Brixton Design Trail with ‘Love is Power’ theme at London Design Festival

January 21, 2018

Brixton Design Trail: It returned to the London Design Festival District with a message of ‘Love is Power’ for its second year as communicating the positive force of love in celebrating difference and promoting acceptance. Our aim is to design by community and collaboration to ensure Brixton’s creative spirit is kept alive during the natural process of regeneration in town centres.

Brixton showcased an exciting line up of local designers from a range of backgrounds, highlighting that our community is made up of many cultures living alongside each other with respect for diversity and an appreciation of many shared values – it is this mix that is the essence of Brixton. Once again Brixton Design Trail championed the democratization of design by establishing it as part of the everyday and accessible to everyone, using streets and public spaces as a canvas for expression.

In partnership with the Brixton BID and supported by Lambeth, a number of installations brought permanent improvements to public spaces, putting creativity at the heart of the areas regeneration. In addition to installations and design showcases, a series of talks and tours focused on Brixton’s evolving design heritage from street art and murals to loved landmarks and unusual spaces.

Flash Open Borders (Launched Tuesday 3 October 2017): Spatial designers dolman-bowles and pattern/print designer Eley Kishimoto collaborated in 2016 with the now iconic ‘Flash Crossings’ which focused on a prominent junction at the heart of the Brixton community, the intersection of Coldharbour Lane and Atlantic Road, overlooked by landmark pub, The Dog Star.

This year they present Flash Open Borders. Entering Brixton’s central crossroads where Brixton Road meets Coldharbour Lane, visitors are presented with a permanent patterned pedestrian crossing. During a time when borders between communities are on the rise, the Flash crossing provides a dynamic visual marker welcoming all comers to Brixton, and makes a connection with the four-way crossings from 2016.

Michaeal John mural by Dreph: On the final day of Brixton Design Trail, renowned street artist Dreph live installed a mural paying tribute to Michaeal Johns, who has run the market toilets for 22 years. Dreph, aka London based British Ghanaian artist Neequaye Dreph Dsane, is best known for his large scale portraits depicting unsung heroes and heroines – presenting a black British narrative with larger than life murals in prominent public locations.

His Michaeal Johns artwork is located on Pope’s Road, in the heart of Brixton’s market community. Michaeal visited the mural to see his larger than life self, where the market traders’ CEO Stuart Horwood also paid tribute saying that without Michaeal the market wouldn’t function.

Dreph draws inspiration from 80′s British underground comics such as 2000 AD, dramatic lighting of old masters such as Caravaggio and the energy and scale of 70’s New York subway graffiti. After 3 decades of street based work, Dreph is regarded as a stalwart of the scene and has painted in Asia, Africa, the UAE, Central and South America and throughout Europe.

HuBB by AWMA: Arriving in Windrush Square, visitors are met by HuBB, a powerful public installation by AWMA. Inspired by key aspects of their Muslim faith- congregation, solitude, sharing and reflecting-the team of four designers have created a striking reinterpretation of the minaret which replaces the vocal call to prayer to a visual call for reflection and togetherness.

The Arabic word for love is Hubb, which is derived from the root word seed. Just like a seed, love needs to be nurtured in order for it to grow. The nurturing of a community is vital in order for it to flourish. In the Islamic community the mosque plays the role of a hub and traditionally the minaret is an architectural device that facilitates a person at the top, calling the local community for individual reflection and congregational gatherings.

The Hubb is a public art installation that takes the traditional concept of a minaret and flips it and clads it in mirrors. This activates the ground making it accessible for individual reflection and replaces the vocal call to a visual call for congregational gatherings. The internal experience of the minaret is enhanced by spatial geometry, whilst externally reflecting its ever changing context.

Silent Arch by Bharat & Jean: Scarred by the on-going evictions, the Brixton arches have become a powerful symbol of love and support by the local community. Brixton based design studio Bharat & Jean have created a colourful pastiche of the local railway arches to reflect on the recent developments in the area. Inspired by the traditional construction of arches the installation is made out of a single material and simply assembled with interlocking joints. The build is sponsored by Soundspace Solutions, providers of sustainable acoustic solutions for architectural and commercial applications.

Visitors are invited to walk through a muted tunnel to pay tribute to the past and act as a reminder of the essential supporting role of the community. The brightness of the colours are drawn from the railway typology and reflect the vibrancy of area. As an allegory of the Railway arches, ‘Silent Arch’ becomes a symbol of love like the triumphal arches built to commemorate victory and power. Whether it is love and support given by the local community or new developments in the public realm, the arch becomes a monument to reflect upon the future of Brixton.

Take a Seat (The Edible Bus Stop): Take a Seat is a celebration of public seating & the role it can play in creating positive social interaction & cohesion. By painting the seats we want to draw attention to how we dwell in public space & relate to each other.

Can design play a positive & meaningful part in that? Our intention is to get people to slow down, take a seat & maybe strike up a conversation. Dazzle, aka ‘Razzle Dazzle’, is a camouflage technique that was developed for warships in WW1.

It’s an unlikely form of camouflage, as it draws attention to the ship rather than hiding it, disrupting its outline, altering perceptions of it. With disruptive thinking and a desire to alter perceptions as a cornerstone of our methodology, the aim is to draw attention to the seats, sparking conversations about how we use public spaces and whether they are user friendly for all age groups and demographics.

UNDER/EXPOSED by Squire and Partners with collaborators: From 16 – 24 September architects Squire and Partners open the doors of their new Brixton office, The Department Store, to present UNDER/EXPOSED, a design series collaborating with the area’s finest creative talent.

The first seven days host ‘Beneath the Surface Part Two’’, a conceptual fashion installation by local designer Isabel Fletcher. A series of workshops take place in our Making Room including linocut prints, communal embroidery, leathercraft, 3D carnival design, and traditional Polish Pajaki making and greeting card design.

Throughout the week The Department Store presents a series of evening talks, live displays and a guided tour by Brixton based creatives including Dalton Maag font foundry.

Squire and Partners hosted ‘Craft & Collaboration at The Department Store’ consisting of a presentation, live displays and a guided tour documenting the building’s imaginative restoration by the architect and interior design teams, alongside a selection of collaborators including Eley Kishimoto, Carl Hansen, Based Upon and Interior iD.

Obsessive Interests by BDT Collective: The long neglected station arcade under the historic railway arches in central Brixton will be reignited by Obsessive Interests, a week-long creative takeover by a group of merging and established artists, designers and makers from Brixton occupying traditional kiosk and small shop paces.

Inspired by Otaku shops often located in the underpasses of Japanese railways, the space will offer installations including; a pop up skateshop by Blast Skates hosting design workshops incollaboration with local illustrator Liisa Chisholm, a fabric fishmongers stall created by fashion designers Gucas Morgan, an interactive audio visual peep show by Spektruh, and a kiosk selling Japanese ceramics curated by Terence Ellis, buyer for Beams’ design and lifestyle Fennica in Japan.

Untranslation by Sam Furness and Toni Hollis: Did you know there is an Arabic word for the kind of conversation you have in the evening as the sun sets? Or that there is a Spanish word for the flowing conversation around the dinner table after everyone has finished eating?

UNTRANSLATION is an installation that exploresand celebrates the many languages spoken in Brixton. In lexicons worldwide, words exist that are untranslatable to the English language. Not any old words either. Magic words that seemingly have the power and ability to express and define complex emotions and situations which we all feel but have not developed the vocabulary to express in English with a singular word.

This installation takes over the flag filled rafters of the iconic Brixton Village and Market Row spaces and transforms them into a cultural design dictionary, bursting with unique words and their meanings from countries all around the world.

Each untranslatable word is set against a flag design inspired by the visual culture and design history of the country that language belongs to. UNTRANSLATION offers a design perspective on how different cultures see and interpret the world.

ID Papers by Animali Domestici: ID Papers is an exhibition hosted by Animali Domestici. The show brings together four artists who live in Brixton and have been chosen for their intrepid and irreverent spirit of innovation, their dedication to working across disciplines, their experimental approach to materials and processes, and their commitment to drawing inspiration from various cultures and art forms.

The work is site specific and made exclusively for the event. Each installation reveals the individual journey undertaken by the maker while at the same time presenting a new and different perspective on a shared subject.

ID Papers explores the theme of parallel realities, the everyday and the ideal world, the daily routine and the imaginary. Paper is an ideal thematic idea because it is the archetypal medium used to sketch a project or an idea, something other than what is already there – something that could be.

The exhibition takes paper as its primary material; a place where one starts to plan a vision. However, this is not intended as mere escapism or daydreaming: quite the opposite. Paper in its fragility is used as a powerful medium to transform the environment, making real the imaginary.

Revolution of Kindness dy Rocketship Digital: Building on the success of the Windows of Brixton in 2016, Rocketship present ‘THE REVOLUTION of KINDNESS’ as a series of bold graphic messages on the high street, drawn from a host of inspirational quotes from the local and global community. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. – Quote by Leo Buscaglia.

In an increasingly polarised world, we invite everyone to participate in a new revolution that champions kindness and puts love directly onto the streets where we most need it. To this end, we invite viewers to pause and think about how they can help bring about a REVOLUTION of KINDNESS.

The impact of mass messaging and a striking graphic treatment will transform the prominent windows of TKMaxx into a powerful call to action, encouraging viewers to engage via social media.

Roots Grow Love by Loughborough Farm with Upcircle: Loughborough Farm is being redesigned to take its place at the heart of LJ Works, a new co-designed community workspace. At a time of upheaval, plants that have been nurtured and cherished for many years will need to be moved to temporary or new homes.

The re-development means that plants, pots and all manner of farm materials will need to be re-positioned and re-purposed. This installation celebrates the years of hard work, the joy of growing and the love this in the community. UpCircle are taking these elements and presenting them that the spirit and values that the farm engenders is shared with the public who will experience in a very physical way how much the community can build together.

The installation is interactive, encouraging the visitor to learn more about growing by answering a series of clues. The answers provide a code that unlock compartments containing a piece of our cherished garden. At the end of the festival, every plant of our loving Lough-borough Farm will have a new home, representing the communities’ investment, love and care for the environment.

Brixton Playing Fields by Studio HE with Lisa Turner-Wray: It is an interactive, outdoor arts installation with collaborative play and inclusivity at its heart. “Play should be at the centre of a united community and our aim is to encourage adults and children to engage, talk, build and create together.”

The location for Brixton Playing Fields is at the centre of Brixton, open 24 hours a day, free to enter and open to all. The location is a unique, undeveloped pocket of land enveloped by rapid regeneration. For 9 days, this space will be brought to life with a visually striking installation, a chance to highlight the benefits of public space within our cities.

‘Tools’ will be provided for participants to create their own bespoke games, their own rules and stories in an environment that looks familiar at first, but, on closer investigation isn’t so conventional. What will be created? What will be left behind?

Love Carnival Trail by Brixton Revival/Kofi Arts: Building on our success in 2016 this year ‘Revival’ brings to the Brixton Design Trail the ‘Love Carnival Revival Trail’ a celebration of the Love of Carnival; the Music, Craft and History. Documenting its journey from the Caribbean to its presence in the heart of Brixton.

Once a year the Caribbean community in the UK shares with the world its most popular cultural export at Europe’s biggest street festival – London’s Nottinghill Carnival.

This year, Brixton Revival are delighted to reveal more about some of the people and communities who make carnival happen. It will document the enormous creative energy rooted in Brixton that for the love of Carnival have been at the forefront of Steel pans history, Mas making and the sounds of Carnival.

The ‘Love Carnival Revival Trail’ will highlight the essences of what makes Carnival special, its ability to bring people and communities together and build bridges across diverse cultures. This year it has never been so important to spread the theme that ‘Love is power’.

Design Circus by Crafty Fox Market with BRIXI: For one weekend only, Brixton stalwarts Crafty Fox Market and BRIXI have pooled their creative resources. They invite you to come and join their theatrical visual feast – DESIGN CIRCUS.

Alongside traditional market stalls, DESIGN CIRCUS promises a playful line-up of circus-inspired happenings, live performance and interactive installations.

Music, refreshments and workshops for all the family ensure something for everyone. Additionally, selected designers will produce limited edition products exclusive to the DESIGN CIRCUS.

All housed in Squire and Partners spectacular new Brixton home – The Department Store. This reimagined Edwardian building has been painstakingly restored and given new life as an award-winning architecture practice.

About London Design Festival: Established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell CBE and Ben Evans, London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as the gateway to the international design community and the world’s leading stage for design innovation.

London Design Festival has since earned the reputation as a key calendar moment of London’s autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival, attracting the greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to the capital, in a citywide celebration.

Event Title:  Brixton Design Trail

Event Design Theme:   ‘Love is Power’

Event Organizing Place:  streets and public spaces

Organizer & Sponsor:   London Design Festival Destrict

In partnership with:   The Brixton BID

Supported by:   Lambeth

Photo credit:   Luke Forsythe

For the Design Trail: Flash Open Borders, Michaeal John mural, Take a Seat’

Obsessive Interests, Untranslation, ID Papers, Revolution of Kindness,

Roots Grow Love, Love Carnival Trail, Design Circus

Photo credit:   James Jones

For the Design Trail: UNDER/EXPOSED

Photo credit: Jim Eyre

For the Design Trail: Brixton Playing Fields

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