Over the last ten years, a number of key design exhibitions have become an integral part of the London Design Festival (LDF), taking place September 14–22, each offering an exciting mix of designers, products, talks, installations and innovations.
This year’s theme, “Design is Everywhere,” speaks to the 300+ events and exhibitions being staged by hundreds of partner organizations across the design spectrum including: designjunction, Tent London, Super Brands, Decorex International, Focus, Southbank Centre, the Dock and 100% Design.
Below is a look at some of the LDF highlights and happenings.
Decorex (September 22 – 25) is the longest-standing design and interior show during LDF. This year, the show will be held in a new location—Perks Field & The Orangery in Kensington Palace. Informed by the historic site of Kensington Palace, the theme of the show is the Silk Route, when silks, porcelain and other luxury goods were introduced to Europe. This theme is being interpreted into the design of the main entrance, this year the job of interior designer and hotelier Kit Kemp.
Over 300 companies will come together to exhibit new products ranging from contemporary, traditional and bespoke furniture to lighting, floor coverings, fabrics and wall coverings, accessories and bespoke services. Exhibitors include Amy Kent with her hand-knotted wool and silk carpets; handcrafted Moroccan tile specialist Habibi Interiors with the launch of its new range of customized panels; and Cox London with a new collection of handmade lighting and furniture designed and produced in London.
In addition, leading industry names will take center stage for Decorex seminars including Nicky Haslam of NH Design, Sara Cosgrove of The Studio at Harrods, Fameed Khalique of Fameed Khalique Ltd, Rabih Hage of Rabih Hage Studio, Angus Gibson of Symm, Alidad of Studio Alidad, Karen Howes of Taylor Howes, Joe Burns of Oliver Burns and Jeremiah Goodman, among many others.
The 1960s Postal Sorting Office in Holborn will be the backdrop for designjunction (September 18 – 22) for the second year. The show presents an edited selection of global brands and emerging companies, as well as pop-up shops, large-scale installations, eateries, flash factories, seminars and screenings. This year, organizers are placing greater emphasis on illumination with the launch of an area dedicated to high-end decorative lighting, suitably called “lightjunction.”
British producers are well-represented at designjunction with brands such as Modus, Assemblyroom, Dare Studio, Jake Dyson, Innermost, Pinch, MARKProduct and Bark Furniture joined by European manufacturers such as Zanotta, Bolon, Carl Hansen, &tradition, Laufen, Artifort, Fritz Hansen and Girsberger.
The British Institute of Interior Design will be taking part in a designjunction debate entitled Creative Luxe on Saturday, September 21. Sue Timney, BIID President, will be joined by Rodney Fitch, Charles Leon and David Trubridge in a discussion chaired by Aidan Walker looking at what determines luxury in today’s designs. The panel will touch upon the social and economic implications to creativity, discussing whether this will result in the redefinition of luxury, or its elimination altogether.
FOCUS/13 (September 22 – 25) is an annual interior design event which takes place at the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour—an established venue in West London that houses 99 showrooms with over 500 brands producing everything from fabrics, wall coverings, tiles and carpets to furniture, lighting, accessories, kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living.
This four-day event marks the start of the autumn season and a foray of new product launches are unveiled, with many of the showrooms featuring original displays and hosting bespoke events and workshops for the attending designers, architects and specifiers. Showrooms include Chaplins, Cole & Son, Creston, Harlequin, Nicholas Haslam, Poltrona Frau, Porada and Whistler Leather.
Throughout the event, international names take to the stage in a series of talks and debates that explore current interior trends as well as issues confronting the industry. Industry insider and stylist Emilio Pimentel-Reid is leading a curated tour, which brings together his round up of his favorites from across the venue.
Southbank Centre (September 14 – 22) will return to the Queen Elizabeth Hall’s brutalist undercroft for the second year with Designersblock, a buzzing showcase for talented young designers, now in its 16th London edition. New design talents are also joined by more established exhibitors as part of its Designers In Production showcase. International designers are given a platform with showcases dedicated to Swedish, Mexican and Indian design talent.
Furthermore, the Southbank Centre Shop is dedicating its window to the characterful Italian homewares brand Seletti, whilst Polish company Zieta is launching it’s new +3 range that uses a process of inflating metal into unique designs.
Now in its 7th year, Tent London (September 19 – 22) returns to the Old Truman Brewery with its showcase of home grown and overseas talent. Garnering a reputation for showcasing new ideas across multiple design disciplines, this year the show organizers have concentrated on rooting out undiscovered European talents such as Vera & Kyte, Atelier Violeta Galan, Grand, Orée, Philipp Aduatz and Tokio.
Showing alongside are UK-based established independents including Studio Jon Male, Chisel & Mouse, Suzanne Goodwin, Room39, Erica Wakerly, Bold & Noble, Inca Starzinsky, Curiousa & Curiousa and Parris Wakefield.
New for 2013, Brink is an 800-square-meter space dedicated to the best design graduates from the UK and beyond, putting them in front of a professional audience attending the show.
Sister show Super Brands London is co-located with Tent, giving international brands temporary showrooms to broaden their exposure in the UK market. Participating companies include Edra, Ligne Roset, Objekten, Munna, Surface View and Jacuzzi.
In it’s ninth year, 100% Design (September 18 – 21) will return to Earls Court to promote the best in global design and uncover emerging brands. This year's visual concept and show theme is "Creative Balance,” which was conceived by communications design agency Thomas.Matthews and provides the exhibition's visual identity and an exploration of creative process and its value in the commercial world.
New sections have been added to 100% Design including ‘Gateway,’ which provides an opportunity for early-career designers to be recognized at the show. British designer Benjamin Hubert will create the 2013 auditorium, providing a dramatic backdrop to “Talks With 100% Design.”
Confirmed speakers at 100% Design include Tom Dyckhoff, who will chair a panel debate on UK Architecture, and a session from New London Architecture with Peter Murray. Giulio Cappellini will headline Thursday’s program, with subsequent sessions including Richard Rogers, Christopher Turner and Eric Parry among others.
A major partner at LDF is the V&A Museum, which puts on numerous exhibitions and seminars throughout the week. Guests who enter through the main entrance of the V&A and immediately look up will be greeted by the 28.280 custom-made chandelier by Canada-based designer Omer Arbel.
The Clore Study Area at the V&A will host an exhibition of issues 8 -18 of Circular magazine, the award-winning collectable publication from The Typographic Circle. Work on display will include pieces from Vince Frost, Stefan Sagmeister, Alan Fletcher, North and Spin.
Dutch designers Scholten & Baijings will transform a room in the V&A into a lived-in space with a life-like (and recently deserted) dinner setting in place. The installation will challenge visitors to think differently about designed objects, which are frequently displayed on plinths or behind glass.
LDF will also collaborate with Swarovski to provide a challenge to 20 influential designers and design figures on the theme of detail. Each member of the group will select an object from the V&A’s galleries and use Swarovski lenses to magnify highlights or curiosities within its design. Amorim, the world’s largest producer of cork, will create an impactful installation at the V&A this year set to challenge existing connotations with the material.
The Endless Stair, a visually and architecturally astonishing installation, is one of the highlights of this September’s Festival, and will be taking up residence on the lawn in front of the world-renowned Tate Modern from September 13 through October.
The Dock, hosted by Tom Dixon (September 16 – 22) and sponsored by Derwent London, sees the West London canal-side estate erupt into an emporium of hyperactive creativity. Design, cuisine and commerce all champion a “Made In Britain” ethic supporting British manufacture and celebrating the art of craft, this year at the London Design Festival.
Tom Dixon launches new lighting, furniture and accessories and debuts the latest collaboration: Adidas by Tom Dixon, being shown in the UK for the very first time alongside new book Dixonary, which will be on sale.
As part of the Dock’s events, Pop-up flash markets from Etsy will be showcased as well as a live “Laser Lab” from TRUMPF, which will create and personalize stationery for free all week. The Dock Kitchen and Tart bakery are both in full swing serving lunch, dinner, afternoon tea and drinks throughout the festival.
Dutch brand Moooi presented their Unexpected Welcome collection among giant portraits and undressed manequins in Milan this past spring, and will bring it to LDF this year. Transforming the London Moooi store into a stylish assembly of colorful living quarters, new product displays, lounges, and an artistic exhibition by Erwin Olaf.
The second-annual Global Design Forum takes place September 16 -17, and is a platform for designers and industry professionals to explore and debate the issues facing design in the modern world. Key speakers attending the event this year include Peter Saville, Brent Hoberman, Jamie Hayon, Ilse Crawford, Ross Lovegrove, Sir John Hegarty and Michael Young.
The London Design Museum will also host a plethora of events and exhibitions throughout LDF. Gain insight into the Designers in Residence with a 30-minute gallery tour led by a museum curator—free with museum entry.
Designer Ross Lovegrove’s M.O.O.T (Mood of Our Time) Carbon Fiber Chair developed in partnership with Established & Sons demonstrates the diverse characteristics of carbon fiber. The M.O.O.T Chair converges structural integrity, lightness and advanced state of the art surface qualities that can be achieved today. It will be displayed in the Design Museum Atrium alongside documents revealing an insight into the design process and the technical development that went into realizing the chair.
For additional information on the London Design Festival, including hotel information, maps and guides and exact dates, times and addresses, visit the website. For additional information on exhibitions, speakers and exact schedules visit each show’s individual website.