A bastion of British eclecticism, London has long been heralded as one of the world’s design capitals. Whether you’re talking about fashion and floristry or fabrics and furniture, it is a city in which seemingly disparate schools of architecture, engineering and artistry converge to achieve great beauty, and it’s these successes that are celebrated each September during London Design Festival (LDF).
Now in its 15th year, the nine-day-long event comprises more than 400 events, exhibitions and installations – including those from the likes of Ross Lovegrove, Camille Walala and Flynn Talbot – here’s our list of what not to miss. And if you’re not going to be in the UK capital yourself, follow our adventures on Instagram @homejournal.
Now in its 23rd year, 100% Design showcases more than 400 UK and international brands across five different sectors: interiors, the workplace, kitchens and bathrooms, design and build, and emerging brands. The 2017 edition, which runs from 20 to 23 September at Olympia London, will explore the theme of Elements, with a Design in Detail installation curated by design journalist Max Fraser.
One of LDF's leading initiatives has been highlighting the design personalities of nine different districts in the British capital, with each area boasting an exciting series of events, exhibitions and installations to showcase what makes it unique. Explore the aesthetic identities of Bankside, Brixton, Brompton, Chelsea, Clerkenwell, Islington, Mayfair, Pimlico and Shoreditch, and discover exactly how London's composite parts make it such a vibrant destination for design as a whole. Pictured is Restoration Station, which runs furniture restoration workshops for people in recovery and will be working with designer Yinka Ilori as part of Shoreditch Design Triangle.
Camille Walala: Villa Walala
The appeal of Camille Walala's bold, bright and inherently joyful aesthetic is irresistible. Inspired by the Memphis movement of the 1980s, the geometric graphics of the Ndebele tribe and artist Victor Vasarely, the textile design-graduate has evolved from fabric to apply her powerful patterns to everything from commercial interiors to large-scale urban installations. Tasked with conceiving the Landmark Project for LDF 2017, Camille has created an enormous inflatable sculpture called Villa Walala at Exchange Square in Broadgate for people to interact with, enjoy and, inevitably, Instagram.
Reflection Room by Flynn Talbot
As LDF's hub, each year the Victoria & Albert Museum hosts a number of events and exhibitions. One of the highlight's for 2017 is Reflection Room, an immersive installation by artist and designer Flynn Talbot that uses orange and blue lighting and reflective panels to draw attention to the architectural framework of the space that it occupies.
Celebrating its 40th year in 2017, Decorex International is one of the superlative luxury design fairs in the world. Taking place from 17 to 20 September at the spectacular Syon Park, a heritage estate that some might recognise from the likes of Downton Abbey, it celebrates the past, present and future design.
Transmission by Ross Lovegrove
Iconic British industrial designer Ross Lovegrove needs little introduction. Famed for his organic aesthetic that exists somewhere between the natural and technological worlds, he has conceived an enormous and interactive installation within the Tapestries room at the Victoria & Albert Museum called Transmission. Sinuous and serpentine-like in its physicality, the huge sculpture invites viewers to experience their environment from a different perspective.
Occupying a sprawling site at King's Cross, designjunction is one of the most innovative design fairs at LDF, presenting more than 200 global brands across the furniture, accessory, material and technology sectors. From 21 to 24 September, expect pop-up shops and installations of varying sizes, as well as the inaugural Rado Star Prize UK, which heralds the next generation of your British designers working in interior, industrial and technology design.
From 17 to 22 September the design world convenes at Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour for six days of inspiring talks, demonstrations, workshops, receptions and tours that will explore the journey that brands and designers embark on when conceiving their latest products and collections.