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Visiting the design Mecca
von Daniel von Bernstorff | 10/6/2009

No it is not the 100% Design fair at Earl's Court that sticks in your memory after a visit to London in late September. Like most other design fairs it too is suffering from a palpable decline in exhibitors and visitors. The event has now been downsized to just a single hall, and its international nature and quality have both fallen by the wayside. A few years ago the place was milling with stars from the design scene; today there is a sprawling and seemingly random potpourri of exhibitors and special areas- a tired farewell to the good old days. You can count the highlights on two hands: The small, yet elegant presentation by young British designer Robin Grasby, whose creations unite artisan skills and successful design, the exhibition by material platform Materia, the presentation by Philips, which in Lumiblade showcases the latest developments in OLED technology and takes up a current topic, the well-visited booth of RAL where the institute's latest color trend book is being shown, the small special show by designer Sebastian Bergne, who is presenting his design platform Spunique, the showing by Canadian firm Molo Design with its fascinating paper creations and the English company David Mellor, one of the few high-quality exhibitors in the accessories realm. On the whole, rather disappointing for a really good fair.

However, anyone who roams the city in search of design, architecture and art gems will be richly rewarded. Whether it is the wonderful, small show by Paul Kelley in the Fumi Gallery (until November 18), the presentation of the label plusminuszero by Naoto Fukasawa at twentytwentyone in River Street, the new shop by Jasper Morrison, the Kvadrat showroom designed by the Bouroullec brothers or the presentation of the Quilt sofa and armchair by Established & Sons - there is much to be discovered. Another highlight: the exhibition curated by Gareth Williams "Telling Tales" in the Victoria & Albert Museum (until October 18), which explores the phenomenon of the ever popular limited editions at the divide between design and art.

Currently, however, one of the most exciting venues for art in London must be the Royal Academy of Arts. The major Anish Kapoor show (until December 11) goes beyond the boundaries of customary exhibitions and intervenes dramatically in the honorable museum building. Simultaneously spectacular and poetic.

The gallery Haunch of Venison has taken temporary lodgings in the rear section of the Royal Academy. Visitors wander amazed through the magnificent rooms in which only recently the Museum of Mankind resided. Until October 31 there is a breathtaking show here featuring works by Donald Judd, Günther Uecker, Dan Flavin and Enrico Castellani. Likewise worth seeing: the aluminum benches by designer Thomas Heatherwick, which he produced with the aid of the world's largest extrusion press.

For those who have still not had enough, we recommend a brief trip to the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park. This year the Japanese architect's studio Sanaa designed the temporary pavilion - an amoeba-like airy structure, both simple and ingenious.

And talking of parks: the next event in the European capital for design, art and architecture: from October 15-18 the fair for contemporary art "Frieze Art Fair" takes place in Regent's Park.


www.robingrasby.com
www.materia.nl
www.lumiblade.com
www.ral.de
www.spunique.com
www.molodesign.com
www.davidmellordesign.com
www.galleryfumi.com
www.twentytwentyone.com
www.royalacademy.org.uk
www.haunchofvenison.com
www.serpentinegallery.org
www.sanaa.co.jp
www.friezeartfair.com

Anish Kapoor “Yellow”, 1999, installed at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2009 Fibreglass and pigment Courtesy of the artist and Lisson Gallery, London Photography: Dave Morgan
Anish Kapoor “Shooting into the Corner”, 2008-09, installed at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2009 Mixed media, dimensions variable MAK, Vienna, Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art Photography: Dave Morgan
Air Purifier, PMZ, twentytwentyone
Humidifier, Plus Minus Zero, twentytwentyone
Haunch of Venison
Haunch of Venison
Serpentine Gallery
Serpentine Gallery
Serpentine Gallery
Corkart sculptures by Sebastian Bergne
Telling Tales
Telling Tales
Thomas Heatherwick
Robin Grasby
Anish Kapoor “Hive”, 2009, installed at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2009 Corten steel Courtesy of the artist, Lisson Gallery, London, and Gladstone Gallery, New York Photography: Dave Morgan
Paul Kelley; FUMI Gallery
Paul Kelley; FUMI Gallery
Paul Kelley; FUMI Gallery
Established & Sons
Established & Sons
Kvadrat Showroom by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec
Lumiblade
Lumiblade