London Design Festival guide 2016:the best parties, talks, designers and make-it-yourself workshops

Get the lowdown on the annual event that celebrates London as the design capital of the world...

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Meet a robot, blow glass and take a tour on foot or by bike, as design comes to life all over town for nine exciting, innovative days of the 14th annual London Design Festival, from this Saturday to September 25 with more than 400 events. There are designers to meet, demos, talks, parties and make-it-yourself workshops.

A hang-out hub for the whole festival is Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, with wifi, sofas and food. A panel will discuss hybrid designs that burst boundaries of art, craft, tech, factories and bespoke (free; book at

Meet Max Lamb, creator of stone furniture, or use the pop-up office set up bySwiss furniture brand Vitra, with workstations, sofas, wifi and free coffee at 4 Holywell Lane, EC2 (September 19, 21-23;

Party nights around the seven design districts include Brixtopia in St Matthew’s Peace Garden, SW2 on September 23 for installations, music and food (

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On September 21, Granary Square in King’s Cross has DJ’s and street food, while Heal’s offers free drinks in Tottenham Court Road, where workshops and demos include leather embossing and plate decorating.

Those robots are at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington on September 22, “growing” the threaded canopy of the Elytra Filament Pavilion. Meet the project’s architect, Achim Menges, at noon.

The V&A has a festival info desk and free “drop-ins” for tours, talks and workshops. Meet French designer Mathieu Lehanneur at his Liquid Marble installation, and quiz London designer Benjamin Hubert about Foil, his 20-metre kinetic installation.

Connect with kinetics:Benjamin Hubert designed Foil, a 20-metre V&A installation

The Global Design Forum is filling a V&A lecture theatre with star speakers such as architect Alison Brooks and designer Patricia Urquiola. Buy tickets at globaldesign A late night at the V&A, until 10pm on Friday September 23, opens a digital design weekend with music, a bar and café.

Meet new and established designers from September 22-25 at London Design Fair in east London, and designjunction in King’s Cross. Lighting supremo Tom Dixon will host a “harvest festival” at The Dock, 555 Harrow Road, W10 on September 20. 


The festival is best explored on foot - there are special maps, and serendipity is guaranteed. 

A walking tour of Brixton Design District is on September 24.

A cracking good amble around south-east London studios is on the festival's last weekend - designer sessions include weaver Eleanor Pritchard ( Or you can walk the Maker's Mile in the East ( for art, design, tech and maker spaces - including visiting Bert & May’s barge of design, in collaboration with designer homewares shop Darkrooms. Bert & May, 67 Viner Street, E2 9DQ.

A talks programme suggests design solutions to future world problems. At the new London Design Biennale, open now at Somerset House (book at, hear Alice Rawsthorn, former Design Museum director, expand the themes of her book Hello World: Where Design Meets Life, at 7.30 on Thursday 15 September. Designer Brodie Neill reveals his harvest of marine plastic waste and how to use it, also on 15 September.

At The Goldsmiths’ Centre in Clerkenwell, you can explore the future of design and craft (

Join in: RA Fellow and printmaker Justine Ellis will help you design and print your own tote bag

Join in free live glass blowing with Czechmaestros at The Garage, 1 North Terrace, SW3 on September 21 and 23 (register at, while at the Crafty Fox Market on 17 & 18 September at The Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9, RA Fellow and printmaker Justine Ellis will help you design/print your own tote bag (£8;

Or make a chandelier from straw and wool with Polish artist Karolina Merska (£60; book at

Oliver Bonas has a marbling workshop on September 22 and on September 24, make and design a Brixton chocolate bar (

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