“Personally, I’m all for not seeing any kind of division between things,” Margot Bowman says. It’s why the creative director of the Estethetica Review balances designer, illustrator, artist and writer duties all at once, and why she’ll be spotted at both London Design Festival and Fashion Week this year. Though the two run parallel to each other, Bowman’s all for exalting good design, wherever it may be found.
Festival-goers will find that easy this year, thanks to a cooperative effort between eco-energy firm smart and event organisers 100% Design. Running through Design Week, visitors will be able to sign up for smart ebike design tours to cycle all over London and hit up the capital's greatest artistic hotspots, all on smart's electric bikes: a groundbreaking piece of Red Dot Design Award-approved piece of design in themselves. Bowman takes to Google Streeview to illustrate five of her favourite destinations.
Endless Stair at Tate Modern
"It’s great to see that people in charge of public art installations have really opened up their minds and let people do great things with public space – this falls into the same bracket of what the Serpentine do. It’s so nice to see the city inverted and used in unexpected ways – you can actually walk on the stairs! That’s what should be happening more with public art works: they shouldn’t be something you look at, but something you can interact and be playful with. As a creative person and an artist, I do think you have a social responsibility to bring culture forward and to share what other people can’t see in the world."
"Half of the design experience is the park itself, and how the space interacts with the park and vice versa. All these Victorian parks, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park included, were design experiences in themselves. It was all part of the same Victorian philanthropic movement in response to the industrial revolution: all about good works and making the city green. It’s why London has so many parks. Now people look at galleries and installations. A hundred years ago, the Victorians were looking at gardens and greenery."
Hunting and Narud at Gallery Libby Sellers
"I saw Amy Hunting speak at the W Project dinner and she was fantastic. I’d seen her work a little bit before, but she talked us through the entire process of her project and understanding how much respect she’s got for materials was really great. She’s got a beautiful relationship with materials and simplicity; she spoke a lot about inverting what people expect from a material or pushing its characteristics really far. A lot of what she does comes from set and exhibition design, so it’s great to see that you can take things that have a more commercial context and finesse them until they attain a more exclusive object status. They look almost like satellites, like a hieroglyphic sky dish from the future."
"For the new swimwear collection I did with Auria, I went in there and spent three or four hours just walking around and looking at ceramics. It’s a place you can go to look at one thing and end up seeing a few thousand other things. It’s amazing to have a depository of all the objects that we create and a cultural document that looks at who we are by way of the objects we make. The pottery collection is ridiculous and such a good example of an amazing museum collection, because of how comprehensive and detailed it is. You go from beginning to end by country, and because there’s so much in there, you feel like whatever you come across is your special find."
Bethan Laura Wood at the Aram Gallery
"Wood has a playful approach to product and furniture design that feels really feminine, too. I think the idea of decorativeness in design is a bit of a taboo. Max Bill, who’s kind of a Swiss renaissance man, wrote a book called Form, Function, Beauty = Gestalt which talks about how functionality is always valued more highly than beauty in design, because functionality is easier to judge. It’s maybe why design has a sort of androgenised neutrality, but not everyone fits into strict categories and we can’t neuter ourselves all the time with our design choices. Bethan’s work doesn’t do that: it’s full-on, it’s expressive and that’s really important."
Combine electronic mobility with premium design by signing up for curated ebike design tours at 100% Design. If you do not have the chance to take part in a smart ebike design tour, you can also sign up for short test rides on location. For more information, check out betterymagazine.com/designtour.