The countdown to the 2014 London Design Festival has begun – the fun starts on Saturday! This year’s theme is “Lose Yourself in Design.” There are over 300 events, so to help make sure you do that metaphorically, but not literally, I have trawled through all 208 pages of the London Design Festival guide, scoured every last detail of this year’s handy map, tapped up my very best contacts, ploughed through the bulging LDF14 folder in my inbox and sorted through some gorgeous paper invitations… I have used felt tip pens, post-it notes and huge pieces of paper… and I have edited it all down to this – a simple day by day guide to the London Design Festival. (Click here to download a printable PDF version.)
Saturday 13 September
The V&A is the ‘hub’ of LDF again this year, so it seems a good place to start. I’m particularly excited about seeing Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert‘s entrance installation made from hand-blown glass cylinders, Zaha Hadid‘s Crest installation across the pool in the centre of the John Madejski Garden, and the latest contemporary acquisitions bought with the V&A Design Fund.
It’s also Graphics Weekend 13 – 14 September – recent graduates and aspiring designers should keep an eye out for Breaking Into The Design Industry – a Design Week hosted panel session featuring Magpie‘s Ben Christie, Jack Renwick Studio‘s Jack Renwick and illustrator Gordon Reid of Middleboop, at 11am in Seminar Room 3 in the Learning Centre.
While you’re in the area, I highly recommend ambling around the Brompton Design District. It’s one of my favourite design districts, because you really can explore on foot and happen across things you weren’t expecting. There’s a map on their website and they usually have a guide at participating shops and showrooms, so keep your eyes peeled for that – but equally, just stroll around and dive into anywhere with a red LDF sign outside! I’m going to make sure I pop into Mint to see Elements of Craft, an exhibition focusing on the influence of craft in design, and into Skandium to say happy anniversary – they will be celebrating 15 years with a showcase of 15 ‘own production’ products, the latest of which is by new designer Daniel Schofield.
Sunday 14 September
On Sunday, head to Kensington Olympia for the first September edition of Home London. The show, which launched in January 2012, always presented a well-edited selection of home accessories with particular support for those made in Britain by new and independent designers. I’m excited about seeing new French design brand Atomic Soda, Japanese lighting brand Di Classe, and Iris Hantverk who have been working with visually impaired craftsmen and women for over 100 years.
Monday 15 September
On Monday, I’m recommending a trip to the Design Museum to see the 2014 Designers in Residence: James Christian, Ilona Gaynor, Torsten Sherwood and Patrick Stevenson-Keating. Some of my favourite designers have come out of this programme, so it’s a great place to spot new talent. This year’s theme is disruption and Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, explains: “More than most, ‘disruptive’ is a term whose meaning is dependent on the context. Conventionally considered almost invariably a bad thing – difficult pupils, bad neighbours, ill-considered town planning – it is now the most sought after quality in a new product. It has completely overtaken the previously well regarded term sustainable, and its slightly more current synonym, resilient. Disruptive technologies are what made Apple’s comeback a decade ago so successful. Disruptive innovation interrupts established ways of thinking, diverges from traditional practices and proposes new, unexpected ideas.” Sounds exciting, huh?! (The exhibition is on until 08 March, so if you’re local, you’ve got plenty of time, but if you’re in London to see design, you can’t miss this!)
Tuesday 16 September 2014
There a few events in East London that finish before the big shows like Tent start, so it’s worth an early trip East to see Kingston University’s Outlet, a showcase of the work of 26 graduating designers, and Not This, an exhibition by Goldsmith’s graduates, challenging the poster and the chair as the parameters of design. Explore the rest of the East London Design District while you’re there – and we’ll be back on Thursday if you miss anything.
Wednesday 17 September 2014
Go West on Wednesday. 100% Design opens a day ahead of Tent and designjunction this year, so I want to get there as soon as the doors open! Don’t miss Ones To Watch and the International Pavilions – the two sections where you often find the most interesting work.
Once you’ve had a good browse at 100%, hop on the District or Circle Line north to Paddington, change on the Bakerloo Line and get off at Queen’s Park – a new design district for 2014. I’m going to make sure I see Zoe Brewer’s collaboration with Out of The Dark and the Rag and Bone man.
Thursday 18 September 2014
Tent opens on Thursday 18, so I’m heading East for the day. I’m going to start the day at the Saturday Market Project with a screen-printing and book-binding workshop – check out their full range of workshops here. After that I’m going to explore the East London Design District, making sure I don’t miss a very geeky exhibition subtitled The Art of the Algorithm curated by design agency Signal Noise!
Then I’m going to allow myself plenty of time to explore Tent, one of my favourite shows with a real festival vibe and a good selection of new and independent designers, and the satellite shows such as 100% Norway and Crafts Council of Ireland.
Friday 19 September 2014
Then on Friday, it’s all about being in Central London, a relatively new and definitely growing design district. Start your morning at The New Craftsmen at 10am for their Friday Fry Up and grab yourself a bacon butty and a cup of tea to start the day off well! Next head to designjunction, the most consumer-friendly of all the shows, where there will be lots of emerging designers you can buy direct from. I’m also really excited about Ventura London, an exhibition by the people behind Ventura Lambrate, my favourite show during Milan Design Week, and the Tokyo Bike Tours, design tours of London led by industry experts – on bikes! I’m finally going to do one this year, having never managed to squeeze it in before.
Once you’ve exhausted the possibilities at designjunction, head back out into London and make sure you don’t miss 19 Greek Street, “London’s playground for advancement, integrity and good taste in design,” and ‘Found in Translation’ an exhibition at the Japanese Embassy curated by young Japanese designers in London about cultural diversity.
Address: Embassy of Japan in the UK, 101 – 104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT | Open: 9.30am – 5.30pm | Map: click here | Tube: Green Park
Saturday 20 September
Saturday is a day of two halves, and one I suggest you start with a bit of a lie-in – it’s been a pretty hectic week so far! But not too much of a lie-in though, because today we’re going North and South!
North first and to designersblock, the most avant-garde of the main LDF shows, and one that always has a surprise or two in store. This year it’s popping up at The Old Sessions House on Clerkenwell Green. While you’re in the vicinity, pay a visit to my favourite stationery shop, Present & Correct and get involved with their Stamp Station making your own personalised stationery, and pop into Cafe Smug for a coffee and to see new work from Donna Wilson.
Then get out your Oyster card and head South to the Royal College of Art – Breaking Through, an exhibition of new projects from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, will be worth the trip alone. Pop into Oxo Tower Wharf on the Southbank for the Meet the Makers open studio event that is running throughout LDF on your way.
Address: RCA (Battersea Campus) Dyson Building, 1 Hester Road, London SW11 4AN | Open: 10am – 5.30pm | Web: www.rca.ac.uk | Map: click here | Tube: Battersea Park / Queens Town Road (Train) / Number 19 (Bus)
Sunday 21 September
There are two events that start on the last day of LDF, just sneaking in under the net: Decorex and Focus14 at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre. Both cater to a slightly different crowd of high-end interior designers and specifiers, but are definitely worth a look. I’m looking forward to seeing Margo Selby and Fine Cell Work at Decorex and I can’t wait for the talks programme at Focus14 – don’t miss author Oliver Dupon talking about new trends in floral art at 3pm.
Follow @coadg and @FieraMag on Instagram and Twitter for what I see as I see it – and the hashtag #LDF14. Enjoy!