Drone installation for London Design Festival
cancelled due to safety concerns


Drone Aviary installation proposed for V&A museum London

London Design Festival 2014: crystal brand Swarovski and organisers of the London Design Festival have cancelled an installation of flying drones planned for this year's event over fears for "safety of members of the public".

The Drone Aviary project's sponsor Swarovski released a statement today saying that the project has been axed over concerns for "safety of members of the public in close proximity to the drones".

Drone Aviary was conceived by design studio Superflux as a chance for the public to interact with the flying machines, which are increasingly being used for tasks ranging from delivering books to assisting military operations.

Covered in Swarovski crystals, the drones were to hover around the V&A museum's John Madejski Garden during London Design Festival 2014.

"This would have been the first time that drone technology has interacted with the public in a museum setting," said Swarovski's statement.

"Swarovski continues to support cutting-edge projects as part of its ongoing programme to promote design and innovation and remains a committed partner of the London Design Festival."

The project was announced as one of a series of events to take place at the Museum during the annual design festival, along with a rotating sculpture by Barber and Osgerby and a garden installation by Zaha Hadid.

Last year, the museum hosted a giant chandelier of colourful glass spheres in the main hall and 5,000 spinning paper windmills in a doorway. It also exhibited the first 3D-printed gun, which was acquired just before the event. See our coverage of London Design Festival 2013 »

This year's London Design Festival will take place from 13 to 21 September.

  • Anonymouse

    Wow, how far down the line did this project get before someone realised H&S/Legal would never allow such an obvious risk to the public?

    I really hope nobody got paid :-)

    Pro-tip: read your public-liability insurance small print. Unguarded machine parts in reach of people / property = NO.

    • Jobsworth.

  • SomewhatSceptical

    “This would have been the first time that drone technology has interacted with the public in a museum setting”.

    Truly ground-breaking.

  • Anonymouse

    You misunderstand me. I hate health and safety as much as anyone!

    It’s a great idea, but it was *never* going to happen in a UK museum, so someone wasted a lot of time / money that could have been spent on an actual project that the public might have actually seen/interacted with. What a waste.

    The Tate’s equivalent project, which sees robots that can be controlled remotely by the public, but only at night when the space is closed – is a perfect example of how to do it right. Cutting edge technology, and a new experience and way to see a museum and its exhibits.

  • Arjay Cee

    The abysmal idea of dressing up murderously lethal drones in decorative crystal speaks to the kind of minds Hannah Arendt described as banally evil.

  • Really

    Can you explain how a quad-copter is “murderously lethal”? I could be wrong but don’t think there was ever a plan to use predator drones or hellfire missiles.