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How designers are capturing the essence of sustainability at London Design Festival

Charlotte Kidger brightly coloured pots and vases, constructed from pigmented polyurethane foam dust will go on view at London Design Fair’s Material of the Year exhibition

Alice Bucknell
12 Sep 2018

This month, alongside 18 other cities, London committed to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration: pledging to a near future of net-zero carbon emissions. Thinking on both micro and macro scales, this year’s London Design Festival addresses sustainability in unconventional ways. A few of the festival’s installations open a world of possibilities for the gauche material plastic, while others are offering a plastic water bottle alternative. From mud-spraying drones and vibrant vessels to textured tables made from pigmented polyurethane foam dust and energy efficient lighting, we spotlight the boldest design innovations that will make their debut at 2018 London Design Festival 2018.

PlasticScene at Gasholders

At Gasholders in Kings Cross, the iron gasholders recently turned luxury flats will play host to an exhibition of new design objects co-curated by Modern Design Review and furniture designer James Shaw. PlasticScene features the work of an international roster of designers including Dirk van Der Kooij, Studio ilio, and Thing Thing, among others. An essential stop on your London Design Festival itinerary, the collection reveals some inventive and unconventional approaches to reclaiming plastic waste that prove the material has far more to offer than is often expected.

17-23 September; Gasholders 10, Retail Unit 1, 1 Lewis Cubitt Square, London N1C 4BY

Mud Shell by Stephanie Chaltiel at Design Junction

This year’s Designjunction is given an urgent twist with Mud Shell, a housing project developed by architect Stephanie Chaltiel that merges earth architecture with drone technology. On the Riverside Walkway, Chaltiel has joined forces with students from the Architectural Association in London to produce one of her mud shells, an inhabitable structure comprised of a prefabricated light formwork that is coated in several layers of natural materials by drone spraying technology to become a sturdy and permanent structure. Due to its fast construction time and minimal labor requirements, Mud Shell has the potential to serve in emergency housing situations such as refugee camps, says Chaltiel.

20-23 September; Oxo, Doon Street, Riverside Walkway, South Bank, London, SE1

Material of the Year showcase at London Design Fair

For its second Material of the Year showcase, London Design Fair in East London has selected the infamous yet ubiquitous plastic, prompting a reconsideration of our approach to this much-maligned material. The exhibition features the work of four designers going ‘beyond the chipper’ in their use of plastic as a unique material. In particular, the elegant marble-effect surfaces of Weez & Merl’s table and lighting collection made from waste plastics sourced in Brighton & Hove, and the engineered beauty of Charlotte Kidger’s brightly coloured pots and vases, constructed from pigmented polyurethane foam dust (pictured), both give plastic new lease on life.

20-23 September; Old Truman Brewery; 91 Brick Ln, London E1 6QR

The Fleet Drinking Fountain by Michael Anastassiades at V&A Museum

Curator Jane Withers and collector Charles Asprey have joined forces to launch the London Fountain Co, which is set to unveil a contemporary public drinking fountain at V&A Museum and its surrounds, designed for modern day life by Michael Anastassiades. Addressing the disappearance of free public drinking fountains, and their plastic bottle replacement, Withers and Asprey approached Cypriot-born London-based Anastassiades to realise a contemporary version. Made from polished cast bronze – which references historical fountains and other street furniture but is also hygienic – the faceted form, Anastassiades says, is an abstraction of a classical column with a scooped top to imply drinking from a bowl. ‘It needed to be more of an experience than just a place to stop and fill a bottle,’ says Anastassiades. ‘It needed to blend into the environment and not to scream for attention.’ Read more here. Writer: Ali Morris

15-23 September; V&A Museum Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL

001 LED by Plumen at Toykyo bike

Back in 2010, Plumen launched the world’s first energy efficient designer light with its 001 bulb. Designed by Plumen and Samuel Wilkinson Studio, the new 001 LED boasts a longer life, over 20,000 hours to be precise. In addition, the piece has a sleeker silhouette that uses neither aluminium or mercury, making it 100 per cent recyclable. Experience the ambient pieces lighting up Tokyobike in the Shoreditch Design Triangle with a glowing window installation. Styling: Emma Kay. Photography: Charles Emerson. Writer: Sujata Burman

17-23 September; 87-89 Tabernacle St, Shoreditch, London EC2A 4BA