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Royal College of Art Events at the London Design Festival 2014

The 2014 London Design Festival sees the RCA addressing key issues of sustainability and people-centered design in two exhibitions across both Battersea and Kensington sites. 

Breaking Through: New Projects From the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design runs from 15 –25 September in Battersea and explores how current research is breaking through to bring original concepts to market, enhance public services and inform policymaking.

The exhibition will demonstrate how emerging ideas can shape alternative futures in areas as diverse as ageing populations, energy use and office life when ethnographic research and people-centered design are considered in tandem.

The 20 projects emphasis user push rather than technology pull as the driving force of design to improve people’s lives and include Future London Taxi, a new London taxi that will be greener and will cater for all ages and abilities; bespoke classroom lighting to improve student motivation in Amanda Buckley’s Lighting for Learning; therapeutic cooking equipment for people with arthritis in Hand Healthy; and a website that uses open data to make information available about public toilets called The Great British Public Toilet Map.

Continuing the College’s focus on health and patient safety, two further projects look to improve health service experiences. Redesigning the Ambulance involves the development of a new vehicle co-designed with clinicians and patients to reduce hospital admissions, while Reducing Violence in A&E explores the impact of a suite of design solutions aimed to assist what can be a stressful and confusing experience.

Over in Kensington Looking Forward: SustainRCA Show and Awards 2014 takes place from 18 September – 3 October and explores ideas of long-term thinking, where consideration of future generations as part of natural eco-systems trumps short-term, purely economic, decision making.

The show includes exhibits from a wide range of College disciplines from photography to fashion and design. Projects include Sol Lee’s Smart Festivals, which explores how festival waste can be radically reduced through the implementation of an intelligent camping rental system; a number of projects around the theme of bee preservation including Plan Bee, a self-monitoring beehive that detects unusual breeding activity, created by Julia Johnson and Max Danger’s Let It Bee!, a witty installation comprising graphics and comic-style drawings that speculates on their future.

Issues of transparency in meat production are explored in Janice Lau's Atrocity Exhibition – A Public Abattoir, Nell Bennett’s Coral3 presents an emergency programme to neutralise ocean acidity locally and halt the loss of coral reefs and, as Britain waits on tenterhooks for the referendum result, Mohammed J Ali’s project A New Enlightenment envisions how a fairer political and economic alternative to capitalism could be based on renewable energy, and shared goods, services and information in an imaginary independent Scotland.

SustainRCA will also host a special session as part of its London Design Festival activities with the Global Design Forum called Ideas to Kickstart a Sustainable Economy.

During the London Design Festival the Kensington site will also play host to Studio Tutti Frutti’s Buy, Buy, Buy, Put it Down, a hybrid pop-up shop and exhibition curated by recent graduates from the RCA Design Interactions programme.

Buy, Buy, Buy, Put it Down will explore parallel realities, alternative histories, and improbable futures, with visitors being invited to commission an array of products costing from £1  £500, with options including a photographic portrait of their brain, a children’s anti-gravity suit or a CCTV safe burka.  


Breaking Through: New Projects from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design runs from 15  25 September 2014 | 11am  5pm daily | Free admission | Royal College of Art, Dyson Building, 1 Hester Road, London SW11 4AN   

Looking Forwards: SustainRCA Show and Awards 2014 runs from 18 September  3 October 2014 | 11am  5.30pm daily | Free admission | Royal College of Art, Darwin Building, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU

Buy, Buy, Buy, Put it Down is open Friday 12 September 711pm | Saturday 13 September 127pm | Saturday 20 September 127pm | Free admission | Royal College of Art, Stevens Building, Kensington Gore London SW7 2EU