London Design Festival 2016:the seven "design districts" to be transformed with shows, late-night workshops, markets and street installations

Seven arty districts across the capital are hosting workshops, markets, shows and installations for this year's London Design Festival.

The London Design Festival is divided into seven distinct “design districts”, each with its own take on the subject. They are powered by local design shops and enthusiasts, whose imagination and organisation will bring the event to life from September 17-25.

Shops will host special shows, late-night drinks and workshops, while architects and designers will offer advice at open studios, seminars, product launches and demos. The districts will showcase installations, markets, walks and happenings.

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BROMPTON DESIGN DISTRICT
Twitter: @BromptonDesign | Tube: South Kensington

The festival started in 2003 but 10 years ago, design curator/consultant Jane Withers introduced the idea of design districts. Events today are anchored by heavyweights such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art, and big brands including B&B Italia, Cassina and Kartell.

Transformation is this year’s theme. Withers explains: “We’ll turn sand into glass, s***t into furniture and crockery and vegetables into textiles.”

A spectacular installation by iGuzzini of flickering, glowing “Light Pollination” links fibre optics with 20,000 interactive LEDs. The show stopper is the mobile glass furnace from the Czech Republic.

Late night: Thursday September 22

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Islington: organiser Lizzie Evans is launching her own designs and serving homemade teas at her interiors boutique, Smug

SHOREDITCH DESIGN TRIANGLE
Twitter @ShoreditchDT | Tube: Old Street | Overground: Shoreditch High Street

The lynchpin here is SCP Designs of Curtain Road. Director Sheridan Coakley instigated the Triangle eight years ago, to link and promote the boutiques, creative studios, cafés, galleries and bars that now throng the area. A show at his airy store spotlights Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek and his beautiful “scrapwood” furniture. Also on sale is Mexican design and craft.

The Geffrye Museum is launching new work in the form of ceramics, there’s experimental design from Form & Seek, new glass from Rothschild & Bickers, and new projects from All Things Considered, a collective of eight female artists. Creative Clerkenwell brings a pop-up shop for fresh London souvenirs.

Late night: Tuesday September 20

CHELSEA DESIGN QUARTER
Twitter @chelseaquarter | Buses from Sloane Square Tube | Overground: Imperial Wharf

A glut of interior design shops throw open their doors in King’s Road, SW6-SW10. Key player is Deirdre Dyson, showing paintings that inspire her beautiful rugs. Meet her from noon on September 19 at her gallery. Find precious old Indian dhurries at Guinevere, and a light show at John Cullen. A must-see is Soak, Steam, Dream, a quixotic focus on modern communal bathing — think public saunas and spas — at the curvy Roca London Gallery, designed by the late Zaha Hadid

Late night: Monday September 19

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Clerkenwell: glassware from Alice Heaton

BANKSIDE DESIGN DISTRICT
Twitter @BanksideDesign | Tube: London Bridge, Southwark, Borough | Mainline: London Bridge, Waterloo East, Blackfriars | Riverside bus RV1 links Bankside to Covent Garden and Tower Bridge; boats call by Bankside Pier

Stretching from Borough Market to Oxo Tower, this was the festival’s first excursion south of the river last year. “Type” types will go for a sign-painting workshop, a font selfie station and a label-and-wine tasting. Artist Camille Walala will cover a pedestrian crossing with wacky graphics, while Designersblock will showcase 100 independent designers at Bargehouse Gallery from September 22-25. 

Late night: Wednesday September 21

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Islington: Molly Meg children’s store Infant Art Club is staging kinetic mobile making on September 17 for London Design Festival

ISLINGTON DESIGN DISTRICT
Tube: Angel | Buses: 19, 38, 73

Meet organiser Lizzie Evans, launching her own designs and serving homemade teas at her interiors boutique, Smug. A walkable trail is set out on a special map. Get it stamped as you go, for free drinks with food plus discounts in top local restaurants. Multiple design hits in Amwell Street include Canvas Home for a pottery demo, Blackpop for virtuoso velvets and Quill for paper flower-making.

Late night: Tuesday September 20 

BRIXTON DESIGN TRAIL
Twitter @BrixtonDT | Tube: Brixton (12 minutes from Oxford Circus) | Overground: Victoria (15 minutes)

This is the newbie. “And we’re the stand-out rebel in the pack,” says organiser Binki Taylor. Julia Nicholls, from Squire and Partners architects, says: “Our events are edgy, alternative, diverse and largely free.”

Expect open studios, talks, tours, seminars, parties, soirées, artworks and installations. A Youth Design Trail is for 16-25 year olds, and there’s a Crafty Fox Market September 17-18. Landmark is a 200-year-old inner-city windmill pattern-wrapped by local design duo Eley Kishimoto.

Late night: Friday September 23

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Brixton: windmill pattern-wrapped by Eley Kishimoto

CLERKENWELL DESIGN QUARTER
Twitter @ClerkenwellDQ | Tube: Farringdon, Barbican

“Clerkenwell exists because of design,” says marketing consultant Julienne Webster, who helped to set up Clerkenwell Design Quarter four years ago. The theme is Explore Extremes, from old to new, craft to digital, hi-tech to human scale. A huge chandelier in the Barbican is by Canadian glass master Omar Arbel, while The Goldsmiths’ Centre hosts shows, workshops and talks, and Craft Central celebrates Talent 2016. The Radicals and Revolutionaries walk melds history and design.

Late night: Tuesday September 20


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