New York Times review of LDF12

2013 is the 11th year of this incredible celebration of global design. Last year the New York Times named London the design capital of the world – and I’ve got a feeling that this year, it’s going to be even better!

I have hunted through all 250+ pages of the London Design Festival guide, spoken to all the people in the know that I know and trawled through the slowly expanding LDF13 folder in my inbox… I have employed felt tip pens, post-it notes and huge pieces of paper… and I have whittled it all down to this – my simple day by day guide to the London Design Festival. (Download the printable PDF version here.)

confessions of a design geek guide to LDF13

Saturday 14th September 2013

I’m going to suggest you start your adventure at the V&A, the London Design Festival “hub”. You can check out everything that’s going on here, but I’m particularly looking forward to being “immersed in a world of cork” courtesy of a collaboration between FAT Architecture and the world’s largest producer of cork, Amorim; God Is In The Details, a curation of the little things within the V&A picked out by the likes of Paul Cocksedge, Tom Dixon and Faye Toogood using Swarovski specialist lenses; and the Moleskine Sketch Relay, for which 70 London-based designers have responded to the brief (and LDF13 theme) “Design is Here, There and Everywhere.” Other highlights include a 30m high chandelier made of 280 glass Bocci pendants, the Bodleian Library Chair competition, and 8-18, but more of that tomorrow…

Recent design grads and aspiring designers – don’t miss Enhance Your Profile Through Blogging and Social Media 10am – 12.30pm by Artsthread (020 7907 7073 to book a free place) and How To Get Started in the Creative Industries 2pm – 2.45pm – both in the Sackler Centre.

While you’re in this neck of the woods, check out the rest of the Brompton Design District. Grab a guide, take a stroll and see what takes your fancy. It’s a fairly small area and half the fun is stumbling across things unexpectedly, but do pop your head into Mint and check out Cabinets of Curiosity.

Address: The Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL | Open: 10am – 5.45pm | Web: www.vam.ac.uk | Map: click here | Tube: South Kensington

Address: Mint, 2 North Terrace, Alexander Square, London, SW3 2BA | Open: 10am – 5.45pm | Web: www.mintshop.co.uk| Map: click here | Tube: South Kensington

V&A confessions of a design geek LDF13 guide

Sunday 15th September 2013

Nerd alert: this is a whole day of typography, but it’s going to be awesome – I promise! Graphics Weekend at the V&A is part of a valiant attempt to better represent graphic design at the London Design Festival, which I wholeheartedly applaud.

The Sackler Centre is hosting Drop-in Design: Lively Letters and Type Tasting Display and Workshop: the former involves searching the museum for unusual letters (sounds all very photos of numbers to me!) and using them to create your own monogram and the latter is “a display of words about creative London that have been designed to reflect their meaning, choice of typeface, mark making tools, incorporating unusual materials and inventing new letterforms.” Drop in any time from 10.30am – 5pm.

The Typographic Circle was established in 1976 for anyone with an interest in typography – the V&A’s Gallery 55 has been transformed for 8–18, a bold floor-to-ceiling graphic installation celebrating the Circle’s magazine, Circular. “I’ve been working on Circular for 15 years now, which is unique in itself, but what I’ve most enjoyed is that each issue has a distinct and experimental execution,” says Domenic Lippa, Partner at world renowned design studio Pentagram.

And excitingly, at 12.30pm Dominic Lippa will be “Talking Type” ie giving a talk about why he’s interested in type and the work that has inspired him – not to be missed!

Address: The Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL | Open: 10am – 5.45pm | Web: www.vam.ac.uk | Map: click here | Tube: South Kensington

Circular V&A confessions of a design geek LDF13 guide

Monday 16th September 2013

Okay, that was a pretty full on weekend and there’s a lot more to come, so I’m going to suggest you take it easy on Monday. Have a lie-in, catch up on your emails and then get your glad rags on pootle down to the Chelsea Design Quarter for a bit of an explore (head to the King’s Road and grab a guide from one of the participating showrooms) before An Evening with Bethan Gray, in which the Welsh designer will talk about her collaboration with Lapicida and the gorgeous marble creations that came about as a result.

Address: Lapicida, 533 Kings Road (entrance on Lots Road), London, SW10 0TZ | Open: 6.30pm – 8.30pm | Web: www.lapicida.com | Map: click here | Tube: Fulham Broadway

Bethan Gray confessions of a design geek LDF13 guide

Tuesday 17th September 2013

I’m going to spend most of the day up a ladder covered in paint getting BRINK set up, so I suggest you go and do something else!

With the ambitious strapline “one day to set the global agenda for design” The Global Design Forum has got to be worth checking out if you can get / afford a ticket. At £395 + VAT, it’s not cheap, but speakers include Ilse Crawford, Sir John Hegarty and Ross Lovegrove and the programme looks pretty impressive.

Or see what else the Design Council has to offer that day:

  • Design Needs You is a speed mentoring session for design students and graduates. 12.30 – 2.30pm. Book (free) tickets here
  • Inside Design Council is a rare chance to visit them and hear from the team about what they’re working on. 3pm – 4.30pm. Book (free) tickets here
  • Hidden Clerkenwell Design Trail is an exclusive tour of the hidden design secrets of Clerkenwell. 3pm – 4.30pm Book (free) tickets here
  • Skyline reception involves drinks and networking on the Angel Building roof terrace plus an introduction to the incredible view of London’s skyline, how its changed and how it might change in the future. 4.30pm – 6.30pm. Book (free) tickets here

Elsewhere in the Clerkenwell Design Quarter, I’m particularly excited about Imprint at Craft Central, an exhibition of printing and mark making from designers across disciplines. My good friend Jo, founder of HAM, is launching an incredible new range of fashion illustrations I’ve been privileged to see in progress – I can’t wait to see the final works.

Address: Global Design Forum, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX | Open: 9.30am – 5pm (also Tuesday 16th September 5.45pm – 9.15pm) | Web: www.globaldesignforum.com | Map: click here | Tube: Waterloo

Address: Design Council, Angel Building, EC1V 4AB | Open: For the events above | Web: www.designcouncil.org.uk | Map: click here | Tube: Angel

Address: Craft Central, 33-35 St John’s Square, London EC1M 4DS | Open: 10.30am – 6.30pm | Web: craftcentral.org.uk/imprint | Map: click here | Tube: Farringdon (or get the 243 bus)

Ilse Crawford Design Council Joanna Ham LDF13

Wednesday 18th September 2013

The show that started it all, 100% Design, opens on Wednesday and that’s enough of a reason for me to declare Wednesday West day… well, that and a lovely bit of alliteration! 100% Design is at Earl’s Court and you’ll need to register to get in. (NB It’s trade only apart from Saturday 21st, when the public are welcome.)

While you’re West, make sure you also check out Graphic Africa at Habitat, Young Creative Poland and The SustainRCA Show and Awards.

Address: Earls Court Exhibition Centre 2, Warwick Road, London SW5 9TA | Open: 10am – 7pm | Web: www.100percentdesign.co.uk | Map: Click here | Tube: West Brompton / Earls Court

Address: Young Creative Poland, Ognisko Polskie (Polish Hearth Club), 55 Exhibition Road, London SW7 2PN | Open: 11m – 6pm | Web: www.bromptondesigndistrict.com | Map: click here | Tube: South Kensington

Address: Platform at Habitat, 208 King’s Road , Chelsea, London, SW3 5XP | Open: 10am – 8pm | Web: www.habitat.co.uk/Platform | Map: click here | Tube: South Kensington / Sloane Square

Address: Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU | Open: 10–6pm daily | Web: sustain.rca.ac.uk/Show-Awards | Map: click here | Tube: High Street Kensington

Young Creative Poland Habitat Platform 100% Design LDF13 guide

Thursday 19th September 2013

designjunction is back in the incredible venue that is the former Royal Mail sorting office and promises even more pop-up shops and foodie outlets, so it should be one to relax and enjoy. I’m particularly excited to see a very special limited edition print HAM has developed for Maggie’s, confessions of a design geek Bursary shortlisted designers Thorody and (hopefully!) Note Design Studio while they’re in town from Stockholm.

Check out the rest of the “Central” design district while you’re there. My top tips are How We Make Furniture at EDC and Wrong for Hay, the global launch of a collaboration between Danish design brand HAY and London-based designer Sebastian Wrong.

Address: designjunction, The Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1BA | Open: 10am – 8pm | Web: thedesignjunction.co.uk | Map: click here | Tube: Holborn

Address: EDC Showroom, 20 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8RS | Open: 12pm – 6pm | Web: www.londondesignfestival.com/events/how-we-make-furniture | Map: click here | Tube: Oxford Circus

Address: Wrong for Hay, 16 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AA | Open: 10am – 7pm | Web: www.wrongforhay.com | Map: click here | Tube: St James Park

designjunction Wrong for Hay EDC LDF13 guide

Friday 20th September 2013

On Friday, it’s finally time to come and see BRINK! I’m so excited and can’t wait to share my top design graduates of 2013 with you. We’re on stand E02 which is right opposite where you come into Tent London, so you won’t miss it. Come and say hello! Once you’re in the Truman Brewery, make sure you explore the rest of Tent and Superbrands and at 3pm come and see the panel event I’m chairing called Design for Good as part of the SuperTalks programme. You can buy tickets for Tent London here, which will also give you access to Superbrands and the talks.

In the same area, don’t miss 100% Norway and the rest of the Shoreditch Design Triangle – grab a guide and explore.

Address: BRINK / Tent London, Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR | Open: 10am – 8pm | Web: www.tentlondon.co.uk | Map: click here | Tube: Shoreditch High Street

Address: 100% Norway Dray Walk Gallery, Dray Walk (private road), off Brick Lane/Hanbury Street, London , E1 6QL | Open: 10am – 8pm | Web: 100percentnorway.com | Map: click here | Tube: Shoreditch High Street

brink LDF13 guide

Saturday 21st September 2013

Saturday is South day (see what I did there?!), so start at the Tate Modern to see the Endless Stair, an Escher drawing made real. Then wander back along the Southbank towards Waterloo and explore anything that takes your fancy ending up at designersblock – the edgiest show at the festival which returns for its second collaboration with the Southbank Centre. Register for tickets here.

(If you’re a design blogger or interested in how to use social media to promote your design business, you might want to head back over to 100% Design for the We Blog Design panel event at 1.30pm and tweet-up at 2.30pm. More info here.)

Address: Endless Stair, Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG | Open: 9am – dusk | Web: www.londondesignfestival.com/endless-stair | Map: click here | Tube: Southwark

Address: designersblock, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX | Open: 12pm – 8pm | Web: www.verydesignersblock.com/events/designersblock-london-2013 | Map: click here | Tube: Waterloo

LDF13 South

Sunday 22nd September 2013

And last but not least, Decorex starts on Sunday 22nd September (the public day is on Wednesday 25th) in its new home at Kensington Palace. Definitely the most high end show – don’t miss my favourite exhibitors, Miss Print and Good Weave who will be announcing the results of their annual student competition.

Address: Decorex, Perks Field & The Orangery, Kensington Palace, London W8 4PX | Open: 12pm – 6pm | Web: www.decorex.com | Map: click here | Tube: High Street Kensington

And I’ll leave the last word to Pentagram, the agency behind the best LDF campaign yet… design is everywhere.

LDF13 design is everywhere

Further reading for the especially geeky:

Download the printable PDF version of this guide here - and if you find it useful, consider making a donation…

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