Let’s roam the streets of London and see the design world’s latest and greatest.
London Design Festival hits the streets of UK’s capital in September every year, occupying different design districts across the city. So top your Oyster cards up because I’m taking you back and forth across the city all week. Thankfully, London Design Festival coincides with Fashion Weeks across the world – there’s no loss for inspiration, no matter where you find yourself.
Everyone hates getting back from a design show only to realise the most remarkable moments were overlooked by your itinerary – so after loads of research, here’s a schedule to keep you on track throughout the journey.
Stay at a charming hotel in South Kensington so you can wake up early, grab some coffee and pastries on your way to the Victoria & Albert Museum – see the remarkable site specific installations by Flynn Talbot and Ross Lovegrove and catch the lecture on colour by Margrethe Odgaard. Faye Toogood’s exhibition “The Tradeshow” is right around the corner. Browse through this unique space fabulously curated with design objects from some of your favourite designers (Tom Dixon, Max Lamb etc.) and some new ones too!
Lunch near the South Kensington tube station and then go to the Design Museum to see the last week of “Breathing Colour,” an exhibition on colour fluctuations by Hella Jongerius (this will change your life).
Take a quick walk through of 100% Design trade show in the morning. Make a point to walk through the emerging designers section, then head to Southbank for a dose of modern inspiration at the Tate Modern. Soak in Gerhard Richter and other contemporaries. Enjoy a glass of rosé during lunch along with a gorgeous view of London before heading to Mayfair.
Explore the Mayfair district, stopping in at The Graduates show curated by Lidewij Edelkoort (worth the trip to see a few pieces from Thomas Ballouhey’s “Ways of Altering”). Make an appearance at the Paul Smith flagship store, then head just around the corner to Dimore Studio. Afterwards, walk over to the David Zwirner gallery to see whatever is currently exhibiting (currently, Suzan Frecon and Lucas Arruda). You may need espresso at this point, so go at your own pace. Then it’s cocktails at Glade in Sketch followed by dinner somewhere near Carnaby.
Dedicate the majority of your day to hanging around in Shoreditch – no complaints here. First stop is London Design Fair, an enormous show where every turn leads you deeper into a labyrinth of warehouse rooms filled with beautiful objects. It’s an opportunity to see some of the year’s biggest emerging designers showcasing all in one place. Don’t worry about sticking with your squad; wandering is the best approach here. Form & Seek has a truly stellar exhibition (Rive Roshan is an all time favourite of mine), and design collectives from around the world are displaying contemporary material use mixed with technical superiority.
For lunch at the Ace, go ahead and order that full bottle of wine – you earned it. Take a cab to Kings Cross for Design Junction and to see Camille Walala’s epic inflatable Memphis-inspired bouncy castle. Followed up with dinner at Dishoom.
Wake up at the crack of dawn and take a black cab to the airport. Your head is tired, your heart is full, but just think – you’re almost home.