17-25 September 2016
The London Design Festival was established in 2009 and it celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world, creating a platform for inspirational design initiatives.
This year it incuded a major new event, the London Design Biennale – which took place at Somerset House from 7 to 27 September. The Festival also added Brixton as a new Design District. It is the first Festival after Brexit and the organisers are adamant that it is important that London remains a global hub of design. ”The Festival offers a snapshot of why we have such a reputation”. The Festival supports the Mayor of London’s message that the capital is united and open for business.
“ London is the best city in the world. It is creative, international, entrepreneurial, and full of opportunities. Many people from all over the globe live and work here, contributing to every aspect of life in our city. We don’t simply tolerate each others’ differences, we celebrate them.” Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
London Design Festival in a Nutshell
To get your head round what there is and where to go to, the best is to download the London Design Festival Guide on the London Design Festival website. The many projects and exhibitions are listed as follows:
Landmark Projects – Special projects and Installations commissioned by the London Design Festival
- London Design Festival at the V&A
- London Design Biennale at Somerset House
- Design Destinations
- Design Districts
They are also listed below:
This includes the following:
Mini Living ‘Forests’ Installation by Asif Khan A three-part installation that explores architectural solutions to urban living as part of the brand’s MINI LIVING project. Three forest bathing spaces filled with plants have been inserted into Shoreditch’s busy city streets, offering locals places to connect create and relax.
Vince Court N1 6EA
Charles Square Gardens N1 6HS
Corner of Pitfield Street and Charles Square EC1V 9EY
17 – 25 September: 10am – 9pm
Architect Alison Brooks’ Landmark Project for the London Design Festival could be described as an unidentified flying object: a 34m long, 3m high upside down arc poised on the urban horizon. Her project is also a spectacular urban pavilion that takes the shape of a Smile.
The V & A will be the central hub location for the London Design Festival for the eighth year, and it will have a broad range of commissioned activity across the Museum and will include installations, events, talks and workshops.
For exhibitions see below under Brompton Design District.
V&A Talks and Workshops Programme
The unique collaboration between the V&A and the London Design Festival began in 2009 and has offered a packed programme of lunchtime lectures, gallery talks, hands-on workshops and provocative debates every year.
Following on from a more curated approach which has proved popular in previous years, each day of talks at the V&A is themed, helping visitors and participants to make the most of their time and interests during the Festival.
GLOBAL DESIGN FORUM
The Global Design Forum is the Festival’s annual programme of talks and discussions exploring the role of design in a sustainable and prosperous future.
Returning for a fifth year, and the second year at the V&A, the Forum will for 2016 focus on profiling the industry’s pivotal figures who will each discuss their work against the background of a particular topic through Masterclass sessions and will provoke debate through daily panel discussion.
This year, the themes are: Graphics (the weekend of 17 and 18), Future / Liveable Cities (Monday 19), Makers (Tuesday 20), International (Wednesday 21), Engineering (Thursday 22), Digital Design (Friday 23), and Working in Design (the weekend of 24 and 25). On Friday 23 September the Museum will remain open until 10pm, with activities including music, talks and tours.
Continuing from the success of last year and in addition to the talks programme, there will be free daily tours within the Museum of the installations and displays.
7-27 September 2016
London WC2R 1LA
2016 sees the first edition of the London Design Biennale, sponsored by Jaguar and brought to you from the team behind the London Design Festival. Taking over Somerset House, the Biennale explores big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities and social equality. There will be prototypes and designs from 27 coutnries and territories. Each exhibit is a response to the Biennale’s 2016 team ‘Utopia by Design’ to mark the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas Moore’s text.
1-24 September 2015.
For 2016, 100% Design explores the theme of ‘Experience’, which considers the many ways in which design guides, frames and improves the ways that we live, work and consume. The visual identity for this year’s show highlights the experience of visiting 100% Design, and celebrates the importance of attending a design trade show. Experiences at 100% Design range from physically engaging with the latest product innovations, to establishing new business relationships and networking with design professionals.
Visitors and exhibitors will be invited to share their design experiences. How do we feel, explore, discover, see and connect with design? A series of specially commissioned installations, and the show’s unrivalled talks programme; Talks with 100% Design, will explore the wide-ranging aspects of experiential design, complemented by the latest UK product launches from a selection of world leading exhibitors.
New for 2016, 100% Design will be situated alongside London’s new contemporary decorative interiors show LuxuryMade. Heralding a new, highly selective approach to luxury design events, LuxuryMade takes place within a unique setting, some of which has been hidden from public view for over 20 years: Olympia’s Pillar Halls.
18-21 September 2016
Exploring the notion of rituals, The New Craftsmen presented four installations named ‘CraftHouse’, showcasing work by British makers – names who are set to be covetable for many years to come. Leading applied arts and design critic, Corinne Julius, curated the third edition of Future Heritage, an exciting showcase of 14 new designer-makers.
They have been chosen for their innovation and mastery across a range of craft skills from ceramics to electronics and have been creating new work especially for Decorex.
22-25 September 2015
1 Granary Square, King’s Cross
London N1C 4AA
With the support of the King’s Cross development partnership, designjunction will take over the area for its flagship show during London Design Festival. The 67- acre King’s Cross site has a rich history and a unique appeal. This former industrial heartland is being transformed into one of the capital’s most exciting destinations, with the redevelopment of the area creating 1,900 new homes, 20 new streets, 10 new public parks and squares and 3 million square feet of commercial office space as well as cultural attractions.
The theme of the 2016 Designjunction show will be ‘Immersed in Design’, with the move to the larger King’s Cross site marking the next chapter for designjunction and the creation of the King’s Cross Creative Quarter at this year’s Festival.
Transport for London’s collaboration with Vallila Interior
The new Vallila Home Collection for Transport for London (TfL) showcased at Designjunction this year, featuring graphics displaying the streets of London. TfL also exhibited past underground posters and even created a machine which transformed tweets into live messages. (Shown below)
15-25 September 2016
Oxo Tower Wharf
London SE1 9PH
Designersblock showcases multidisciplinary design from over 100 independent designers, collectives and companies. Established in 1998, Designersblock shows feature product, lighting, jewellery, ceramics and concepts from emerging and established designers, over three floors in this landmark venue.
22-25 September 2016
Old Truman Brewery
26 Hanbury Street
London E1 6QR
Ten years in the making, 2016 marks the launch of the London Design Fair, the new umbrella brand that will include both Tent London & Super Brands London. London Design Fair will host over 500 exhibitors from 29 countries, making it the most international fair of the Festival. Exhibitors include independent designers, established brands, and international country pavilions, such as 100% Norway, Portugal, China, Sweden, India and Italy all of which will be launching new products to the UK market.
18 – 23 September 2016
Focus/16 is redefining luxury in interiors, by providing the ultimate platform for established brands and new names to present the best in global talent.
Visitors can see the latest launches, engage with the industry’s top creatives, influencers and big thinkers, access specialist expertise, marvel at skilled craftsmanship at demonstrations, exchange ideas at workshops, join curated tours and trails and get privileged insights at the Conversations in Designs sessions. Don’t miss ‘Art & Interiors at Focus/16’, a curated exhibition with art that has inspired 30 international designers.
There will be seven design districts. The Brixton Design Trail is the newest district
Late night opening on Tuesday 20 September
Now in its fourth year Clerkenwell Design Quarter brings together all the multi-disciplinary components of this historical area: from showrooms and pop-ups to restaurants and bars. A new blog tour of Clerkenwell will reveal hidden studios and design gems; exclusive content, interviews and launches. The Clerkenwell Design Quarter map of the area will seamlessly guide visitors through the District, highlighting the best contemporary design along the way.
Late night opening on Tuesday 20 September.
The Islington Design District returns for its third year, bringing together a growing collection of design-led shops, showrooms and cafes in the Islington area including SMUG, Aria, twentytwentyone and Present & Correct. Visitors will be able to walk the Islington Design District Trail from Amwell Street south of Angel, through to Camden Passage and along Upper Street, to discover new designers, special product launches and one-off exhibitions and events.
The Shoreditch Design Triangle is a true celebration of the area, hosted by the creative companies who work here. Running consecutively for eight years, the event has gained a reputation as one of the largest and most exciting Festival Districts, with a host of design-led events making it possible to spend a whole day wandering around the area on foot.
17-25 September 2016
135-139 Curtain Road
The work by Piet Hein Eek will explore all aspects of the Dutch designer’s work, from a selection of his latest designs to his most celebrated furniture and an edit of smaller products.
The Mexican show takes its cue from the craftspeople and products of Oaxaca – Mexico’s southern cultural capital known for its mix of ancient tradition and thriving contemporary art scene. Having touched down in the Mexican city in May, SCP’s founder and director, Sheridan Coakley sought out a host of Mexican designers, explored the area’s bustling markets and collaborated with its craftspeople. The result is a collection of traditional and contemporary homeware products.
Ceramics in the City
23-25 September 2016
136 Kingsland Road
London E2 8EA
The Geffrye Museum’s annual celebration of ceramics returns in September, bringing together the work of 55 potters from across the UK in a riot of colour, style, texture and technique. More details .
Enlightened Design, Connecting the Dots
22-25 September 2016
4 Princelet Street
Open daily from 10am – 8pm, Sunday from 10am – 6pm
An intriguing terrace house, eight Dutch designers: Enlightened Design presents an intimate exhibition that
explores light, time and lightness.
Time takes a leap of almost three centuries: in an authentic Georgian house, eight Dutch designers will exhibit their most recent work.
Designers include Jolanda van Goor, Bo Reudler, Morgan Ruben, Femke van Gemert and Maarten Olden. Natural materials, repurposed techniques and imperfection are some of the themes covered in their work.
Maker Mile Tours
Maker Mile is one square mile of maker spaces, studios, shops, galleries and workshops running along Mare street between Bethnal Green and London Fields stations. Tours will give a unique opportunity to look behind the scenes and will also include the Fix Our City Exhibition at Machines Room.
Late night opening on Thursday 22 September 2016
After a successful debut, the Bankside Design District returns to London Design Festival for a second year. Bankside is one of two Design Districts south of the river. The area has seen ongoing transformation since Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge launched in 2000. Today the area is a creative hub, home to many galleries, design studios, architect’s practices and creative agencies.
Late night opening on Thursday 22 September
In 2016, the Brompton Design District celebrates a decade as London’s most pioneering and innovative programme of contemporary design. Since 2006 Brompton has been the location for an internationally recognised series of exhibitions. Set in a historic district among a cluster of iconic design retailers and global brands, the collaboration between these businesses and the pop-up programme in empty shops and other buildings has, over time, allowed Brompton to forge its reputation as London’s leading destination for design.
FOIL at the V & A
British design entrepreneur Benjamin Hubert, of experience design agency Layer, has collaborated with iconic German brand Braun to create FOIL, an immersive installation located in the V&A’s Tapestry gallery.
The large-scale installation comprises 50,000 mirror-finish stainless steel panels on a 20-metre by 1.2-metre undulating ribbon that runs down the length of the gallery and is driven by a high-power German motor in a constant sine-wave motion. Light from LEDs reflects off the panelled surface to create a slowly morphing and evocative pattern of scattered light, moving across the walls and ceiling of the gallery. The installation is accompanied by an atmospheric soundscape that emulates the fluid motion of the sculpture and the reflected light. The shape of the metallic elements is informed by the precision engineered shape of the Braun shaver foil and the movement is inspired by the 360-degree movement of the Braun shaver head.
“The idea is to elevate and celebrate the foil finish on the next generation of Braun shavers,” says Hubert. “The shavers are industrialised consumer goods, and most people don’t appreciate the engineering that is behind individual elements. We thought it would be interesting to take inspiration from something that is often overlooked and create a highly engineered immersive experience.”
Layer chose to display FOIL in Room 94 – which is dominated by three hunting tapestries made between 1425 and 1450 – due to the gallery’s unique atmosphere. As light, humidity and temperature in the gallery are carefully controlled to protect the tapestries, visitors are immersed in a unique and emotionally engaging environment, which is enhanced by the multi-sensory installation.
“As a studio, we’re very research-based – we understand and collect insights from the world around us and translate them into the next experience to improve the everyday, usually in the form of a product,” says Hubert. “This project is particularly exciting for us as it’s our first artwork, so it’s less about conventional functionality and more about creating a heightened emotional experience. I want visitors to remember this sculptural landscape viscerally through all their senses.”
Liquid Marble at the V & A
French multi-disciplinary designer Mathieu Lehanneur invites viewers to enter into a meditative state with his work Liquid Marble, a large piece of black marble sculpted into a realistic, yet static, representation of the ocean’s movement.
Elytra Filament Pavilion at the V & A
Commissioned by the V&A as part of the V&A Engineering Season, Elytra Filament Pavilion was created by experimental architects and engineers Achim Menges, Jan Knippers, Moritz Dörstelmann and Thomas Auer.
The glass and carbon fibre canopy is inspired by the filament structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles, known as elytra, and was fabricated using a novel robotic winding technique.
Its design is inspired by lightweight construction principles found in nature, the filament structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra. Made of glass and carbon fibre, each component of the undulating canopy is produced using an innovative robotic winding technique developed by the designers. Like beetle elytra, the pavilion’s filament structure is both very strong and very light – spanning over 200m2 it weighs less than 2,5 tonnes.
Elytra is a responsive shelter that will grow over the course of the V&A Engineering Season. Sensors in the canopy fibres will collect data on how visitors inhabit the pavilion and monitor the structure’s behaviour, ultimately informing how and where the canopy grows. During a series of special events as part of the Engineering Season, visitors will have the opportunity to witness the pavilion’s construction live, as new components are fabricated on-site by a Kuka robot.
Breathless: The Essence of Glass at the V & A
The Breathless exhibition, organised by Czech Centre London, was the product of DECHEM Studio’s unrelenting passion for glass and the interest in the unconventional presentation of art and design.
The exhibition began with a tour of the V&A’s glass section, giving a good guide of the evolution of glass in design; principally used in Churches and for homes, then evolving into art forms with particular focus on 20th century glass design.
The exhibition ended with a live glass blowing performance, where visitors could see the process of producing glass.
Read our article on our experience:
Late Night opening: Friday 23 September 2016
Brixton Design Trail is back for 2016 as London Design Festival’s newest Design District, supported by Brixton BID and Lambeth Council. Under a theme of Rebel Rebel, the Trail will pay homage to the enduring influence of one of the world’s design icons, David Bowie, a Brixton local who redefined the boundaries of creativity and identity. The eclectic line-up of events will shine a spotlight on the distinct character of Brixton’s creative community against a backdrop of increasing homogeneity in urban centres.
Chelsea has the largest and most diverse concentration of established interiors specialists in London, making it the city’s centre for interior design. Chelsea Design Quarter unites some of the capital’s most vibrant showrooms and creative communities all within a stroll along the King’s Road, Lots Road, and Imperial Wharf. This year, CDQ Partners are staging a fantastic programme of design-led activities, including high-profile talks, exhibitions, and artisan demonstrations.
17-25 September 2016
Wharf Building, Portobello Dock
344 Ladbroke Grove
Established in 2002, Tom Dixon is on a mission to design, illuminate and furnish the future with innovative lighting, furniture and accessories of longevity, simplicity and a materiality inspired by Britain’s unique heritage. New collections of lighting and furniture are launched bi-annually at the Milan Salone and London Design Festival with product sold across 65 countries. In 2012 our new accessories range launched, a collection of accessories, gifts and design objects. New collections are shown biannually at Maison et Objet in Paris.
Tom Dixon is an internationally renowned British Designer. Infamously ‘self-taught’, Tom rose to prominence in the mid 1980’s going on to work for global design giants including Italian brand, Cappellini. He set up the Tom Dixon brand in 2002, creatively directing the lighting and furniture brand and also Design Research Studio, the interior design practice within the business, specializing in high concept interiors, large scale installations and architectural design. In 2000 Tom’s work was recognised by the award of an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen