The Ultimate Guide To London Design Festival 2018

Later this month sees the capital hosting London Design Festival (LDF), the annual celebration of new launches, eye-catching installations and discovery trails. Here’s what Livingetc has bookmarked…

The annual celebration of all things design is back, and it’s bigger than ever. Spanning dozens of locations and more than 400 design exhibits and installations, The London Design Festival is the largest and most innovative design event of the year, celebrating the best of contemporary design and craft, and promoting London as the design capital of the world.

This year is LDF ‘s 16th annual celebration, taking place from September 15-23 2018. There are 11 different Design Districts, five Design Destinations and three Design Routes across town – from Decorex International at Syon Park and Designjunction at King’s Cross, to Focus/18 at Chelsea Harbour and the London Design Fair at Truman Brewery – plus installations, workshops and pavilions popping up across London. So where to start?

1. DESIGNJUNCTION

This event moves to a new venue this year on London’s South Bank and highlights include candy-like Dipping lamps by Spanish lighting supremo Marset and Czech designer Lucie Koldova’s curvaceous Chips lounge chair for TON.

Welsh designer Bethan Gray is launching her debut lighting collection at Designjunction this year and also creating a bespoke bar with whisky brand The Glenlivet.

Plus, she is unveiling a furniture collaboration with Anthropologie.

Keep your eye out for new and unfamiliar Scandinavian brands this year, especially at Designjunction, which has several in residence. Notable names include Broste Copenhagen, known for its stylish and affordable homewares; Gemla, Sweden’s oldest furniture manufacturer, which is showing its new T13 chair in ash and leather and the Vilda chair (below), and Finnish label Kiva, which will launch its Kiva shelving with integrated lighting.

Design Junction will also host various pop-up shops, including an immersive scent lab by The Experimental Perfume Club.

20-23 September; visit thedesignjunction.co.uk.

2. FOCUS/18

Fabric, furniture and wallpaper aficionados, get down to the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour to catch first glimpse of launches from over 600 high-end brands, as well as a programme of talks, tours and workshops.

Exuberant colour is a major trend at Focus/18 this year. Pierre Frey’s bold, multicoloured Double Jeux embossed vinyl wallpapers (including the multicoloured Plein Été, below) sum up the mood, while Jean Monro’s Lustmore fabric, a design of foxgloves on linen, sees the brand experiment with vibrant shades.

See More: FOUR REASONS TO ADD FOCUS/18 TO YOUR SEPTEMBER CALENDAR

Textiles inspired by past heroes are also a recurring feature at Focus/18. Romo’s Gardenia collection is based on the work of botanical illustrator Alfred Wise, while Schumacher’s Fashion Forward wallpapers and fabrics (below) at Turnell & Gigon recreate 1930s patterns by fashion designer Paul Poiret.

Meanwhile, London-based artist Moritz Waldemeyer has created an interactive lighting installation for this year’s event. Inspired by coronas, it will incorporate LED technology and will change colour as visitors move past it, projecting hues from the latest collections.

Rubelli turns the spotlight on 1950s design with its latest furniture. The Cinecitta range by architect Marco Piva is inspired by the glamour of Italian cinema, while the Triennale sofa (below) is named after Milan’s design museum.

British designer Michael Angove unveils his Living Wall tile collection for Artisans of Devizes at Focus. On 19 September from 10am-2pm, there’s the chance to see him at work in the Artisans of Devizes showroom.

16-21 September; visit dcch.co.uk.

3. DECOREX

From 16-19 September, Decorex at Syon Park hosts a wealth of design launches, with over 400 stands of new furniture, craft and textiles.

Visit decorex.com.

4. LONDON DESIGN FAIR

Held at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, the London Design Fair has exhibitors from 36 countries and 13 national pavilions. Look out for Korea, Japan and Finland, as well as designs from Chinese designer Mario Tsai (below). Among the home-grown launches, you’ll see pottery by Bikis Ceramics and Christabel Balfour’s rugs at the British Craft Pavilion.

Among the home-grown launches, there’s 1970s-style pottery from Bikis Ceramics and Christabel Balfour’s architecture-inspired rugs at the British Craft Pavilion.

20-23 September; visit londondesignfair.co.uk.

5. 100% DESIGN

Emerging talent is the theme with two new exhibitions, 100% Futures and 100% Forward. The first celebrates London studios, while the latter highlights the work of eight new designers, including Daniel Schofield.

19-22 September; 100percentdesign.co.uk.

6. BRIXTON DESIGN TRAIL

Head to SW9 to see Paste, RCA graduate Christopher Riggio’s ceramic installation at recently redeveloped local landmark The Department Store (below).

Another highlight will be The Eco Cube by Upcircle Studio on Atlantic Road – a pavilion showcasing a variety of locally made, sustainable crafts.

15-23 September; visit brixtondesigntrail.com.

7. CDQ

A diverse group of showrooms are taking part in this year’s design trail: head to Tom Faulkner for new handmade furniture and a collaboration with bespoke materials expert Rupert Bevan; Roca London Gallery for an exhibition on smart cities and new London architecture; and Go Modern for the latest European design by Bonaldo, Mogg and Saba Italia (below).

Visit chelseadesignquarter.co.uk.

8. LONDON DESIGN BIENNALE

The second edition of this event at Somerset House has new design from six continents. The theme is Emotional States, so expect a variety of work that explores how design affects our state of mind. Among the nations and regions contributing are Colombia, Latvia and Hong Kong (below).

4-23 September; visit londondesignbiennale.com.

9. MARYLEBONE DESIGN DISTRICT

A new addition for this year’s festival, the Marylebone area boasts big stores such as Selfridges alongside independent boutiques like David Mellor and Another Country. All three will be taking part, as well as many other retailers staging a mix of workshops, demonstrations and launches.

19-23 September; marylebonedesigndistrict.com.

10. BROMPTON DESIGN DISTRICT

Brompton design district This area is a hub of big-name brands showing new collections – B&B Italia, Kartell and Cassina to name but three. Don’t miss a show by London-based Mexican designer Fernando Laposse (below) at 199 Brompton Road, showing his sustainable Totomoxtle veneer made from Mexican corn.

Visit londondesignfestival.com.

11. BANKSIDE DESIGN DISTRICT

There are plenty of reasons to head to Bankside this year, including typography studio Type Tasting’s workshops exploring the story of fonts, civilisation and gin; sign-writing workshops courtesy of Better Letters’ pop-up graphics school; and a talk at the Globe theatre on its new visual identity.

Visit londondesignfestival.com.

12. PIMLICO ROAD DESIGN DISTRICT

Don’t miss the talk between interior designer Tom Bartlett and fabric doyenne Bernie de Le Cuona, whose new showroom is on Pimlico Road.

20 September, 10am; book free tickets at londondesignfestival.com.

13. VANDERHURD X ADAM BRAY

Rug designer Christine Van Der Hurd has teamed up with interior decorator Adam Bray to put a new spin on the traditional Moroccan rug. Featuring a bright border framing a swathe of natural wool or hemp, the rug is aimed at cool, urban interiors and will launch at Van Der Hurd’s Portobello Road studio.

Visit vanderhurd.com.

14. THE ECO TOWNHOUSE AT SKANDIUM

Ethical design is the theme at the Nordic design store, with products that exhibit high levels of ‘ethical commitment’. Two brands take the lead in designing the exhibition: Skagerak and Danish storage specialist Montana, which has enlisted architect Helena Laursen to decorate two floors in its signature bold colour palette.

Visit skandium.com.

15. OBSERVATORY AT LEE BROOM

The designer will transform his Shoreditch showroom for the UK launch of his stellar-inspired Observatory collection, which plays with spherical forms and light reflections.

The range includes the Eclipse design with its mirrored disc forms and Lens Flair, which incorporates prismatic lens glass for diffused illumination.

Visit leebroom.com.

16. DONNA WILSON POP-UP SHOP

The Scottish designer is celebrating 15 years in business with a raft of events near her Shoreditch studio.

On Charlotte Road, there’s a pop-up shop with pieces from the AW18 collection and there will be 15 events in total, including workshops and talks.

There’s a pop-up shop on Charlotte Road featuring pieces from the new AW18 collection, including Wilson’s famous knitted creatures, blankets, cushions and ceramics. There will be workshops, talks and collaborations with designer friends.

From 17-22 September; visit donnawilson.com.

17. ORIGINAL BTC x SUPERFRONT COLLAB

We love a collab and LDF often comes up trumps. One of this year’s best is from Original BTC Lighting and Superfront, a Swedish brand  is known for creating rather lovely mix-and-match handles and legs which all work cleverly with Ikea cabinetry.

Davey Lighting Pillar lights from £419

Lighting and handles are often hard to visualise inout of context but these two brands show how together they can create something that blends Chelsea Harbour chic, Shoreditch style and Stockholm ingenuity.

18. HEAL’S

The London store celebrates women designers, architects and cultural figures during LDF with a series of window displays featuring designs by notable figures – from Jessie Burton, Jacqueline Rabun, Marina Diamandis and Annie Sloan to Melissa Hemsley.

Jessie Burton

Plus, visitors will be able to see the new AW18 collection, which includes midcentury-inspired cushions and throws by British designer Eleanor Pritchard.

Visit heals.com.

19. V&A INSTALLATIONS

Unmissable events abound at this LDF hub. The MultiPly pavilion in the Sackler Courtyard is a collaboration between Waugh Thistleton Architects, the American Hardwood Export Council and ARUP that explores the global housing crisis.

Memory & Light (below) is a sound installation by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, which will take over the Norfolk House Music Room.

Set up by curator Jane Withers and publisher Charles Asprey, The London Fountain Company aims to revive the tradition of drinking fountains and reduce plastic bottle usage. It has enlisted designer Michael Anastassiades to create a prototype (below) for the V&A’s John Madejski garden.

15-23 September; visit londondesignfestival.com.

20. DE SEDE AT HARRODS

To celebrate the opening of its shop-in-shop at Harrods, Swiss heritage brand de Sede is presenting a new range of furniture, rugs and indoor-outdoor designs. The most spectacular is surely the DS-1000 daybed in quilted brown leather and gold metal – an exclusive finish for Harrods.

Visit harrods.com; desede.com.

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