creates a non-space serving as a reminder of our urgent need to produce less… through Augmented Reality as well!

Non-Pavilion by Studio MICAT - Photo by Ed Reeve.

“Can design facilitate a change in mindsets away from consumerism and the mantra of economic growth? Can design help identify and promote societal values fit for the 21st century? How can designers and architects use their skills to provide vision and inspiration for this progressive and much needed movement?”

‘Mardi Gras Indian suits’ by Big Chief Demond Melancon

@ Tapestry Hall.

Black Masking by Big Chief Demond Melancon - Photo by Ed Reeve.

Contemporary artist and educator, Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters, and Assemble are collaborating with the V&A to bring Melancon’s huge Mardi Gras Indian suits composed of intricately hand-sewn beadwork to the Tapestries Gallery.

The suits, illustrating actual and imagined events from African and American history, will sit in the gallery among rare tapestries from 1425, depicting hunting scenes and falconry.

‘Robin Hood Gardens’ 

@ The Porter Gallery

Do Huh Suh Robin Hood Gardens - Photo by Ed Reeve.

Before the controversial demolition of  the Robin Hood Gardens housing estate – 1972-2017 – by Alison and Peter Smithson, the V&A salvaged a three-storey section of each facade and the interior fittings of two flats, as an internationally recognised example of Brutalism. The structures are on show at The Porter Gallery together with a video installation by South Korean artist Do Ho Suh.

Suh’s panoramic film is a meditation on home, memory and displacement bringing to life the “intangible quality” of Robin Hood Gardens as much as its architectural shell, its “energy, history, life and memory that has accumulated there”. The exhibition debuted at 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale and it’s supported by Venice Biennale fun in memory of Dr. Martin Roth, Victoria Miro and Lehman Maupin [read more].

Black Masking by Big Chief Demond Melancon - Photo by Ed Reeve.
7 installations pushing design boundaries at Victoria & Albert Museum.

#7 installations pushing design boundaries at Victoria & Albert Museum.