Experience, Sustainability & The Future of AI

LDF’19

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On Friday, we visited London Design Festival 2019 to find out what trends and themes were prevalent this year and to see what the next year in design could look like.

The key themes we took away from the day were an emphasis on new experiences, both in retail and in tech, how design is helping for a more sustainable future, and how AI will look in the future and shape our lives.

Our first stop was to Coals Drop Yard, in the Kings Cross design district. Here we found Tom Dixons Touchy Smelly Feely Noisy Tasty sensory lab. We went mainly to check out the new collaboration between the studio and Harrys, the subscription-based razor company. The result, a modular handle made from cylindrical aluminium blocks, which can be mixed and matched to preference, creating a premium cartridge razor. A great experiential show with a shaving bar and a table with a selection of blocks to try your own.

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Next we visited the Samsung KX store. Not specific to LDF, but a great opportunity to check out the newly revised Galaxy Fold and see how Samsung have approached a new style of store experience. Including a kitchen, living room, small presentation area, VR and AR experiences, a cafe and a future car concept, there was a lot to see and do. The key takeaways were Samsung’s idea of the future of AI. There were concept car media controllers and screens with the future car, which had thoughts on how AI is changing our lives, written by Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategic Officer of Samsung. These 5 ways were; AI is changing every industry not just tech, Automated driving and other future technologies will need improved infrastructure such as 5G, AI can be used to cure more people faster at a lower cost, AI will help to combat cyber attacks through ‘deep learning’, and finally AI needs talented people to ask the right questions and be specific with what they want to use AI for in their industry. A great experience, and definitely the start of a new kind of tech store separating itself from the Apple store and other competitors.

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Next up, we headed back to the tube via the Light Tunnel, where RADO were displaying their finalists for their design competition ‘RE:IMAGINE’ which encourages young designers to explore different ways design can improve life. Our attention was caught by the project ‘Worthy’ by Tomi Laukkanen https://radostarprize.rado.com/uk/project/worthy, a project centred around reducing electrical waste, which we thought sat well with our own values at alloy, of trying to reduce waste and create a more sustainable future.

On our way down to the V&A, we stopped off at the Raeburn pop up shop in Soho to have a look at the LAYER X Raeburn canopy collection. Reusing military parachutes, a collection of chairs and screen dividers were created. A great project focused around sustainable fashion and materials.

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We then went to the V&A to visit the Sony exhibition, Affinity in Autonomy, which is Sony’s representation on their thoughts on the future of AI and robotics. The main room featured two large spheres containing a pendulus, a robot that moves and detects visitors, and then reacts with them in a physical and emotional way. The result is an experience similar to interacting with a pet. The stewards at the exhibition said how they thought it acted like a cat, which was true, it would get your attention, then it would quizzically look at you, then shy away, follow you, or lose interest and detect someone else. We then moved through to the second room which had a large display that showed data from the first room to reveal all of the tracking involved, making the sweet and curious nature of the first room feel a little more sinister.

The V&A also had a large installation in its main entrance, Sea Things by Sam Jacob, which was a large cube with a screen showing moving graphics displaying different types of ocean plastics, to raise awareness of the threat to marine life.

Finally, our last stop for the day was to Somerset House to visit the LG and Wallpaper exhibition ‘Art Inspires Technology. Technology Completes Art.’ An exhibition exploring the link between art and technology, the latest line of premium products were laid out in three rooms to explore LG Signature’s minimal and functional design using the historic backdrop and the contrast of technology to transform the space into an exciting show of the products.

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