Expect plenty of superfluous activities in London over the coming week or so; London Design Festival, whilst embracing plenty of brilliant, bleeding-edge design, will inevitably offer up a lot of gimmicks. Vulgar gimmicks, showy gimmicks, and probably some gimmicks that genuinely make you go wow.
Being honest, there’s a whiff of the gimmick about Alex Chinneck’s excellent Greenwich Peninsula installation. So some gimmicks can be good gimmicks? But gimmicks nonetheless. Not in this corner of West London though. Oh no. Gimmicks are a dirty word at the Vitsœ showroom; the brand famed for its production of arch gimmickry despiser Dieter Rams’s straight-laced furniture.
The German’s Ten principles for good design, often hailed as a key inspiration in Apple’s simple, elegant forms, are a blueprint for straightforward, functional, beautiful design — and the British brand, founded in 1959, use their W1 showroom as a shrine to his thinking. An equal thinker in ‘no bullshittery’ is underground music magazine The Wire, whose infamously intelligent approach to music holds a kind of religious sensibility amongst its devotees. Thou shalt not enjoy music that doesn’t make you think.
Add into the mix a third studious component; London’s Postcard Teas, who outlined their commitment to provenance in 2008 when it became the first tea company in the world to put makers’ names and locations on all of their teas, and you quite a discerning arsenal. Conscious cuppas, scholarly music and erudite design come together in The Vitsœ Listening Room — an installation that runs through LDF, pairing new music from Japan compiled by Wire editor Chris Bohn; a space where visitors can engage with Rams’s iconic furniture and complimentary teas.
Head in from the hectic design festival at large, cleanse yourself of big-name designer meets big-brand collaborations, kick back in unfussy furniture devoid of pretentiousness, muse on independent music publications, peruse knowledgable music and neck traceable teas. Thank you Vitsœ, thank you for this haven of sensibleness.