Since its start in 2003, the London Design Festival has become known, for a landmark project each year—an outside-the-box public design display set in a highly traveled location of England’s capital city. This year is no different. The 2014 festival, September 13-21, has teamed up with Airbnb, the online global marketplace for vacation home rentals, to present “A Place Called Home” in Trafalgar Square September 18-21. “As a design-led company with a creative community of hosts and travelers, we believe in the power of design to create meaningful and memorable experiences,” says Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb.
The design fair’s project promises to be both meaningful and memorable as it brings together four British designers—Jasper Morrison, Raw Edges, Studioilse, and Patternity—for a look at the question, What is home? Each design entity will present an interpretation within one of four constructed buildings, each with its own exterior identity and interior vision.
Designer Jasper Morrison’s vision is based on someone who loves pigeons—“Because who else would choose to live in the middle of Trafalgar Square?” the designer says. Morrison designed his ‘residence’ to accommodate the fictional homeowner with a simple, ordered interior; the contemporary furnishings Morrison designed; and accessories that tell of the homeowner’s birding hobby. The exterior of the structure hints at the interior’s focus with perches and roosting boxes for the homeowner’s winged friends.
Inspired by library archive stacks, Raw Edges, a London-based design team, creates an interior that transforms with the turn of a handle. Accessible from the building’s veranda, three movable panels slide side-to-side in order to create bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom, as needed. An overhead pendant light is the single light source for the home, where a showerhead doubles as a kitchen shelf and the bed and hammock fold away as one room is “turned” into another—an interesting idea for small-footprint urban design solution.
London-based designer Ilse Crawford is founder of Studioilse through which she brings to life her design philosophy of creating environments where humans feel comfortable, public spaces to make people feel at ease, and residences that are habitable and make sense for the people who live in them. Studioilse’s ‘home’ references those mundane activities that make every house feel nurturing—a boiling kettle, a slamming door, rattling silverware, and the smell of home, a bespoke fragrance developed specially for the London Design Fair project. This idea of a residence literally asks, “What does home mean to you?” with the words displayed prominently on the floor of the structure. Visitors to the project are encouraged to respond to the question via a live twitter feed.
Rising design pioneer Patternity is a firm focused on pattern inspiration, innovation, and exploration with a knack for seeing pattern everywhere—from the mundane to the magnificent. For their Trafalgar Square ‘home,’ the group outfitted the interior with three giant kaleidoscopes. Each one reflects the world around us with circles, lines, triangles, and squares, creating an interactive installation for the public to discover.
The four designers’ displays reflect the illustrations of “A Place Called Home” in each of their minds. “We all live in a house and are conscious of other people’s homes,” says Ben Evans, director of the London Design Festival. “This project will make you think more about how you live with design.”
If you experience this design-visionaries’-ideas-brought-to-life exhibition next week in London, please let us know your thoughts! And we’d love to know: What does home mean to you?
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