March's unmissable design events:from the Ideal Home Show at Olympia to Greenwich Peninsula's Urban Village Fete

From a free trendy homeware fete run by Wayne Hemingway to a student showcase at London’s Royal College of Art, there's plenty to keep Londoners busy this month... 

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1. MIES VAN DER ROHE & JAMES STIRLING: CIRCLING THE SQUARE

March 8-June 25 at The Architecture Gallery, RIBA, 66 Portland Place, W1

German-born American architect Mies van der Rohe, a high priest of modernism, never built in the UK. However, commissioned by developer Peter Palumbo, he submitted plans for a 19-storey amber glass tower, pictured above, for Mansion House Square, between 1962 and his death in 1969. After much planning debate, his scheme was rejected in 1985.

James Stirling and Michael Wilford & Associates then took over. Their No.1 Poultry was completed in 1997, two years after Stirling’s untimely death.

The story of the two schemes, told at RIBA with photos, documents and models, spans three decades of the mid-20th century, when high modernism, post-modernism and even Pop Art jostled for architectural prominence.

An imaginative programme of events includes talks, debates, films and curator’s tours. There’s a free “Less is a bore?” late-night party on March 28, a James Stirling jazz night on April 25, architectural photography workshops and lots for families.


2. SAMPLE URBAN VILLAGE FÊTE

March 4-5 at Gateway Pavilion, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10

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Another cracking event from design activist Wayne Hemingway, which typically will be fun, friendly, trendy, and free.

Snap up new fashion, art and homewares, with one-offs, prototypes and samples from London’s hottest young designers and makers, plus established brands.

Demos and workshops include wine tasting, textile printing, and perfume blending. Plus food stalls, craft beer, and a pop-up record store.

Don’t miss an art installation of 10,000 upside-down irises on copper threads in the Now Gallery. We like textile designer Lara Gorlach’s edgy abstract patterns, pictured.


3. IDEAL HOME SHOW

March 24-April 9 at Olympia, W14

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Revolutionary in every sense of the word, a rotating home is the star attraction here. “Yes, we are literally turning design on its head,” says its Sussex-based maker William Hardie, who developed a concept by George Clarke of TV show Amazing Spaces.

A huge aluminium drum has a fixed bathroom/control room at the back. This can activate the three metre cube in front, which rotates on its own axis, floors becoming walls/ceilings, for a living room, kitchen and bedroom, with pop-out furniture and fittings.

New for 2017 is the Eat & Drink Festival, pictured, showcasing Britain’s top artisan producers, leading street food vendors, chefs and mixologists.

Also on view are “property ladder” flats kitted out for the first-time buyer, the young family and the elderly couple. Elsewhere, the Gadget Lab has latest tech, and two theatres provide constant DIY demos and talks. Tickets £11-£21; under-15s go free.


4. THE SPRING KNITTING & STITCHING SHOW

March 2-5 at Olympia, Hammersmith Road, W14 

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Can you sew or knit? Or would you like to? This huge textile art, craft and design event is for experts and newbies alike.

Expect more than 170 workshops, talks and drop-in sessions with textile aficionados, artists and tutors. Enjoy exhibitions and gallery tours, and shop the specialists to fill your workbasket.

We love this quilt, pictured, by young Londoner Harriet Riddell, who takes her sewing machine all over the world and stitches what she sees on the spot.

*Show this paper or website printout at the door to get two tickets for the price of one.


5. HIDDEN

March 10-17 at the Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, Battersea, SW11

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London’s Royal College of Art was ranked top university for art and design worldwide in 2015 and last year. Part of its strength is its dedicated technicians, mostly practising artists and designers.

This show puts 40 of them in the spotlight. “They are the backbone of our degree course,” says show curator, Ailsa Sinclair.

The intriguing mix includes Finnish London-based textile artist Jonna Saarinen who screen prints her own textiles at home. Here, she shows new large-scale prints and drawings.

Also see sleek and super-modern handblown glass by Liam Reeves, lamps including the Crane Lamp, pictured, by Ben Beanland, and huge animal photo-prints by Simon Ward.


6. MADE LONDON 

Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14

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This new event will see a warm and cosy pavilion built for two successive  batches of 60 contemporary designers/makers. "And it will be interiors heaven - furniture, glass, ceramics, textiles and more," promises organiser Anne-Marie Shepherd. 

Find also art, jewellery and fashion. Meet the makers, buy on the spot or discuss a commission.

Prices start at £20 for a pair of earrings, up to £1,000s for bespoke handmade furniture. 

Pick up an Art Map and explore surrounding   sculptures and art - there are 65 of them.  And you'll be surrounded by 300 shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.

We love furniture by Edward Johnson,  hand-painted Reptile Tiles, and glass by Michele Oberdieck 


7. Midcentury Modern

Midcentury Modern, Dulwich College, London SE21 7LD

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Dulwich College will play host to 65 of Europe's finest vintage dealers and 25 hot, modern designers with prices ranging from £10 to £10,000.

Buyers can choose from furniture, vintage and contemporary textiles, travel posters, ceramics, glassware and lighting.

Tickets are £10 on the door on the day but can be bought online for £9 in advance. 


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