This week, 16 – 24 September, is London Design Festival and Shoreditch is a cauldron of design houses, designer goods outlets and installations. Here are three that caught my eye and if you are quick you could experience them too.
Camille Walala has a massive installation right at the heart of the City of London and coincidentally barely a couple of hundred metres from the Goat Statue on Brushfield St where most of our public street art tours start. “Villa Walala” features her signature toytown-esque colourful shapes which thanks to accompanying blurb I learn she describes as Tribal Pop, it looks like a bouncy castle without the bouncy bit but you can wander around it and even chill out on the deck chairs.
You may call it a disruption of the intimidating financial factories surrounding it if you wish but it looks brilliantly out of place, like a bit of Disneyland transported to Bishopsgate. More information here
Camille has certainly come a long way since her early days putting up paste up harlequin jacketed fashion figures around Brick Lane in 2009 (got to slip some street art in here somewhere).
Last year she created another psychedelic street subversion with a painted pedestrian crossing on Southwark St near Tate Modern.
If eyeball bleeding tribal stylings are your thing then on a similar bent deeper in the heart of Shoreditch is “Estate Playground” by Yinka Ilori at the entrance to CitizenM on Holywell Lane opposite Eine’s Grenfell Tower tribute mural.
Almost opposite Cargo Nightclub where our street art tours almost always end is an austere looking pop up cabin at 74 Rivington St where Universal Design Studio and The Office Group have come together to create a pavilion of repetition (their description). A very open cabin houses a long table, some chairs and overhead some hanging plastic tubes.
Sitting in that cabin was actually a very calming and serene experience, each pair of tubes is hung independently and wind blowing through the structure created waves of surges which gently rippled through the canopy, beautiful to watch. Think “Chinese lantern garden styled by Ikea” but do think it in a good way!
I got to make a pair of the tubes, an experience which taught me I don’t have my kids’ knack of getting things right first time without reading the instructions. Participation in the assembly of those hanging tubes was due to end today as the canopy was virtually complete but the canopy remains in place and there is a program of further activities scheduled, check the website for details.
Also on Rivington St is a wonderful mind frazzling trick of the eye installation in the Lee Broom studios at 95 Rivington St. You enter “On Reflection” through a darkened drape and find yourself in a dark but cosy room furnished to a charcoal grey minimalist design aesthetic; candles flicker on a mantelpiece, low slung chairs and tables invite you to sit, an sleek modern fire flickers in the wall and a large mirror reflects the scene back at you. But wait a minute, in the reflection the room is empty, where have I gone??? Your mind spins, it looks implausible; eventually realisation dawns and the wow sensation is off the scale. No spoilers here, you will have to hasten along to figure it out for yourself, closes Wednesday. Sorry for the ropey photo, it was very dark in there.
Two years ago Lee Broom staged Opticality, another stunning installation on his premises which also revolved around an reflection, that also blew my socks off.
City wide are some 266 installations and venues participating in the London Design Festival of which over 30 are in the Shoreditch area, most within the so called Shoreditch Triangle. Many of them have events programs, check out the festival website for further details.
There’s always something new going on in Shoreditch!
All photographs: Dave Stuart