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The Best Digital Design at London Design Festival 2017

Picture of Claire Lancaster
Tech & Entrepreneurship Editor
Updated: 20 September 2017

Celebrating its fifteenth year in the city, the 2017 London Design Festival (LDF) has once again transformed the capital with its vibrant installations, eight Design Districts and rich cultural programming. Here are our picks for the best explorations and examples of digital design at the Festival.

V&A Digital Design Weekend

The V&A Digital Design Weekend (23 – 24 September) ‘brings together artists, designers, engineers, technologists and the public to celebrate and share contemporary digital art and design. Participants take over the Museum with interactive installations, robotics, performances and more. This year’s event explores how design and creativity can bridge ideas across disciplines, generating new relationships between technology, people, cities and environments.’ The full programme can be found here.

The Data Detox Bar

The Data Detox Bar, from Tactical Tech and Mozilla, is an interactive exhibition that ‘helps visitors to find out what data is collected on them and why’. ‘Ingeniuses’, a satirical take on Apple’s Genius Bar experts, are on hand for digital privacy advice. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.

The Human Sensor

Thought-provoking performance The Human Sensor examines environmental pollution via wearable tech costumes that respond in real time to performer Ruth Jones’ rhythm of breath and changes in the chemical composition of the air. The Human Sensor was created by media artist Kasia Molga, in collaboration with Prof Frank Kelly and Dr Andrew Grieve (King’s College London), Ricardo O’Nasciemento and Erik Overmeire and produced by Invisible Dust, which encourages awareness of, and meaningful responses to, climate change, air pollution and related health and environmental issues. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.

Human Sensor, Kasia Molga © Nick Harrison

Geomancer (VR Edition)

A VR edition of Lawrence Lek’s two-part science-fiction moving image work Geomancer, about a satellite surveillance AI who escapes its imminent deletion by coming down to Singapore to fulfill its dreams of becoming an architect. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.

WearAQ and Social Wearables

Designer and coder Ling Tan uses wearables as an expressive interface. Participants in various cities co-create body gesture sensing wearables that enable them to record their bodily interaction with the city, ranging from the quality of air in London to perception of safety in Johannesburg, South Africa. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.


Slave/Master investigates human/robot interaction, reversing the traditional fear portrayed in sci-fi films of robots oppressing and interfering with humans. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.

Slave/Master © BRIA

The 3D Additivist Manifesto and Cookbook

A collection of works from over 100 world-leading artists, activists and theorists, the 3D Additivist Manifesto and Cookbook explores the limits and opportunities of 3D printers and other creative technologies. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.


Frank Kolkman’s Outrospective is a proposal for a medical device that simulates an out-of-body experience. The installation explores how we could design tools and techniques to help patients acknowledge their own mortality. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.

Riot (Prototype)

Filmmaker Karen Palmer’s emotionally responsive, life-action film with immersive 3D sound design uses facial recognition and AI technology to navigate through a dangerous riot. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.

Riot Screenshot © Karen Palmer

Disobedient Electronics: Protest

Dr. Garnet Hertz’s talk on his research in DIY culture, electronic art and interdisciplinary design practices, and his recent publication Disobedient Electronics: Protest, a zine that demonstrates how electronics can be used to foreground pressing social issues including ‘the wage gap, homophobia, racism, surveillance and privacy, human rights, economic disparity, and climate change’. Part of the V&A Digital Design Weekend.

Clinic//2 by Vitamin London

As digital life becomes increasingly indecipherable from real-world existence, Clinic//2 explores the diminishing digital interface layer and technology’s effect on our reality.

Exhale Bionic Chandelier

Design-engineer, entrepreneur and winner of the 2017 LDF Emerging Talent Medal, Julian Melchiorri, has developed the Exhale Bionic Chandelier. The world’s first living and breathing chandelier uses Melchiorri biological micro-organisms and materials to convert waste and pollution into valuable resources.

Exhale Bionic Chandelier © Victoria and Albert Museum


Pentatonic’s 40-foot shipping container platform holds the world’s first mobile, off-grid waste recycling plant capable of upcycling plastic and fabric waste into architectural tiles.


British designer Benjamin Hubert and design studio Layer launched Nolli, a lifestyle-led tech accessories brand that ‘celebrates the beauty of being connected’.

Moving Mephitic Air

A data visualisation and sonification installation exploring the distinctions between human and machine interpretations of air pollution.

For more information on what’s happening at London Design Festival, which runs from September 16–24, check out the website here