What's on in London, May 2017: learn about London's finest architecture and discover south-east London's best-kept design secrets

Some of London's top makers are showcasing and selling their designs all over the city this month. 

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May 13, 20, 27 and June 3 and 10, from 11.30am to 12.30pm at The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1. Visit londonsociety.org.uk/events

London is stuffed with fab buildings, such as Tate Modern’s Switch House. Further gems are in its parks and gardens. Experts chosen by The London Society explain London architecture using a scale model.

Five talks cover medieval buildings before the Great Fire; the expansion of Georgian London; grandiose Victorian architecture; the meaning of “modern” between the wars, and contemporary architecture.

Tickets for each talk are £14, or £7 for London Society members. Buy tickets for all five talks for the price of four, and get free society membership. 


Retro tableware: ceramics by Hokolo


May 12-21 in SE15, SE21, SE22, SE23, SE24, SE26 and SE27; dulwichfestival.co.uk

This potent annual mix of art, theatre, music, design and craft is wrapped up in plenty of fun. The Dulwich Festival Fair is on May 14, with another big fair in Dulwich Park on May 21, while the Love West Dulwich Fair specifically celebrates SE21 on May 20. More than 200 artists will open their doors to all from May 13-14, and May 20-21, and you can download a guide from the website. 

For interiors, discover the London Chair Collective, Brilliant Neon, concrete lights by Tim Walker, glass in the workshop of Michael Ruh, embroidered scenic cushions by Charlene Mullen, plus group shows at Cavaliero Finn and Rosa & Clara, with ceramics by Hokolo. Explore 30 artist studios in Havelock Walk, see the working pottery in Parade Mews and tour quality street art fostered by Dulwich Picture Gallery on May 14.


Ancient craft: Water bowls by Lee Hak-su


Until June 3 at the Korean Cultural Centre UK, 1-3 Strand, London, WC2. Visit kccuk.org.uk

Korea is celebrated for ceramics worldwide, and you can explore the beauty and heritage of its ancient craft in this show of 16 makers. As for the show’s title, “Serenity” reflects the work of old-established potters with traditional techniques, while “Dynamism” is the new blood trained at art schools. Work has been loaned from galleries, museums and auction houses the world over.

See a full range, from onggi — earthenware pieces for storing food, like these water bowls by Lee Hak-su — to celadon, with a grey-green glaze, to contemporary porcelain and mixed materials. Connoisseurs and ceramicists will be fascinated to see the private collection of 200 traditional tools used by Korean potters.


Fused glass: bowl by Lynn Foster


May 20-21 at Mary Ward House, 5-7 Tavistock Place, WC1; madelondon-bloomsbury.org (01903 608757)

Grade I-listed Mary Ward House is the stunning Arts & Crafts venue for the spring edition of Made London, with 120 makers in textiles, ceramics, art, glass, jewellery and more on hand to sell their work and share the secrets of its making. This fused glass bowl is by Lynn Foster of Cockpit Arts. A former “settlement” where rich Edwardians helped London’s poor, the house has a gym, theatre, drawing room, library, dining rooms and classrooms, plus a café with seating outside in a walled garden.



May 16-20, noon to 7pm at Craft Central, St John’s Square, EC1. Visit celebrationofcraftsmanship.com

Shapely solid timbers, fine veneers, precision joints and intricate inlay — here’s a taster for a much bigger celebration that takes place every August in Cheltenham, with 300 makers, mainly of furniture.

Coming to London are 35 pieces from 22 small workshops of master craftsmen and women, from Yorkshire to Cornwall and the Isle of Wight. “Their workshops, so often overlooked, are sources of rare talent,” says show organiser Jason Heap, himself an award-winning furniture designer-maker.

A date for your diary is 3pm-7pm next Tuesday, May 16, when you can meet the makers, share the secrets of their work, and maybe discuss a commission. We love the Velo chair by Jan Waterston in ash, for £2,000. Also comes in other woods.

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