Welcome back from your holidays dear readers, and here at Arkitexture we do hope you’re ready for the start of the design season. A quick recap of the delights on offer: September brings Paris Design Week, MAISON&OBJET, London Design Festival, Decorex, 100% Design, DesignJunction and FOCUS/15, plus Habitare in Finland. Look out too for Brussels Design September, Vienna Design Week, Belgrade Design Week and biennials in Göteburg, Lyon and Istanbul. For your viewing pleasure check out Open House London, a chance to check out some of the city’s best buildings.

There’s also a scattering of antiques fairs and a soupcon of building expos, not to mention a superb exhibition at Tate Modern – but the focus is distinctly on design.

Architecture and building

It’s a quiet month for the building trade. Bauen & Modernisieren in Zurich (3-6 September) focuses on building modernization. For Arch in Prague (15-19 September) is a large international building fair. Landscape in London, held during the plethora of design fairs in the city (22-23 September) features manufacturers and suppliers of everything from cut flowers and vases through to pots and flagstones, conservatories and water features.

Architecture lovers shouldn’t miss the annual Open House London (19-20 September) the capital’s most comprehensive – and free – festival of architecture and design. The buildings you can visit range from the city’s most iconic landmarks, like the Royal Academy’s Burlington House, to strikingly contemporary design like Roca London Gallery.  And if you’ve ever wondered how the Crossrail project is getting along, this is your chance to have a nose. Proving that London isn’t the only city in the UK (as if we ever had a doubt) Oxford Open Doors (12-13 September) showcases the City of Dreaming Spires’ most wonderful architectural pieces – contemporary as well as ancient.

Art and antiques

There are three biennials this month, starting with La Biennale de Lyon (from 10 September). The biennial’s aim is to is to create events of artistic self-renewal while also building a stable, long-term project, and it is strongly led by its Artistic director, who this year is Thierry Raspail. GIBCA, the Göteborg International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Sweden (from 12 September), is curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose. One of Scandinavia’s biggest art events, there’s a robust programme of exhibitions and events, plus site-specific art works relating to the spirit of the city and area.

14th Istanbul Biennial (from 3 September) invokes the spirot of the city: its relationship with the sea. Curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, A Theory of Thought hovers around a material – salt water – and the contrasting image-forms of knots and waves.

Other than the biennials, the biggest art event this month is Art Cologne (24-27 September), the world’s oldest art fair for modern and contemporary art. 200 international galleries showcase painting, sculpture, photography, prints, multiples, installations, performance and moving image. Art3f finds its way to Paris (3-6 September) and Bordeaux this month, featuring galleries, painters, sculptors, photographers and performers. The Affordable Art Fair Bristol, (18-20 September) part of the global Affordable Art Fair juggernaut, features 50 galleries and a huge array of well-priced contemporary art.

Antiques fairs are Europe-wide this month. The one not to miss is Brussels Design Market (12-13 September), the largest vintage objets fair in Europe featuring more than 100 exhibitors with pieces from the earyl 50s to the late 80s. UK-based events include the Edinburgh Antiques and Collectors Fairs (2-13 September) and Alexandra Palace International Antiques and Collectors Fair (13 September).

In Paris the Salon des Jeunes Antiquaires (13-15 September) gives an opportunity to young or newly set up antiques dealers to show off their collections. Foire de Chatou (26 September-5 October) is the biggest brocante (flea market/collectibles) market in France – some 7,000 stalls and 35,00 visitors.

The well-known, triannual Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair (29 September-4 October) offers an eclectic mix of English and European antiques and works of art from all periods. It’s particularly good for furniture, lighting and mirrors.

Interiors and design

Now to the main events, a joyous plethora of design weeks and expos delighted to show off the creativity at the heart of Europe.

We kick off with Helsinki Design Week (3-13 September), in its eleventh year amd with the theme Time Machine, looking at the future of cities. Discover a range of events including exhibitions, fashion shows, talks and workshops, along with a growing number of satellite events.

For the fifth year running the City of Love becomes the centre of the design world. Paris Design Week (5-12 September) features pop up shops and scenographies in 120 city-wide venues, more than 100 up-and-coming designers at spin-off event now! Le Off, a robust series of more than 250 launches, talks, seminars and parties, and of course a major design expo in the shape of MAISON&OBJET Paris. This biannual design fair is at the forefront of decorative architectural solutions and features seven halls, each featuring a special exhibition by a designer using products within.

Habitare 15 (9-13 September) is Finland’s largest furniture, interior decoration and design fair. It combines with ValoLight lighting event, ArtHelsinki contemporary art fair and Antiikki, an exhibition of antique and vintage pieces and art.

Brussels Design September (10-30 September) celebrates design through furniture, architecture, graphics and more. Exhibitions, conferences, a design market, pop-up stores, studio visits and seminars.

Design Days Geneve (17-20 September) is held in Geneva every other year and features a large young designer component.

The focus then moves to the UK with the London Design Festival (19-27 September, which, like Paris Design week, features a myriad of design-led events, fairs, exhibitions and happenings. The epicentre, as always, is The V&A with plenty of installations, seminars and ideas flying about. New for 2015 are a raft of events at Somerset House. Look out for the Landmark Projects, allowing leading designers and architects to experiment in some of the most iconic spaces in London (and if you can make it out to Greenwich, it’s worth it…). Also check out the hundreds of smaller events from one off talks to open house studios throughout the week, like Young, Fresh & British at Urban Living Interiors.

Part of the general citywide gaiety are four big design fairs, starting with Decorex International 2015 (20-23 September). This major interior design fair for consumers and professionals features 300+ exhibitors plus talks, seminars and a collection of work from new craftspeople. FOCUS/15 (20-25 September) is smaller but no less impressive: held at the renowned Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour, 500 international brands are shown at 33 showrooms at this design-dedicated venue. 100% Design (23-26 September) is the largest interiors trade show in the UK featuring interiors, kitchen, bathroom, eco design, plus emerging brands and workplace solutions. Highly respected New Designer prize plus talks and international pavilions. DesignJunction (24-26 September) is no slouch either, with a lively seminar series curated by Aidan Walker, ranging from New London Architecture to Terrence Woodgate, and on the subject of do we really need another chair (or table or camera or shoe or phone)?  Look out too for Tent London & Super Brands London (24-27 September), two divergent trade shows, one quirky, one luxe, which return to the Old Truman Brewery with more than 280 companies from 29 countries.

Vienna Design Week (25 September-4 October) focuses on Viennese design and as you might expect there are exhibitions and site-specific installations around the city.

Budapest Design Week (25 September-10 October) offers a wide range of events for both a general audience but with a solid programme of events for design professionals to network and share information.


Christies have their monthly Interiors sales on 15-16 September, and also look out for The Opulent Eye: 19th century furniture, sculpture, works of art, ceramics and carpets (30 Septewmber). But their big design sale this month is La Vie de Chateau, 1,000 lots from the collection of Jean-Louis Remilleux, an art lover and passionate historian, who chose with great care Old Master paintings, drawings and sculpture to furniture, ceramics, bronzes and fine silver.

Sothebys‘ Made in Britain auction (30 September) celebrates the diversity and innovative spirit of British art, design, photography, printmaking and studio ceramics, with estimates ranging from £150-£60,000. Paris is also in focus: from 29-30 September the auction house is also offering a major sale from the collection of the late Comte and Comtesse de Paris. The assortment of  230 lots consists of paintings – including 18th century masterpieces – drawings, furniture and mementos.


Staying on the design theme, check out Designers in Residence (9 September- 31 March) at the Design Museum. This annual exhibition, which celebrates new and emerging talent, features designers selected by a distinguished panel. The theme in 2015 is Migration.

Tate Modern’s World goes Pop (from 15 September) exhibition plans to tell the global story of pop art, breaking new ground along the way, and revealing a different side to the artistic and cultural phenomenon. From Latin America to Asia, and from Europe to the Middle East, this explosive exhibition connects the dots between art produced around the world during the 1960s and 1970s, showing how different cultures and countries responded to the movement. It shows how the movement influences all areas of life.

Fresh from his superb show at Blenheim Palace, Ai Wei Wei takes over The Royal Academy of Arts with his brand of irreverent yet thoughtful, challenging yet beautiful work (from 19 September). This is the UK’s first major survey of his work and presents some of his most important works from the time he returned to China from the US in 1993 right up to present day. Among new works created specifically for the RA will be a number of large-scale installations plus works showcasing everything from marble and steel to tea and glass.