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Exhibitions

London Design Festival 2009

I had a look around some of London Design festival on Saturday, and managed to see a few different exhibits.

100% Design is the jewel in the crown of the festival, but I feel that it’s just too corporate for my tastes nowadays. The actual design-based stands were really good, but I don’t really need to be sold taps and ceramic tiles at every turn (no offence).

At Designers’ Block I saw my favourite thing of the festival, called ‘Dreamball’ by Unplug Design. The idea is that when aid is administered in the third world, it is delivered inside specially-cut packages. When the contents have been emptied, the package can be ripped along perforated lines and hand-woven into a football for the young children of that area. I think it’s just a great example of designers having real empathy for their users, and they have thought about the product from start to finish. I also had a bit of a kick-about with one of them and they are surprisingly robust! Unplug design are at www.unplugdesign.com

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I went looking for 3 yet 1, an exhibition by Parallel Projects, and ended up also finding my way to Young Creative Poland, which I thought was actually a lot more interesting. It was good to see a different culture’s perspective on design; a country which doesn’t get much recognition for design. I was fascinated mostly by the animations that they were running in there, and if I didn’t have more to see, I would have happily spent the rest of the day in there.

My final stop was at the Royal College of Art, to see CLOSEUP and Sunny Memories. Sunny memories I found to be a bit too superficial, and the exhibition’s design didn’t really explain the meaning of the objects I was looking at. I understood that they were all supposed to be showing the power of solar energy, but all I saw was a box, until I overheard that it was a coolbox for use in the desert!?

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CLOSEUP was more up my street, and showcased the various collaborations between the RCA and the Helen Hamlyn Research Associates. Research is my thing, so I was obviously going to like it, but the thing that stood out for me was the Samsung Tocco Lite user manual by Clara Gaggero and Adrian Westway, into which the phone can be placed to allow for easier direction-following. Such a simple idea, but with maximum effect.

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About Ben Lynam

Product Designer who likes to do things differently.

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