Seeing Faces at London Design Festival


We couldn’t shake the feeling that we were being watched...

There were as many themes as there were exhibitions and installations at London Design Festival, and yet wherever we went we experienced pareidolia... or put more simply, we saw faces in inanimate objects.



Adrien Rovero Studio’s 'Happy Tables' made our acquaintance in the Switzerland area curated by Davide Fornari as part of Crossovers by digital gallery Adorno at London Design Fair. Marble, aluminium and recycled plastics were exclusively slotted together to create low profile tables. Yet it was their method of construction that felt figurative, as each surface connected to another a facial feature emerged. 



Paola Bjaringer curated an area for Sweden that decisively challenged any preconceptions of Swedish design. Eschewing minimalism and neutrals her curation was explosive, bold and humorous. Of note were the up-cycled sculptures crafted from random and found materials with quirky and human-like features created by design duo MADE BY US. The more you looked, the more the features came to life.



Curated by M-L-XL, Seeds Gallery presented Masters of Disguise. Exploring ideas around human nature and the current age of the Anthropocene, a collective of designers were each asked to create a mask that best expressed their individual identity.



MMMask by Michael Marriott  used an empty glue container chosen for the pareidolian handle and pourer. Even with the addition of eyeholes the mask retained the familiarity of a simple plastic container.



Glassblowing designer Jochen Holz created the expressive piece Meine Maske from recycled wine glass stems. The simple question Holz posed when beginning this process was, 'Do I also hide behind my material, skills and technique?'



MDR Gallery curated a solo exhibition with artist Attua Aparicio Torinos to showcase the work from her ceramic residency in the porcelain production region of Jingdezhen China. This explorative exhibition presented an innovative approach to glazing.



The different melting points of glass and clay prohibit easy combination. However,  Aparicio Torinos's unique glazing process using a by-product of the glassblowing industry, borosilicate demonstrates how innovative new techniques are supported by traditional making.



Through this intense experimentation a new type of glaze was born, and with that a plethora of ‘emoji face’ motif porcelain plates. Looking to combine cultures both old and new, Arparicio Torinos reflected on the technology-obsessed youth and their means of communication with Jingdezhen's ancient craft of porcelain production.


 Check our top ten from London Design Festival on our Instagram page.

These observations are developments of the macros drivers explored in our SS 2020 design concepts Mask and Parade MIX Magazine Issue 53.

Our four page LDF focus will be published in MIX Magazine Issue 58. 

London Design Festival

Image credits from top:

Seeds London Gallery | Adrien Rovero Studio Thomas Lambert | Adorno Tommy Frost | Adorno Tommy Frost | Seeds London Gallery | Seeds London Gallery | Seeds London Gallery | MDR Gallery Peter Guenzel | MDR Gallery Peter Guenzel | MDR Gallery Peter Guenzel