The district, which covers Shoreditch, Hoxton Clerkenwell and Farringdon is a renowned hot bed of young talent and fresh ideas – and while many of its usual inhabitants flocked west this year, those that stayed are certainly worth visiting.
Sunbury Workshops is home to a bunch of super talented designers working in industrial design, illustration and design interactions, and they opened their doors to visitors for the duration of the festival. Here, performance designer Nelly Ben Hayoun presents a prototype of a volcano that sits in your living room and vomits dust and gloop without warning. Outside, designer Valentin Vodez gave himself a week to convert an old rover into an electric car using only components already in the bonnet "to demonstrate how easy it is," he told us, covered in oil and looking slightly concerned. He's planning to take it for a spin on Friday. Inside, Giles Miller presented prototypes from his new venture into decorative surfaces.
Around the corner fellow Royal College of Art graduates OKAY Studio and Friends have taken over a bar's storage space for a week to show new projects responding to our transient living conditions in London. Particularly clever is Jorre van Ast's Wood Connection, an exploration into joining wood with an industrial plastic plug. As well as assembling and disassembling with greater ease, the system is designed for easy customisation. Jordi Canudas' Homeless Sweet Home was also very smart – a felt role-up home for the perpetual traveller complete with hanging light, and a variety of Velcro backed components, like mirrors and photo frames.
Next door, at Norwegian Prototypes, travelling and movement was also explored – designers were asked to design products responding to airline hand luggage restrictions. Frost Produkt's wind up/ wind down stool and fan-like clock that folds into nothing were neat. Over at KK outlet, product designer and electronic musician Yuri Suzuki shows a brilliantly experimental collection, including a kettle that whistles a song as it boils, and a collaboration with Jerszy Seymour that saw him batch-produce records following a live in-store performance, out of molten plastic. The show is part of the Anti Design Festival, the LDF's anarchic little brother. Curated by renowned graphic designer Neville Brody, it is a response to "25 years of cultural deep freeze in the UK," explains the curator, and aims to show un-commercial work across the entire creative industry. But while it's great to see platforms open up for young independent designers, somewhere along the line Brody's ADF got lost. "The manifesto is what ties everyone together," says one of the shows curators Hells Gibson, but you only need to stroll by The Evil Gallery and its showcase of graffiti style monster paintings to see the limitations of this. There's too much work that treats the manifesto as subject matter. And if experiments, ideas, and un-produced work is what the ADF wants to show – then much of the work on this page falls very neatly under that category. Anna Bates