Surprising Materials at London Design Festival 2018

From sisal beasts to printed bacteria and salmon skins, all at this year's magnificent event

At this year’s London Design Festival (LDF), designers worked with surprising materials to showcase projects employing everything from high-tech solutions to unexpected but traditional fibers. Plastics were repurposed, as were the skins of fish. As-yet-unseen materials were printed. And so much more came to light. Here are some of our favorite projects and pieces from the festival’s King’s Cross Design Route, the London Design Biennale …

Word of Mouth: New Orleans

Rooftop pools, hidden courtyards, local goods and plenty of laid-back southern charm

When visiting New Orleans for the first time, one thing becomes immediately apparent: the stories are true. There are wildly talented musicians playing music on the street; oak trees that are hundreds of years old are scattered throughout the city; second line parades are common; it’s swampy, sweaty and the air is heavy. Visually striking and strangely emotive at almost every corner, NOLA is a …

Word of Mouth: Pittsburgh

A city changing from industrial icon to a culinary and cultural hub, much to the delight of locals and visitors alike

Pittsburgh, moated off from its suburbs by the ribboning of three rivers (the Allegheny and Monongahela and Ohio) finds itself in the midst of a revolution. On the banks lie—vacant and, in many people’s eyes, obtrusive—the remnants of a fruitful industrial economy. Steel mills, smog and successful, sinful businesspeople make up the foundation of Pittsburgh history, but since the turn of the 21st century, imagination, …

Object_ify 139 + Ace Hotel’s Flag Project

Commissioning nine artists to create designs that represent their ideals, and support their chosen organization

After collaborating last year in NYC, Object_ify 139 and Ace Hotel have teamed up on a new project that celebrates design, supports activist organizations and explores hopeful and important values for the future. Simply called “Flags,” the endeavor was born from the disappointment of the 2016 US Presidential elections and the consequential protests and overwhelming action from the public. Commissioning nine artists to design a …

Interview: KARA Founder and Designer Sarah Law

On office culture, getting ripped off by big brands and her new collaborative backpack with Ace Hotel

KARA bags appeared from nowhere and suddenly were everywhere, from the shoulders of design-lovers to actors and the Insta-famous. The now-signature leather backpacks are instantly recognizable, despite bearing no branding aside from a discreetly embossed label on the zipper tags. The line has grown to include crossbodies, totes and more, all designed to show off the high-quality materials, be it pebble-grained leather or lamb shearling. …