After a quick glance at the schedule for London Design Festival, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the design world is something of a male-dominated sausage-fest.
But before you go all Germaine Greer on us, read on: the sisters of the design world are more than doing it for themselves.
The What Women Make show at the DesignersBlock exhibition showcases some of the best in female design talent from around the world.
The brainchild of Chauncey Zalkin, writer and brand strategist who runs the network WhatWomenMake.com, the show includes a dazzling spectrum of work that sees the online community make their foray out of the virtual and into glorious reality.
Zalkin says, ‘I wanted to bring together women from around the world who offer not just great design, but bring outstanding thinking to their work.’
Another lady flying the female flag at London Design Festival is French interactions designer Nelly Ben Hayoun. If the most exciting thing in your sitting room is a dusty yucca plant, and the only ‘sleeping giant’ in your home is your partner/dog/dust-gathering home-exercise equipment, she has the perfect solution.
As part of the ’Sunbury workshops Open studios’ during the London Design Festival, she is unleashing The Other Volcano, which aims not only to liven up your living room, but also to explore ‘the juxtaposition of the epic with banal details, the extreme with domestic’.
In collaboration with Austin Houlsdworth (explosive designer) and Carina Fearnley (volcanologist), Ben Hayoun has created a 1000 times scaled down revival of the Mount St Helen’s explosion in the heart of Shoreditch, East London.
The project will encourage volunteers to house their own ‘semi-domesticated’ volcano at home for a couple of weeks. Ben Hayoun explains, ‘These designed supra-natural objects will be large, reaching almost to the ceiling, imposing, and extremely inconvenient – erupting dust and gloop into the living rooms of volunteers seemingly at random.’
She adds, ‘It is a project that domesticates the most violent of natural processes, addressing and reinterpreting different natures.’
For a show somewhat more closely linked to the idea of femininity in design, look no further than Adorn – the first public exhibition of all-female design collective and collaborative group Flock.
The exhibition aims to challenge the concept of adornment itself – one that is inherently linked with femininity, and the often negative connotations with ‘chintzyness’ and domesticity.
Adorn’s organiser, and co-founder of Flock, Simone Brewster, says, ‘the modern era remembers the “chintz style” as one generated by the domestic female, mother and housewife. A style routed in excessive pattern, print, texture and embellishment.
‘The word itself also links to jewellery. Precious objects to directly dress the space of the body. Here one of its main functions is to enhance beauty and offer self expression. In between these two worlds, lie a vast realm of grey.’
For more information on the London Design Festival, see http://www.londondesignfestival.com/