British design tops the bill at the London Design Festival, opening on Saturday September 13 and running until September 21, with more than 300 events. Do the shows and parties, check out the products, chat with designers, bone up on technology, sit in on seminars — and rejoice that shopping and eating are also high on the agenda.
“London’s now hardwired for design,” says Mayor Boris Johnson, while festival director Ben Evans adds: “Look how many international designers have now decamped to London. We are truly a global centre for design.”
For the duration of the festival, design events are spread across the capital, from posh Chelsea showrooms (chelseadesignquarter.co.uk) to the fashionably mean streets of Shoreditch — visit shoreditchdesigntriangle.com and don’t miss cultural shenanigans in the trendy Ace Hotel.
In South Kensington (bromptondesigndistrict.com), the Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting multiple activities. Meanwhile, see contemporary craft at Mint and build your own bike at Squint — they are side by side in secluded North Terrace, SW3.
Collaboration: Benjamin Hubert with his Talma compact lounge chair for Moroso
Clerkenwell’s architecture and design film festival is free at 15 venues from September 15 to 19 (clerkenwell designquarter.com). And even the godmother of Italian design, Patrizia Moroso — with an outpost for her family furniture firm in Rosebery Avenue, EC1 — is mounting a love-in for London in their two-floor showroom.
Six star London-based designers have done photo shoots in their favourite London locations, while a festival set-piece in Trafalgar Square will parade British eccentricity to 150,000 no doubt bemused tourists each day next week. Four so-called “homes” are idiosyncratic — and over-conceptual — takes on domesticity by London designers, from a pigeon-fancier’s pad to a riot of kaleidoscopic pattern. But you couldn’t live there (September 18 to 22; see londondesignfestival.com).
Fabulous floors: aqua sea rug and rectangles rug, from £595, by Sonya Winner, showing at Tent London
ESTABLISHED BRANDS WITH NEW LOOKS
Elsewhere, many weighty British brands have had a makeover, following long, hard slogs at the design coalface, notably Anglepoise, newly energised by two veteran Sirs — Paul Smith and Kenneth Grange. Enjoy a Gulliver moment under the giant version of their famously coiled-spring lamps.
And those London-made Kaymet anodised aluminium trays/trollies from the Fifties and Sixties are riding the retro wave, reissued in fashionable colours, and selling out everywhere from New York to Seoul (kaymet.co.uk).
Catch these brands and more at thedesignjunction.co.uk from September 18 to 21 at the Sorting Office, New Oxford Street, WC1.
Lifestyle store boss: Lizzie Evans of Smug in Camden Passage (left); Anglo-Italian show: Ross Lovegrove with his stackable diatom chair for Moroso (right)
Graham & Brown, Blackburn’s family décor firm, shows its New Wave wallpaper collection by 13 new designers at Tent in Brick Lane. Get two tickets for the price of one with readers’ code ES241 at tentlondon.co.uk.
Younger labels will be enjoying a well-earned swagger, having put in many years of hard work and personal finance. Ebullient entrepreneur Paul Newman of Case Furniture in Clapham (casefurniture.co.uk) is updating Robin and Lucienne Day’s iconic Fifties chair for the 100% Design exhibition at Earls Court, from September 17-20.
Room for two: Tord Boontje in his Shadowy lounge chair
Another must-do for Day fans is a spread of unique design goodies at Twentytwentyone in River Street, EC1, from the Days’ very own home, from September 17-21 (twentytwentyone.com).
And you can meet the Days’ daughter Paula at the V&A on September 16.
TAKE A BATH IN THE STREET
Charismatic luxury leather man, Bill Amberg, is launching a vast elephant of a chair, which stars in street frolics in cobbled Lonsdale Road (queens parkdesigndistrict.co.uk). Party day is September 20.
Revival: restored vintage cocktail chair by Amy Cawson at Florrie + Bill, with Flock fabric
Share a bath on the pavement with the Water Monopoly — yes really, it’s fully plumbed in — and spot designer flags, including maverick Tom Dixon’s exploding Union Jack. Don’t miss Dixon’s own “factory sale outlet” with up to 70 per cent off lighting, in a big space at designjunction, and hear him in person on September 20 (tomdixon.net).
The Decode brand is a bullish outfit, driven by the passion of Ryan Malone, who has moved from Broadway Market to an “industrial village” in Leyton. He is at 100% Design (100per centdesign.co.uk) next week at Earls Court, SW5. I love a beautiful table lamp made entirely from hand-blown glass, called Halcyon. “It means tranquil,” says London designer Anthony Dickens.
At last London’s shops have nimbly grasped the festival design baton. You can’t miss RIBA’s Regent Street windows, where 15 architects meet fashion head on. Harrods, touting new accessories by Zaha Hadid, has a super design trail around the upgraded third floor. Heal’s is throwing a party, open to all, next Wednesday, 6pm to 9pm, with drinks, DJs, opera and furniture-making (196 Tottenham Court Road, W1; heals.co.uk). John Lewis is oozing design cred at designjunction, with a dozen new designers and loads of experts to sort out your furnishings.
Aqua Platter by Zaha Hadid: from the London-based architect’s homeware collection, at Harrods
Sheridan Coakley, entrepreneur extraordinaire, with impressive own brands, is putting on the east London style at his much-loved SCP store in Curtain Road, EC2. Remember, he took the first Britons to the Milan furniture fair in 1986.
Alongside Shoreditch Overground station is designer Donna Wilson’s Box Park “rainy day” pop-up, with almost everything knitted by London’s needling doyenne, even the clouds. Festival activists from London’s smaller boutiques include Lizzie Evans of Smug in Camden Passage who has engineered the new Islington Design District (ifeelsmug.com).
Jack Spade menswear shop: dressed for Regent St Windows Project, part of the festival
Drop into six days of free workshops at The Saturday Market Project, where you can meet Royal College of Art graduates, and practising craftsmen (73 Leonard Street, EC3; saturdaymarketproject.co.uk). Also this weekend, board a boat to Greenwich for souped-up craft in the market and local galleries (greenwichmarketlondon.com)