V&A: London Design Festival 2019

Martyn White

Posted on September 24 2019

Highlight installations exhibiting at the Victoria & Albert Museum during the 2019 edition of the London Design Festival. 

The London Design Festival attracts visitors from around the globe, arriving in the city for a celebration of design that showcases works in all mediums of art and design. One of the main design destinations during the week, holding a long-standing collaboration with the festival since 2009 is the Victoria & Albert Museum. Every year, London's iconic museum for art and design hosts a selection of installations and exhibitions for guests to discover and explore during their visit to the museum. 

V&A London Design Festival Sacred Geometry Rony PleslV&A London Design Festival Sacred Geometry Rony Plesl

Sacred Geometry - Rony Plesl

Rony Plesl's unique glass installation draws inspiration from fire and wood – key components of glass making - and from the idea of Sacred Geometry, a universal language organising all visible and invisible reality according to basic geometrical principles. The hexagonal glass tree trunks are an artistic expression of this system. Two identical branches – ‘twins’ – are a continuation of the trunks and manifest an attempt at creation from the same principles in an identical environment. Made of uranium glass they emanate an other-worldly green fluorescent light.

The glowing glass forest was located in the Medieval and Renaissance galleries during the London Design Festival, galleries that also reflect on the history of Czech glass, which is richly represented in the V&A’s collection.

V&A London Design Festival Black Masking CultureV&A London Design Festival Black Masking Culture

Black Masking Culture 

Contemporary artist and educator, Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters, and Assemble collaborated with the V&A to bring Melancon’s huge Mardi Gras Indian suits composed of intricately hand-sewn beadwork to the Tapestries Gallery during the festival. The suits, illustrating actual and imagined events from African and American history, exhibited in the gallery among rare tapestries from 1425, depicting hunting scenes of boars, bears, swans, otters, deer and falconry.

Melancon’s complex and multidimensional portrayals draw inspiration from indigenous people in America and enslaved Africans and feature imagery rich with symbolism and meaning. The finely crafted pieces address stereotypical representations of black people and tell powerful stories from Melancon’s experience of the African diaspora.

Bamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into LightnessBamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into Lightness

Bamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into Lightness - Kuma

Bamboo Ring was an experiment in the concept of weaving, one of the interests explored by Kengo Kuma - who most recently designed the V&A Dundee, his first building in the UK, along with the New National Stadium for the Tokyo Olympics and the Great (Bamboo) Wall house in China.

Inspired by the John Madejski Garden and curated by Clare Farrow, the doughnut-shaped structure – like a nest or cocoon – has been created by weaving rings of bamboo and carbon fibre together. For Kuma, working with Ejiri Structural Engineers and the Kengo Kuma Laboratory at The University of Tokyo, 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.

Avalanche Matthew McCormick

Avalance - Matthew McCormick 

Inherently out of place in the classically historic space, Avalanche was strategically situated to provoke profoundly personal reactions from each visitor that passes through: the designer’s interpretation of a suspended moment in time where we are faced with a mindful revelation of our own mortality.

On entering, small groups of visitors discover 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 were urged to pause in a heightened sense of consciousness, as they toy with the human instinct to find the safest route out.


Year after year, the V&A put on impressive displays and exhibitions for visitors to experience during the London Design Festival. For further information on past and present exhibitions, visit the official Victoria & Albert Museum website. Information on the festival in its entirety can be found via the official London Design Festival Website. 


Thank you for reading. If you liked this post, here are a few more recommendations relating to the London Design Festival.

More Posts


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing

Search our store