September is a busy month in London - and no more so than at the London Design Festival (LDF), which has record 400 events taking place across the capital this year, in Brompton, Bankside, Clerkenwell, Paddington, Chelsea, Marylebone, Mayfair, Pimlico, Shoreditch, Victoria and West Kensington. Information on events in each district can be accessed on the LDF website.
To make life easier, here are some the highlights of the festival, which runs from now until 22 September:
Design at the V&A
Always a hotspot during the festival, the museum (which works in partnership with LDF) has focussed its attention on design solutions to the challenges of sustainability and climate change. Head to the Sackler Centre to see Lucy Hardcastle's new work 'Kalostatis', an interactive installation inspired by the heart’s anatomy and flow simulations, that utilises scientific data and fuses it together with the heart’s organic motion and rhythm. In the V&A’s British Gallery, Canadian designer Matthew McCormick's experiential exhibit, 'Avalanche', (above), offers visitors an emotive and multi-sensory experience. Prepare to feel a little confined however: the clue is in the name, though thankfully, no snow is involved.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Elsewhere, fashion photographer Tim Walker, who has an exhibition on at the museum, has created a series of installations that spill out into the galleries.
To close the festival on the 22 September, the V&A and its neighbouring cultural institutions will be throwing a street party along Exhibition Road. This year's theme carries on the eco-conscious cause by celebrating 'design solutions to the climate emergency'. Students from the Royal College of Art will be making furniture fashioned from the V&A's exhibition packing crates, and these innovative tables, chairs and banquettes will later be donated to community gardens and charities. Food which would otherwise be wasted will be magicked into all manner of international delicacies thanks to top chefs, while visitors can enjoy free talks and seminars throughout the day.
A final tip: be sure to look up as you enter the V&A lobby - artist Sam Jacob has done something quite mesmerising to the Cromwell Road entrance, but we won't spoil the surprise.
Camille Walala: South Molton Street
Oxford Street may not be the most peaceful place to enjoy the aesthetics of our city, but French artist and self-appointed Queen of Colourful Street Art, Camile Walala, has given pedestrianised South Molton Street a kaleidoscopic makeover with benches, awnings and flower pots decorated in her signature style, which will stay in place long after the festival closes (at least two years, reportedly). Speaking about the project, the artist told Portfolio: "I still love the idea of a big temporary art work on a wall, the surprise it gives you and then it's gone, but it's so nice to work on something more permanent which also permits me to work with new materials, ones that are both sustainable and hard wearing."
100% design at London Olympia
A ticketed event, but one which promises to illuminate: expect thousands of new innovations in the world of architecture and interior design under one roof from aerodynamic fireplaces to cool three-legged Rock Chairs by Italian brand Da A Italia. Highlights include A Sense of Finland, a purpose built eco-log house showcasing the very best of Finnish furniture.
Highlights at the King's Cross Design District
Granby Workshop is proving that stylish accessories can be made using sustainable practices: the shop has launched a range of ceramic tableware made from 100% waste materials which are showcased at an installation and pop-up shop at Kiosk N1C in Coal Drops Yard. You can order what you like exclusively on Kickstarter.
A series of guided tours will offer one-of-a-kind tours of the Gasholders, a trio of Grade II Victorian gasholder frames that have been coverted into luxury appartments. London-based fashion designer Roksanda Ilinicic has lent her design eye to a very pink and plush penthouse there which she has filled with furniture, art, ceramics, books and objet from artists and designers including Lina Bo Bardi, Alanna Wilson, Charlotte Perriand and Caroline Denervaud.
The gallery is hosting I-Made, London's first exhibition solely dedicated to Italian design and manufacturing, curated by renowned Italian designer Giulio Cappellini, famous for his Capo chair, Mill sofa and, more recently, ultra-simple Bong table and Gong side table (below) aimed especially at millennials.
When I was a Kid I Dreamed of Being an Astronaut
It's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, this one-night charity auction on 17 September at Superunion, Farringdon, will raise funds for I Can Be, a London-based organisation which supports disadvantaged inner-city primary school children. The live auction will feature posters designed and signed by renowned artists and iconic figures.
Musicity x Low Line has invited sound artists to compose tracks in response to buildings and spaces along the mighty Victorian railway viaducts which form the Low Line, spanning Bankside, London Bridge and Bermondsey. Listen to 15 site-specific geotagged tracks in the spaces which inspired them. And while you are in the neighbourhood, head to the Oxo Tower Wharf, where 20 MA graduates from the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham are showcasing selected works spanning textiles, Ceramics, Jewellery, Metalwork and Product Design.
Anthropologie, Chelsea: Kaffe Fasset
If you loved Coach's AW19/20 collection head to this store which is showcasing some unique works by Kaffe Fasset. The renowned American textile artist collaborated with the fashion brand's creative director Stuart Vevers to create a truly bold and dynamic collection this season. Coach isn't stocked at Anthropologie but this event is an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in the colourful delights of this seminal artist.
And if you miss the festival altogether?
We asked London Design Festival Director Ben Evans CBE about his favourite London hotspots:
"An obvious tip is to visit the Sir John Soane's Museum. It's such a unique and wonderful place.
"I would also go to Jasper Morrison's shop on Kingsland Road which has no presence on the street whatsoever - I think just a buzzer and an unprepossessing door! It is a little room, and annexe of his studio, which he operates as a shop. It just him selling things that he likes, some which he has made and others which he hasn't. Sometimes he'll pick a very niche subject, like 'tea trays' or 'sticky tape.' It really is wonderfully esoteric.
"Don't forget to look underground too, there are some incredible vaults that you can explore. Under Smithfields Market there is a complex maze of what was originally meat stores. These are cathedral-like spaces! There are limited tours you can currently take to explore them."
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.