Surrounded by historic tapestries, Ross Lovegrove’s immense serpent ripples through the gallery, its design inspired by the fabrics of the ladies in the medieval tapestries around it. A short walk away is the colourful stage design by Es Devlin for George Bizet’s opera Carmen to be performed on a stage in the lake at the Bregenz Festival in Austria and, then, through dark curtains, the visitor enters another theatrical space – the simmering Reflective Room of lights and mirrors designed by Flynn Talbot.
The London Design Festival has arrived at the Victoria and Albert Museum with a mixture of special installations connected with other exhibitions and displays located all across the Museum, needing the map to find them. The Museum is full of intrepid explorers with their maps and compasses finding not only the featured works, but also the treasures of the Museum.
Near one of the lifts are Petr Stanicky’s optical glass installations, one of which looks out like multiple telescopes over the roofs of the museum, while on the top floor are Lubna Chowdhary’s ceramic metropolis of 1000 different ceramic works, Bruce McLean’s contemporary ceramics and contemporary Korean glass . In the Renaissance galleries, Elias & Yousef Anastas’ tower made from stone blocks from Palestine rises up, reflecting on the disputed territories, and combining traditional and 21st century techniques including computer design, cutting by robots and hand finishing by local tradesmen.
On the ground floor, surrounded by the great Raphael Cartoons, robots are looking around, waiting for their dance partners. In Slave/Master, dancers from the London Contemporary Ballet interact with the robots who respond to the dancers, along with audio visual graphics which reflect on how the robots are reacting. Humans and robots connecting together. At the moment, the robots are firmly fixed to the floor. What will happen when they become free-standing and can dance across the gallery?
A great start to the London Design Festival, with the V&A combining historical and contemporary design.