There's a lot to see in the comparatively small townhouse at 4 Cromwell Place where Brompton Design District is on view during London Design Festival. The venue was a smart choice, offering festivalgoers a more intimate experience with each exhibition. You feel very much at ease here, falling into casual conversation with the designers and curators as you stroll from room to room.
We recommend starting on the second floor, where you can watch trending news headlines printed live on the half hour using wood block type in "Out of Print," a collaboration between design students at Goldsmiths College. Software especially designed for this project "lets users generate seemingly random headlines" from new stories breaking at that very moment. "By combining multiple sources, the app allows more news to be read, but like our experience of digital media, results in less being understood." This idea is illustrated in the nonsensical headlines printed (and available for purchase) using beautiful new woodblock type CNC-milled by Goldsmith students. Typically, you only see letterpress prints made with older wood block type, which lends them a nostalgic or 'vintage' quality, but since this project is about how the abundance—and perhaps overabundance—of new technology only confuses our sense of what is truly breaking news, brand new wood type was made.
Next, head down one floor and have a cup of tea and cake at Wundertute Tea House, where you can play a dice game to win a piece of Arabeschi di Latte's archive in celebration of their ten year anniversary.
Then pique your curiosity with the eight "Wonder Cabinets of Europe." In the next room, Cashmere label OYUNA collaborated with sculptor Peter Marigold on an installation that reinterprets the ger, the traditional Mongolian tent-house and traces the origins of cashmere back to its roots in nomadic Mongolian culture.
On the ground floor meet Vera, the subject of an immersive and wholly original narrative and design project inspired by a box of old photographs Kirsty Minns and Erika Muller found in Brighton of a young girl they've nicknamed her Vera. This is the second year Minns and Muller have worked together on Vera, inviting a group of young designers to create objects inspired by the images this time around.
Then pop across the hall to Kopiaste, a pop-up cafe, reading room and exhibition. In Greek, kopiaste is an invitation to 'take the trouble to come, sit down and share,' and the relaxed and playful atmosphere in this event space and showroom provides the perfect environment to pull up a chair at the communal table and have a snack or browse through a selection of books about "food, hospitality and life and explore the role of design in a time of crisis." In one book, for example Alexandre Bettler writes about the parallels between the basic ingredients of bread and the way we communicate, turning bread into a kind of common language. To expand on this idea, Kopiaste is holding a special 'hybrid design and break-making workshop' this weekend. See the listings, book a space—and check back for more about these exhibitions and all the events happening this week at London Design Festival.