Iridescent Beauty

LS:N Global has visited product designer Lola Lely’s studio for a sneak peak at the experiments she is conducting in preparation for her exhibits at London Design Festival 2013.

Inspired by science and natural forms, Lely’s signature aesthetic is achieved by experimenting with processes such as patination and marbling.

‘Alchemy and science are important in my work because they are controlled as well as serendipitous,’ Lely tells LS:N Global. ‘It’s the serendipitous outcome that inspires me to continue researching a process, but also to re-engineer it. There is a lot to learn from these happy accidents.’

Lely’s work will be shown during London Design Festival at various exhibitions, including Made by Works at the Clerkenwell Gallery, Cabinets of Curiosities at Mint Gallery, 20 Lion: Made by Works at Christie’s South Kensington, and Wallpaper* Handmade at Harrods in October.

Filmaker: James Maiki
Journalist: Hannah Robinson

Sands of Time - Philippe Malouin

LS:N Global recently visited the studio of designer Philippe Malouin for an insight into the creation process behind the Dunes collection of tableware he is producing for 1882 Ltd’s exhibition during the London Design Festival.

Over the past 18 months he has been designing a bone china series for small, family-run company 1882, which is reviving bone china in Britain.

‘I think the process is always much more interesting than the product itself,’ Malouin tells LS:N Global. ‘Adapting materials and transformation techniques that are not meant to be used in certain applications.’

Fascinated by the beauty of the mundane, Malouin was inspired by the grace and movement of grains of sand flowing in an hourglass to demonstrate the passing of time. After experimenting with an adapted record player he has re-created this motion using a lo-fi machine that slowly deposits sugar grains in a circular motion to build high dunes of grain on a rotating plate. After the gentle process of depositing grains to the required diameter and height for the plate size, a silicone mixture is poured over the sugar dunes. When set, this forms an inverted mould, which is then finally cast in plaster, and slipcast with bone china by 1882.

Lucy McRae

Lucy McRae, who describes herself as a body architect, has developed a project for the London Design Festival that prepares the human body for space travel.

Working collaboratively with a furniture designer, material scientist and space biologist from NASA to ‘create an experience to isolate the senses’, McRae has conceived a timber vacuum chamber structure covered with a metallic Mylar film and lined with silk. The structure is designed to simulate the experience of zero gravity, and to help prepare the human body and brain for entering outer space. ‘It’s merging beauty, athletics and soft architecture,’ McRae told LS:N Global, speaking about the structure.

McRae has directed a short film on the project, as well as exhibiting the structure for Designjunction with synchronised swimmers demonstrating its weightless effects. She will also offer present installations that will enable visitors to experience the project for themselves.

Pia Wüstenberg: Tale of Two Halves

Wiltshire, Hamburg – In anticipation of this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, LS:N Global visited the workspaces of German-Finnish designer Pia Wüstenberg in Hamburg and Wiltshire for an insight into the production processes behind her Branch Bowls, which will be exhibited at Edit at Design Junction in Milan next week.

A haptic hybrid of two traditional crafts and materials, the vessels are created using glass-blowing and woodworking processes. ‘I like to work with traditional making processes and challenge them to do things they don’t want to do,’ Wüstenberg tells LS:N Global. The pieces are made from rich gem-toned, hand-blown glass and a single wooden branch, sourced from Wüstenberg’s native Finland for its specific organic shape that makes each bowl unique.

During the glass-blowing process the branch is pushed into the hot glass opening to shape the glass by charring and burning into it. The branch then eventually forms the lid of the bowl. ‘For this particular collection it was about finding the appropriate materials, working with the natural surface of the wood, and challenging the two materials to fit together and work in unison.’

Branch Bowls will be exhibited in Design Junction in the Brera Design District of Milan Design Week.

In Their Element - Odd Matter

LS:N Global recently visited the studio of design duo Odd Matter for a detailed look at the experimental electroplating process behind the production of their OverNight lighting series.

Based in East London, Els Woldhek and Georgi Mannassiev have a wonderfully unconventional set of tools, including a large acid bath used to generate voltage needed to ‘grow’ the copper formations that bond the lights together.

The abstract 3D lights are made from glass panels that are taped together, painted with conductive paint, attached with wires and then submerged into a copper sulphate and sulphuric acid bath. A rectifier provides a low-voltage direct current into the bath that allows the copper-plating to occur over a sustained period – and that is when the magic happens. ‘We are not trying to make the perfect object that always comes out in the same way, we are trying to harvest the material’s potential,’ Mannassiev tells LS:N Global.

Made for the Vessel Gallery in London, the lights use the same material combination as traditional stained-glass windows, but are characterised by the beautifully prickly copper formulations that join the panels together in uniquely awkward shapes.

Jacopo Sarzi

LS:N Global paid a visit to food designer Jacopo Sarzi’s studio to get an insider’s view of what he is cooking up for September’s London Design Festival.
Motivated by the desire to ‘re-teach’ food, Sarzi’s hand-on style of food design and performance is educational and theatrical.

For the Design Exquis exhibition during LDF, Sarzi has been exploring the processes normally used in traditional soap making. Inspired by these methods, Sarzi is hand-building a lo-fi ice cream-making machine using cork and spun aluminium. Different flavours of ice cream will be made and served, all inspired by soap scents.

‘I wanted to create a centre piece, somewhere where people can all engage,’ says Sarzi.

The Design Exquis exhibition, curated by Florian Dussopt and Géraldine Vessière is based on the surrealist process of exquisite corpse. Read our previous interview with Dussopt at the last Design Exquis exhibition during Clerkenwell Design Week.

Kim Thome

Milan – Before this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile show, LS:N Global met designer Kim Thome to discuss his up-and-coming exhibit, Twenty-five %, created for the Wallpaper* AfghanMade exhibition.

The London-based Norwegian designer works in a number of areas, including products, furniture, spatial and installation. Thome was commissioned to design a rug for the Wallpaper* AfghanMade exhibition at this year’s show in Milan. Wallpaper* AfghanMade, set up by the US Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, which aims to develop local industries and design techniques, celebrates traditional crafts in conjunction with contemporary designs.

For the project, Thome worked collaboratively with London-based contemporary rug designer Christopher Farr. Farr and Thome worked alongside highly skilled Afghan craftsmen to develop the final product. Thome created the designs for the carpets, and consulted with Farr on which textiles and construction technique to use, before the designs were sent to craftsmen in Afghanistan.

Film by: James Maiki
Journalist: Aleksandra Szymanska

Energies Unseen - Marjan van Aubel

Milan – In anticipation of the Energies Unseen exhibition at this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile, LS:N Global caught up with designer Marjan van Aubel to find out more.

As a designer, Van Aubel looks to ‘develop new materials and technologies, working between the fields of design and science’. The exhibition will show two of her pieces, Moonlight and Current Window. Moonlight is a collection of self-expanding pieces of foam porcelain and Current Window combines classic design techniques of stained glass with modern technology of solar panelling to create a modern interpretation of the stained glass window.

In conjunction with van Aubel, designer Jólan van der Wiel will be present his work in Energies Unseen – through their work both artists are looking to expose unseen energies while playing with the principles of nature. ‘Very often, new technology is driven by efficiency, not the user,’ Van Aubel told LS:N Global.

Film by: James Maiki
Journalist: Victoria Buchanan

© James Maiki