The design world flocks to London this month for the big shows. The London Design Festival begins mid-month for two weeks. There will be a staggering 250-plus events, many of them free.
Focus at Chelsea Harbour is your chance to find out what’s new in fabrics, papers and more top brands. At the same time, Decorex — in a huge Chelsea tent — will showcase all the leading luxury-brand interior ideas.
London Design Festival
13 to 23 September (www.londondesignfestival.com)
The sixth London Design Festival (LDF) is bigger and better than ever. We’ll be running a full guide next week. Also, find complete listings on a revamped website, which helps plan a personal schedule.
A sensational arrival on the South Bank will be architect David Adjaye’s elegant curvy pavilion of grainy tulipwood. Enter at your leisure. Just across the river, outside Somerset House, will be another festival landmark: a glowing 8m “plank of wood”, in fact built in steel by design duo Fredrikson Stallard.
To catch the best of the festival, key areas to visit are Covent Garden, WC2; Brick Lane, E1; and the Brompton Design District, SW7. There are also seminars and events in and around the Festival Hall, SE1.
18 to 21 September, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, Warwick Road, SW5 (www.100percentdesign.co.uk). Tickets £15
This is London’s leading contemporary design trade fair, now in its 13th year. The public day is 21 September, from 11am to 6pm.
It covers furniture, flooring, lighting, kitchens and bathrooms, and much more. See design at the cutting edge from both small new outfits and bigger brands — it’s this mix that gives the show its distinctive flavour.
Back for a second successful year is 100% Futures, showcasing great new graduates from home and abroad. 100% Materials will present new inventions and old favourites for architecture, interiors, furniture, lighting, accessories and even packaging.
Open House London
20-21 September (020 3006 7008; www.openhouse.org.uk)
Free entry to 700 buildings all over town. A printed guide costs £4.50, or download one from the website for £3.50.
18 to 21 September, Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1 (www.tentlondon.co.uk). Tickets £10, free if you register online before 12 September. Children £5, under-fives free
Five linked design shows fill the huge brick warren of the Truman Brewery. Content is a modern mix of individual exhibitors, mostly launching new products. Talent Zone has the work of 15 selected graduates. Your Space presents challenging installations from groups and leading brands. Circa is “the biggest vintage event in the UK”, and the Workspace Urbantine Project (www.urbantineproject.co.uk) uses architectural salvage for “electronic idea-sharing”. The public can visit throughout.
18 to 21 September, No 1 The Piazza, WC2 (www.designersblock.org.uk). Tickets cost £5, or free with registration online before 11 September
Traditionally, Designersblock has been the LDF’s rebel element, held flamboyantly in a series of abandoned buildings around the capital. This year it has a posh home in Covent Garden but many of 60 international and British exhibitors remain enfants terribles, and 10,000sq ft of space gives them a lot of scope.
Ceramics in the City
19 to 21 September, Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, E2 (020 7739 9893; www.geffrye-museum.org.uk). Admission free
Selling fair of 40 selected ceramicists with informal demonstrations, plus craft workshops for children all weekend. Paint your own mug on 21 September, from 12.30pm to 1.30pm, or from 3pm to 4.30pm.
21 to 24 September, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, Lots Road, SW10 (020 7225 9101; www.designcentrechelseaharbour.co.uk). All-day ticket £20 on 020 7352 1900. Free on 24 September
This autumn’s biggest trade show decor festival, with all the new top-notch fabrics, papers, furniture, lighting, trimmings and accessories. It has 90,000sq ft of floor space, 300 top brands and 78 showrooms.
A free shuttle bus runs between Sloane Square Hotel and the Design Centre, via Osborne & Little and Designers Guild in the King’s Road, which are also taking part.
21 to 24 September, Royal Hospital Chelsea, SW3 (01923 690665; www.decorex.com). Tickets, £20, include a glass of champagne
This glamorous, world-famous trade show is held in a huge marquee and the public day is 23 September from 3pm to 7pm. More than 300 exhibitors will display the very latest in upmarket decoration, with a spectacular entrance lobby designed by John Stefanidis.
Festival of Food
18 to 21 September, noon to 9pm, Southbank Centre, SE1 (www.slowfoodlondon.com)
The big attraction is a Slow Food market, wrapped around David Adjaye’s LDF pavilion. More than 50 stalls will sell foods from leading UK “artisan” food producers.
Taste and buy, for example, pedigree and rare-bread meats, raw-milk cheeses, chutneys, “biodynamic” wines and real ales. Demonstrations, talks, discussions and lots of fun for children will be in a special tent. Bee Day is on 21 September, with tastings and talks — visit the Southbank Centre’s own hive on the roof of the Festival Hall (meet in the tent at 4.30pm).
East London Heritage Weekend
13 and 14 September (020 7730 9472; www.heritageoflondon.com)
Delve into historic and beautiful buildings of East London — many little known — on a special weekend Heritage Trail — organised by the Heritage of London Trust and Tower Hamlets council.
See, for example, the People’s Palace Library of Queen Mary College at London University and the marvellous Victorian interior of Wilton’s Music Hall. Also open will be St George’s German Lutheran Church in Aldgate, with its rare 18th century interior, and St John, Bethnal Green, a fine church by Sir John Soane. Also goggle at the incredible painted decorations in The Congregation of Jacob Synagogue.