September – Month of Design and Inspiration

September is a great month for design and architecture, with the start of the London Design Festival tomorrow, as well as Part 2 of the International Architectural Showcase and London Open House allowing people to look around London’s most significant buildings.

The London Design Festival will be hosted at numerous venues all around London, including the Southbank Centre, the V & A. It will feature over 300 events and exhibitions demonstrating the best of design from all around the globe. The designers range from fashion, ceramics to landscape design and architecture.

Keiichi Matsuda’s Prism at the London Design Festival

The wide variety of events allow you to look at vastly different areas of design and see how these may relate to or complement each other. One of the main pieces to look out for is the immersive rubberised space in the centre of  Trafalgar Square. The space is created by BE OPEN together with the London Design Festival. It plays with the idea of “design you can’t see” (mock up shown below).

“design you can’t see” in Trafalgar Square

The main hub of the festival will be the V&A, watch the video below to see what events and exhibitions the museum will be hosting.

Sketch Chair

So we’ve been featuring a lot of chairs on this blog, a range of discarded, recycled, paper, art, sculptures and chairs that are simply beautifully made in our Around the World in 80 Chairs series. These designs are bound to provoke inspiration for creative minds, so here is a tool that could help you design your own chairs. The London design studio Diatom have developed a software tool that actually allows you to sketch your own chair.

Sketch Chair uses a Java 2D tool with which you can draw and design your own chair in a simple and easy to use way. First you draw the chair, you can customise existing templates or design your own.

Before your design is complete the programme conducts a test run of the chair which simulates whether the chair is sturdy and balanced. It ensures the functionality of the chair before you order it to be built. The programme then produces the separate pieces which will make up the chair (see below). The final template for the items can be sent directly to an online factory (at your own request) such as Ponoko or 100kgarages and will be made especially for you.

The parts are then delivered by post and can be fully assembled without glue or tools as the pieces are designed to fit together perfectly – a bit like a puzzle.

You can print out your design and cut out and assemble miniature models to get an idea of how the pieces fit together. Whole Web 2.0-like designed chairs can also be uploaded to for other users to load them into the sketch Chair programme and use as templates for further editing. (see diagram above)

The makers of Sketch Chair referred to it as a sort of ‘open-source IKEA store’, however this description would probably not do the project justice. Each chair can be created as a unique and design by creative people who may not have the complete skills of a designer but want to build something functional.

Unlike Ikea this programme allows individuals to add their own ideas and tastes to their furniture, without the expensive price tag of bespoke pieces.

Sketch Chair is financed by Kickstarter, an online crowd funding platform where users present their ideas and find financial backers for their creative projects. Sketch Chair, has already exceeded its goal by 170%, hardly surprising for such a fun and innovative project.