London Design Festival

14th September 2014

By Ben Flannaghan

London Design Week kicks off this week with most events held between Wednesday 17th and Sunday 21st. Each year the London Design Festival expands with ever more workshops, shows, exhibitions and talks taking place in the capital. So if you’re near, or are already in London this week then why not take some time out and visit one of the many (often free) shows. Here I have selected some of my personal favorites that you should look out for.

If you have been reading our blog or picked up a magazine this time last year, you would know that deVOL was at 100% Design 2013. This year 100% Design kicks off on Wednesday with Philippe Starck opening the show. 100% Design is the largest trade/ public show, however Tent London is a fantastic all public show and set within the beautiful Truman Brewery. Tent London always has a really cool vibe about it with many, often smaller, companies showcasing their work. Within Tent London there is Super Brands and Super Talks, which hold seminars and discussions on Design and Design Thinking. Design Junction is always a great show in London (however in Milan this year it was a little disappointing) with quite an eclectic mix of furniture with Light Junction dedicated to the very best lighting designers. These one stop shows are all within central London, however Decorex is in the lovely Syon Park in south London. Decorex opens on Sunday 21st – Wednesday 24th with a focus on luxury brands.

design junction

These shows enable you to see tons of interesting ideas and designs, however the place I am most looking forward to going is the V&A which has 13 fantastic looking exhibitions. Two that look really good is the collaboration between BMW and Barber Osgerby called Precision & Poetry. The second is The Wish List where 10 young designers, design 10 objects for 10 award-winning Designers, such as Paul Smith and Terence Conran.

 

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For a little outside entertainment a Place Called Home, will be in Trafalgar Square in collaboration with Airbnb. The installations are about the idea of what makes a home, with four chosen designers expressing their views and ideas. The four installations are free to view from Thursday.

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If you have seen enough and would prefer to listen to a talk about design then head over to one of the Global Design Forum discussions. The programme of talks happen in different venues with a full listing here. The programme features a series of panel discussions and talks about the role of design in a sustainable future. A couple to note down are Five Ideas to Shake the World which sees five entrepreneurs pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of judges and The Masterclass Sessions which has presentations from pioneering individuals.

If you would prefer to head to an area of London and wonder around then there are five different Design Districts to choose from:

+ Brompton Design District is within walking distance of the V&A which is the hub of the festival.

+ Shoreditch Design Triangle promises to be one of the most alternative and vibrant design districts.

+ Clerkenwell Design Quarter presents an Architecture and Design Film Festival as well as numerous installations and open-shops.

+ Islington Design District is a new addition this year.

+ Queens Park District is another new addition to the London Design Festival. The highlight of this area is a flag design project by Tom Dixon, Ron Arad and Bill Amberg.

To Finish off a great London Design Festival it would have to be a nice restaurant. For this head over to the London in the Sky pop-up resturant, which suspends 22 guests 100 feet in the air while Michelin star chefs prepare food using the wonderful Smeg appliances. Read more on Smeg’s news page.

Design festivals are great fun, however if you do not have time to enduldge in it, I will be posting pictures of the highlights next week.

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