The London Design Festival starts on September 18, 2010, with more than 240 events over nine days. Plan carefully to see the bits you want - with so much going on it needs the precision of an army manoeuvre to cover everything.
The two big shows are 100% Design and Tent London, lasting just four days and starting on September 23, 2010.
The V&A Museum in South Kensington is the official festival hub. Here you can pick up the invaluable (and still free) chunky little red guide. Or download it from londondesignfestival.com and print the pages of interest. Also use this website to plan a personal route and to check for the latest news.
The museum itself is putting on a staggering 50 events, detailed in a special map, from a lounge furnished with recycled materials to a stunning show profiling Italian design impresario Guilio Cappellini, whose eponymous family firm has brought a bevy of British designers to the market over the years, including Tom Dixon, Jasper Morrison, Barber Osgerby and, more recently, Raw Edges, a new London design partnership who are as sharp as their name implies.
In the rest of town, happenings are conveniently grouped into trendily christened "design districts". Brompton (South Kensington) is one of the busiest destinations - check it out on bromptondesigndistrict.com.
Partners this year include B&B Italia (with an extravagant new sofa), the supremely cool Skandium (launching its own furniture range) and Mint, where indefatigable owner Lina Kanafani gives designers their first break.
Professor Nigel Coates of the RCA has an anarchic take on furniture and the shop Few and Far is filled with finds from the inimitable Priscilla Carluccio (Terence Conran's sister). Amazing rubber and Murano glass chandeliers from Mediterraneo adorn the Bibendum restaurant. Other districts include Covent Garden, Clerkenwell and Fitzrovia, plus the new Shoreditch Triangle.
The must-see shows
East is where it's at for much of this year's festival, with so many venues within walking distance. Tent, under the tutelage of director Jimmy MacDonald, has become the festival's alternative wing, and is its second-largest event, with more than 200 emerging and established designers/companies from over 10 countries. Lab Craft explores digital technologies and designer-makers.
Tent Digital's giant screens, flashing lights and interactive machines trumpet the very latest technology. September 23-26, with public admission on all days. Tickets cost £10/£8 (adult); £5 (child 5-16). Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1 (www.tentlondon.co.uk).
This is the 13th edition of a show with a sharp international cutting edge. Piers Roberts and Rory Dodd, two of London's most effective design activists, have selected more than 100 designers to strut their latest stuff. Pride of place goes to Bodging Milan - the show that has come to London from Italy.
Now sleek modern versions of Windsor-style chairs, created in six days by nine contemporary designers "bodging" in the Herefordshire forest, are in production. Tickets free if you register before 22 September; £5 on the door. The Bargehouse, behind Oxo Tower, Bargehouse Street, SE1 (verydesignersblock.com).
Cool and contemporary
100% DESIGN LONDON
This is the 16th edition of the LDF's biggest event, a showcase for all aspects of cool contemporary interiors. The 400 exhibitors include 14 pavilions from countries overseas. Suss out emerging talent in 100% Futures and new technologies in 100% Materials. You can source products and attend free seminars. Latest lines will be for sale at the Hidden Art shop (hiddenartshop.com) - ideal for those autumn wedding gifts.
Trade only from September 23 to 25, 2010; public and trade on Sunday, September 26. But it's not cheap: tickets cost £15 in advance online, or £20 on the door. Earls Court 2, Warwick Road, SW5 (0844 588 8087; 100percentdesign.co.uk).
Shop until you drip with style
ORIGIN: LONDON CRAFT FAIR
The LDF's big shopping bonanza, with about 220 makers at this Crafts Council annual showcase, where the meaningful motto is "made not manufactured". Browse ceramics, paper, glass, metal, textiles, furniture and jewellery.
Dates are September 23 to 29. A single day pass costs £10/£8; a multiple day pass, with admission to Tent London, is £15/£12. Old Spitalfields Market, Spitalfields, E1 (0844 545 0062; originuk.org).
Another 50 potters are at Ceramics in the City, admission free at the Geffrye Museum, E2 (geffrye-museum.org.uk).
Tom Dixon masterminded this highly hip canalside event last year in his new HQ, and people loved it. This year's show is "Global Industry: a creative hub for design".
Moooi - a more than marginally mad Dutch brand - is opening its first London showroom, and Dixon now has his own shop.
Enjoy a plethora of installations, exhibitions, pop-up shops and cafés overlooking the Grand Union Canal from Monday to September 26. Portobello Dock; 344 Ladbroke Grove, W10 (tomdixon.net).
A new event in a disused power station that will show new design from 15 international brands and have a lively programme of talks. Empathise with Human Made, a show billed as "emotional design". Wednesday to September 26. 32 Rivington Street, EC2A (thetramshedevent.co.uk).