Reddress is a fascinating performance piece involving live music, innovative design, premium quality fabric and guaranteed audience participation. The latter is paramount to its success - it is this component that elevates a Reddress event from the accepted notions of "multi-media" presentation.
The concept is dynamic, ambitious, and shapes itself to each venue that is large enough to host it. Involving a mammoth 550 metres of red Kvadrat wool, spanning some 20 metres, Reddress incorporates a singer in the centre of a raised platform, accompanying musicians and giant 'pockets' in the folds of the dress for the audience to tuck themselves in to. The dress accommodates up to 238 people. You are no longer observing the performance as a separate entity - as you would a porcelain vase, or oil painting in a museum. Instead, you are directly feeding into the performance as the singer rotates herself around the room.
Redress is brought to the London Design Festival by the Finnish Institute as a precursor to next year's World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 activities. Vocalist, Emma Salokoski, guitarist, Jarmo Saari and the Britten Sinfonia all perform. And Salokoski's powerful renditions of contemporary folk with Saari's ambient textures on the Theremin, an invisible light wave synthesizer, creates an involving ethereal atmosphere. The audience are mesmerised, and the warmth generated by emphatic red lighting and the wool pockets makes for a uniquely intimate event. "It is about the music," says Art Director, Johan Olin. Whilst his wife, and designer, Aamu Song insists that, "the colour leads the way." In fact, it is neither static design, musical performance or fashion exhibition. Instead, a welcome blurring of the boundaries between all disciplines, and one that leaves the audience spellbound.
Reddress starts today and continues until Sunday 25th September. Specific daytime events are free whilst the evening performances are ticketed. Wear your best socks, it is a strictly shoe-free zone.
York Hall. 5 Old Ford Rd. Bethnal Green, London E2 9PJ.