Take Three: Arkitexture’s Bite-Size Guide to the London Design Festival

This year’s London Design Festival is colossal, with sprawling design shows, niche showroom launches and hundreds of fringe events. Not sure where to start? Arkitexture’s editorial team has picked three must-do activities according to your design persuasions, whether you’re a trend-hunter, a craft lover or a showroom snooper.

For free

  • The Victoria & Albert Museum is LDF’s major hub, and its esteemed collections will be punctuated by several intriguing installations. Look out for Barnarby Barford’s Tower of Babel (main image), a 6m-high stack of china shopfronts, with the gritty corner shops on the bottom, and the luxury boutiques at the top. V&A, Cromwell Road, 19-27 September
  • Somerset House is a new venue for this year’s LDF, its refined surroundings promising to be the perfect foil for cutting-edge contemporary design. Its West Wing will host installations by 10 top designers, including Faye Toogood, who is concocting a surreal drawing room, and Alex Rasmussen, who is filling a room with a ‘wave’ of anodised aluminium panels. Somerset House, 21-27 September
  • Tom Dixon is taking over The Old Selfridges Hotel (no longer a hotel but an events space) for an entire month to present Multiplex. It promises to be an “immersive, multi-sensory department store of tomorrow” exploring how retail might look in the future (fun, hopefully). 1 Orchard Street, 18 September-15 October
LDF 2015 Article Faye Toogood

Fay Toogood’s Drawing Room, part of a show of ten designer installations in the West Wing of Somerset House

For showroom-snoopers

  • Clerkenwell’s Viaduct will be showcasing new Scandinavian designers. The show, White on White, features the likes of Studio Vit and MA/U Studio. Expect blonde wood, lots of monochrome, and a cool minimalist aesthetic. 1-10 Summers Street, 17-26 September
  • French-born, London-based designer Camille Walala, whose ‘tribal pop’ style is heavily influenced by the Memphis postmodernists, will be launching an exclusive homewares collection at Islington design store Aria. Barnsbury Street
  • Among Chelsea Design Quarter’s highlights is a look at the 15-year collaboration between designer Paul Smith and The Rug Company, with brand-new products plus a few classics showing at the latter’s King’s Road showroom. 555 King’s Road, 19-27 September
LDF 2015 article MA U RIG

MA/U Studio: the Danish brand is showing at Viaduct’s White on White Nordic design show

For trend-hunters:

  • 100% Design has a special section dedicated to new talent, Emerging Brands. Discover the next big thing among the exhibitors, which include Pam Weinstock, a photographer and designer presenting homewares featuring kaleidoscopic, digitally manipulated images. Olympia, 23-26 September
  • Designersblock is a show that’s always a reliable bet for the new and the avante-garde. This year it’s at the Bargehouse, part of Oxo Tower on the South Bank. You won’t be able to miss the work of Silkfelt, which makes shaggy, surreal sculptures from wool, silk and soap. Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank, 24-27 September
  • Discover the art of colour prediction with Dulux at Tent London. As well as a gallery hosting work by designers that interprets the colours for 2016, the paint brand will host a talk on ‘Colour Futures’ 
on Friday 25 September at 3pm, where it will introduce the 2016 Colour of the Year and offer insights behind the forecasting process. Old Truman Brewery, 24-27 September
LDF 2015 Article Pam Wienstock textiles

Designer and photographer Pam Weinstock, showing as part of 100% Design’s Emerging Brands section

For sheer luxury:

  • Iconic Venetian textile house Rubelli will launch its first-ever furniture collection at FOCUS/15. The 40 pieces include seating beautifully upholstered in Rubelli fabrics, and Rationalist-inspired furniture in glass, leather and glossy ebonised wood. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, 20-25 September
  • Lust after bespoke carpet makers Veedon Fleece’s new designs Decorex, which include Summer Fantasia, a riot of colour in silk resembling marbled fabric. Syon Park, 20-23 September
  • Mallett Antiques celebrates 150 years in business by transforming its 18th-century premises into The Design House, mingling three contemporary design brands (silversmiths Tane, wallpaper firm Calico and Italian jewellers Pomellato) with its own fine collections. Ely House, 37 Dover Street, 21-26 September
LDF 2015 article Rubelli BARBACAN

Rubelli’s Barbacan chair, part of the textile house’s first-ever furniture collection

For those who want to see something made:

  • Check out the ‘micro production spaces’ at Ó, the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s show at Tent London. Craftspeople will demonstrate techniques such as ceramics, woodworking and printing, including weaving by Mourne Textiles. Truman Brewery, 24-27 September
  • As part of design showroom Viaduct’s LDF offering, it will be giving over some space for father-and-son Spanish designers Joan and Xavier Mañosa of Apparatu to throw pots, plates and other tableware; a table featuring their work will be set, with free tapas by Spanish chef Pepi de Boissieu. 1-10 Summers Street, 22-25 September
  • Decorex’s ‘Making Luxury’ area will feature demonstrations from select exhibitors, including de Gournay, where you can watch its master painters applying beautiful designs to wallpaper. Syon Park, 20-23 September
LDF 2015 Article MourneTextiles

Mourne Textiles will bring its looms to Tent London for live weaving

 For those with design wanderlust:

  • Head to Tent sister show Super Brands for Design in Southern Italy, where the offerings are distinctly offbeat, such as Corvasce’s cardboard furniture and playful textured vases by Kiasmo. Old Truman Brewery, 24-27 September
  • Designjunction boasts many contemporary design brands from far-flung places that might be new to you. Young Parisian design studio Adentro will show its pared-back furniture, while Rubn is a Swedish lighting company with a mid-century influence. The College, 14-24 Southampton Row, 24-27 September
  • The trend for soft furnishings continues to be globe-trotting eclecticism. Head to Sanderson’s showroom at FOCUS/15 for a first look at Sojourn, its latest collection, inspired by Indian chintz, Balinese ikats and Central Asian suzanis. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, 20-25 September
LDF 2015 article Sanderson Sojourn Weaves

Sojourn, Sanderson’s globe-trotting new collection, launching at FOCUS/15

For classicists:

  • Sir John Soane’s Museum’s stand at Decorex will feature a cornucopia of classical products from the likes of fireplace experts Chesney’s and Hector Finch lighting. The display has been curated by veteran designer David Mlinaric and decorative arts expert Joanna Bird, so it’s sure to stand out. Syon Park, 20-23 September
  • Learn more about the classical world’s place in contemporary design during a talk at FOCUS/15. The expert panel – interior designers Tim Gosling and Edward Bulmer, and architect Francis Terry – between them have a wealth of experience. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, Sunday 20 September, 3pm
  • Head to upmarket tableware specialist Thomas Goode to check out its new designs, which include a collaboration with Herend, inspired by the 19th-century architecture of the brand’s showroom, and re-editions of neoclassically styled work by Gio Ponti. 19 South Audley Street, 19-26 September

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