London Design Festival Kicks Off with Designer Benches

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The London Design Festival kicks off this week with more venues than ever and more things to see. We are tired already! Luckily the Victoria and Albert Museum, one of the main hubs of the event, has these ten one-off benches to mark the tenth year of the Festival.

Benches are the most common piece of urban furniture. But because they are for public use, designers are subject to many limitations in their design. Not here: each of the designers was given free rein to do whatever he (yes, all men) wanted.

It's a great collection, although difficult to find a seat.

1. Pier, Konstant Grcic

Pier, by Konstant Grcic, is made out of tiny red, cream and grey mosaics from Bisazza. It looks a bit like a bathroom fixture but at least it has a back to rest on.

2. Tube, Alexander Taylor

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Alexander Taylor made his Tube out of stainless tubular steel--he was inspired by felled logs which offer a place of repose. The shiny polish of the metal reflects the environment.

3. Bench of Plates, AL_A

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This Bench of Plates by AL_A is inspired by the museum's huge ceramic collection. The different glazes are a reference to household plates that have been used for years. It's a clever modular system, where each plate acts as a support for the next one.

4. Pig Foot, Fernando Brizio

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It's the Pig Foot (Pe de Porco) made by a Portuguese designer, Fernando Brizio, of course. It honours the cork forests of that country.

5. Western Facade, Barber Osgerby

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It looks like cheese, but it's not. Designed by Barber Osgerby (designers of the Olympic Torch), it's a single piece of marble which is meant to portray the front of the museum which had been hit and damaged by schrapnel during the Blitz in World War 2. The openings are randomly placed and allow the light to shine through and make the marble translucent.

6. Infinity Bench, Martino Gamper

london design festivalBonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

The Infinity Bench, by Martino Gamper, is made out of American hardwood. It is thermally modified so more durable. With a back rest, it proved to be a popular place to sit in the sun.

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