London Design Festival: Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Jasper Morrison and AL_A are among the designers who have created benches with British design brand Established & Sons for the central courtyard of the V&A museum (+slideshow).
Each of the one-off benches is made from a different material and produced in collaboration with a company specialising in that material. After being on display for the festival they'll be auctioned off and the money fed back to fund next year's London Design Festival commissions.
Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, the designers of the Olympic torch, made a marble bench with holes bored through (above) in collaboration with Italian studio Tor Art. They were inspired by shrapnel marks left in the V&A museum's western facade after the Second World War. "It's something that always fascinated me and Ed on the way from South Kensington tube up to the Royal College when we were students, and so when this project came up we thought it was a nice way to reference that," explained Jay Osgerby at the opening.
AL_A, the architecture practice led by Amanda Levete, worked with Barcelona ceramics company Ceramica Cumella to come up with a bench (above) made of overlapping tiles, glazed with colours inspired by the museum's ceramics collections. AL_A is also designing a new subterranean gallery for the museum.
British designer Alexander Taylor made a bench from mirror-polished stainless steel cylinders (above) with steel specialists Caparo. He explained that making perfect cylinders in steel is tricky because "the material is extruded with an oval profile so it has to be cut and put back together again."
Italian designer Martino Gamper built a wooden bench (above) from slanted planks of thermally modified hardwood, treated to improve its stability and resistance to decay. The angled stripes of red oak, maple, ash, yellow birch and tulipwood provided by the American Hardwood Export Council create an "optical illusion" and "somehow give the impression of animation" said Gamper, adding that the modular system can be extended to any length.
British designer Jasper Morrison collaborated with concrete specialists lowinfo to create a concrete bench (above) with narrow runnels along the seat that allow rain water to drain away despite the seat being curved for comfort, while German designer Konstantin Grcic worked with Italian company Bisazza on a glass mosaic bench (below).
British designer Felix de Pass produced a cream-coloured sheet-steel bench (below) with perforations that help water drain away and disperse heat from the sun. It's an adaptation of his bench that's already in production with Established & Sons.