Last month, as part of the Design festival 2017, I visited Somerset house for the Design Frontiers exhibition. This was a free, group exhibition of over 30 leading international designers. The aim of the exhibition was to illuminate the thinking and working practices of these celebrated designers, whose work is redefining the frontiers of their disciplines: from automotive, fashion, product design to graphics, digital and performance.
I arrived Thursday afternoon and was greeted by Pentatonic: the world first mobile off-grid recycling plant in the center court of Somerset House. Using London’s rubbish, Pentatonic produces architectural tiles that piece together an immersive installation. Individuals were able to watch the live recycling process then hold and analyse the produced tiles, which they could then add to the installation.
The exhibition at Somerset House offered visitors a curated selection of work across disciplines in digestible, room-sized areas without being over-whelming. This allowed each room to have its own identity and really give you an insight into the designer’s brand and concept.
One highlight for me was the Please Don’t Feed the Designers by PriestmanGoode; a room which offered an insight into the workings of product and automotive design. Visitors were able to engage with the various installations within the room, including a physical replica of the studios Horizon train carriage as well as a guided tour through a virtual reality headset.
“Much of what we do is confidential, and they’re often major, infrastructural projects that we work on for a very long time,” said Kirsty Dias, director at PriestmanGoode. “So this is a chance to show people our design process.”
Other exhibits at Design Frontiers included the launch of Benjamin Hubert’s smartphone accessory brand Nolii, Domenic Lippa’s monochrome installation 250 Facts and Figures, and Katie Greenyer of Pentland Brands presented Materialise. The variety of work displayed was truly inspiring and collectively presented the impact design has on our everyday lives and how it can improve them.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Design Frontiers exhibition and felt it did a great job representing London as the centre of design innovation. It showed how collaborations between designers and clients/companies are testing the boundaries of the industry, encouraging the process of sharing and building knowledge to gain deeper insights.