London Design Festival 2018 at V&A, ‘The Onion Farm’ by Henrik Libskov

December 2018


TM Lighting partnered with London Design Festival in collaboration with SEAM Design to light the installation in the V&A’s Tapestry Galleries.

Using TM’s museum-grade G150 LED high colour rendition Gallery spotlights, with lighting design by SEAM.


Danish fashion designer Henrik Vibskov created ‘The Onion Farm’ in Room 94 of the V&A’s Tapestry Galleries for LDF 2018.

The Tapestries Gallery is a long, narrow room kept dark to preserve the historical pieces.
In this atmospheric space are housed rare tapestries from 1425 onwards – impressive examples of weaving with rich colours, bold motifs and textured dimensions. The length of the room gave rise to the idea of a similarly long installation; around 25 metres from end to end.

Furthermore, the dimmed lighting inspired the idea of growing something in the dark, as if underground. The Onion Farm by Henrik Vibskov was a light, dynamic structure, that spun along
the gallery. Industrial, colourful brushes and red textile ‘onions’ were seemingly hanging and growing from the structure. The installation, in line with the tapestries, created a strong tactile impression, but, in its materiality, contrasted with the space. This sense of an ancient weaving technique will be reflected in the new work, composed of colourful spindles spun together with a knitted textile.

As with many of Vibskov’s installations, everyday objects were transformed, put together in a new way to give viewers a point of recognition. In this piece, fabric onions hanging in the dark form a structure, which combined with the industrial brushes, simulated the natural conditions in which they grow, while the brushes, with their large circles of spiny prickly hairs, created a vibrating membrane along the structure. The idea of using design to imitate and comment on everyday life drew parallels with the tapestries and their role of reflecting 15th- century people’s perspective on life.

While the tapestries cannot be touched by the public, ‘The Onion Farm’ was created to be interactive; visitors were invited to touch and move through it as they walked along the gallery. In some places
the passage narrowed and forced the visitor to be brushed as they moved through. Inspired by
the depiction of grand nature scenes in the tapestries and their variety of wildlife tableaux, this installation, in the same way, refered to natural elements, shapes and colours but also commented on the hyper-industrialized state of agriculture today.

Supported By:
Danish Arts Foundation
Embassy of Denmark, London
Ministry of Culture, Denmark

Further Support:
A.P. Møller Fonden
Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansen Fonden
Becket Fonden
Grosserer L. F. Foghts Fonden
DSV Road
SEAM
TM Lighting

Image: © studiostagg

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