This Saturday sees the start of London Design Festival (whoop!) – the time of year when the capital is bursting at the seams with design and designers. After the Jubilee and the Olympics, London already feels like the capital of the world and this is the 10th LDF, so it’s going to be a good one. I am so excited, I might pop! It can be incredibly overwhelming with 133 events on the first day alone, so I’ve compiled this handy guide, as much for my own sanity as anything, but I thought I would share it with you…
Saturday 15th September
The V&A is the “hub” of London Design Festival, so it seems as good a place as any to start. There’s so much going on, you could spend the entire festival here, so set yourself a time limit for exploring, then head out to the rest of the Brompton Design District. Don’t miss A Spacial Surprise at MINT – which includes “creative recycling of soot and 3D prints of light.” Skandium is always worth a look – they’re showcasing Eva Schildt and Folkform for the festival. And make sure you a grab a copy of the London Design Festival Guide and the Icon guide while you’re there – both crucial to planning the rest of your festival.
V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL, 10am – 5.45pm, free entry
MINT, 2 North Terrace, SW3 2BA, 10.30am – 7pm, free entry
Skandium, 245-249 Brompton Road, SW3 2EP, 10am – 6.30pm
Wednesday 19th September
100% Design opens on Wednesday (Saturday is the public day), so I want to get in quick. With sections on interiors, office, kitchen and bathrooms and eco, design and build and an international pavilion, it’s one of my favourite shows. After 100% Design, if you fancy it, you can come to the Sackler Centre at the V&A to see me interview Kate Moross and Pentagram’s first female director Marina Willer, as part of a series of Salon Talks with women in design. designersblock also opens in the Southbank Centre’s Festival Village on Wednesday and I’m really excited about it – cutting edge design in spaces that have never been open to the public before.
100% Design, Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, SW5 9TA, £15, 10am – 7pm, (10am – 5pm on Saturday)
V&A Salon Talks, The Sackler Centre, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL, 1pm Kate Moross, 3pm Marina Willer free entry.
designersblock, Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX, 10am – 7pm, free entry with pre-registration
Thursday 20th September
Thursday is a big day when a lot of the shows open, including designjunction, Tramshed, TENT and Super Brands. There’s a lot going on in East London, so I suggest heading that way first. TENT is typically the younger, more cutting edge end of LDF and a must-see event. It’s also home to 100% Norway and Super Brands. And it’s worth exploring the area too – maybe to Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb Shop or The Wrong Shop Editions, a series of graphic prints by designers like the Bouroullec Brothers.
TENT / Super Brands London, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1, £8 in advance, £10 on the door, 10am – 7pm
Lee Broom Gallery, 93 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY, free entry, 10am – 8pm
The Wrong Shop Editions, twentytwentyone Showroom, 18c River Street EC1R 1XN, free entry, 9.30am-5.30pm
Friday 21st September
Thursday was a pretty big day, so I’m suggesting a lie-in on Friday morning, then off to designjunction in the afternoon. designjunction is taking over an old Royal Mail sorting office, which is set is be an incredible venue – and there are flash factories, a pop-up cinema, pecha kucha and an auction of customised designs in aid of my favourite charity Maggie’s. And I’m taking part in a panel debate with Max Fraser, Will Wimshurst and Anthony Dickens about Design for the Joy of Living at 4pm. After that is the Maggie’s Night Hike, a 10 or 20 mile walk through London at night, with access to some of London’s best architecture and even a trip on the London Eye if you make it there by 10pm!
designjunction / Tramshed, The Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1BA, free with pre-registration, 10am – 7pm
Maggie’s Night Hike, Starts at Leadenhall Market EC3V, £35 pp plus £185 fundraising commitment for 10 miles, £40 pp plus £285 fundraising commitment for 20 miles, £5 discount for groups of four or more, register online in advance, from 6.30pm.
Saturday 22nd September
Saturday seems like a good time to have a slightly slower day exploring Clerkenwell Design District, and maybe doing a little bit of shopping. My picks include Pop Up / Pop Down at Industrial Facility, one of my favourite design brands, and Inspired by London, a selling exhibition from six designers who are… inspired by London! And don’t miss Today’s Specials who are ‘invading’ Chest of Drawers on Upper Street for a ‘guerilla pop-up’ and will be selling copies of my book!
Pop Up / Pop Down Industrial Facility, 2nd Floor, 20 Britton Street, EC1M 5UA, free, 10am – 6pm
Inspired by London, Craft Central, 33-35 St Johns Square, EC1M 4DS 10am – 4pm
Today’s Specials, Chest of Drawers, 281 Upper Street, N1 2TZ, free, 10am – 6pm
Sunday 23rd September
Decorex starts on Sunday 23rd September, just sneaking into LDF. It’s a trade show, but the public can visit on Tuesday 25th September. Vivienne Westwood has designed the entrance this year, so that alone has got to be worth the trip.
Decorex, Royal Chelsea Hospital, SW3 4SR, 10am – 6pm
…and then relax!
Further reading for the especially geeky:
- interview :: outline editions
- out and about :: tent top ten (2011)
- out and about :: 100% design (2011)
- out and about :: tramshed (2011)
Photo credits from top: designjunction at The Sorting Office, Folkform Suburban Skyline lights at Skandium, London Design Festival 2012 logo, The Bench Years, commissioned by Established & Sons at the V&A. Bench by AL_A, 100% design: stack white, rocky black and plant and moss staking chairs, Lee Broom Crystal Bulb, Mini Moderns Backgammon wallpaper and cushions at TENT London, Amateur Chair by Ngispen at Super Brands, designjunction at The Sorting Office, Maggie’s Night Hike participants and dedicated candles, 2010, © Alex Maguire, Rosmary Lucus River Thames silver cuff, London Kills Me City Print North, Michelle Mason Decca Cushion and designersblock at the Festival Village.