With the London Design Festival on our minds this month, we shine a spotlight on a few of our hand-picked highlights.
This September sees LDF return triumphantly for its 19th edition. The focus? Creative and cultural activity to re-ignite the Capital and kick-start London’s economy. These may sound like ambitious aims, but given the festival’s history, we’re in no doubt they’re doable. Since its relatively humble beginnings in 2003, the London Design Festival has played host to leading global practitioners, thinkers, and educators. It has showcased the city’s creative brilliance, and ultimately, anchored London as the design capital of the world. For LDF chairman Sir John Sorrell CBE, this year’s event holds more significance than ever. “London has some of the world’s greatest designers living and working here, who come from all over and make this city their home,” he says. “Over the years, this has enabled us to develop exciting programmes which showcase both design’s joyous side, but also the ideas and innovations with the capacity to shape our societies. We hope that this year’s festival will not only be seen by those in London, but audiences all around the world, and that we’re able to demonstrate that design will be at the heart of the future.”
King’s Cross is one of the UK’s most sustainable urban regeneration sites, so it’s only right that this biophilic design show, which aims to reconnect people and spaces with nature, should find its natural home here. The first of its kind, Planted will showcase an impressive line-up of sustainable brands alongside thought-leading talks. Design names to look out for include Benchmark, Another Country and Naturalmat, while a six-part talks programme will explore greening cities in a post-pandemic world. Scheduled across two days, speakers will discuss the ways in which we can rewild our cities in order to halt the catastrophic loss of biodiversity.
With our wanderlust on overdrive, this is an exhibition to excite travel-hungry design lovers. Offering an insight into the design scenes of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Tactile Baltics explores the region’s deep-rooted connection to nature – with the concept of tactility at its heart. The Shoreditch-based group show will spotlight the work of established and emerging designers alike through 18 contemporary projects – six from each country – working across the fields of furniture, tableware, lighting, textiles and jewellery. The installations offer visitors an understanding of the key themes related to Baltic design, from sustainability, tradition and craftsmanship, to innovation and materials.
In textiles, Kvadrat’s latest collections can be seen at the brand’s Chelsea Harbour showroom. Unscripted, by Berlin-based Sarah Illenbergeris inspired by the free spirit of scribbles. For her, the medium of colour and individual expression in a non-purposeful way offers “a comforting proof of natural, intuitive behaviour in digital times.” Storylines by Kvadrat explores the line as the essence of creativity. Ethereal and painterly, the collection imagines thread as the line, yarn as the syntax, and textile as the story. Inspiring stuff.
Spanning collectible design and functional art, Adorno’s LDF offering is a comprehensive one. The digital gallery will showcase new work from some of the world’s most experimental creators. With the best in tech at their fingertips, Adorno’s exhibitions will take place both physically, at several locations around the Capital, and online, through immersive virtual 3D experiences. Intriguingly, each cutting edge collection is curated under a specific theme that investigates what “designing futures” means in practice.
Lighting brand Bert Frank will unveil their latest collection as part of LDF, transforming their London flagship showroom into a dynamic, dazzling gallery. With inspiration taken from the strong lines and elegant arches of art deco architecture, the Vima light is at once nostalgic and forward-looking in design. With its pill-shaped, machine brass centre, its opal acid-etched glass shade, and its fluted alabaster frame, the light, whether pendant, sconce, or free-standing, is a design-led sculptural beauty.
The London Design Festival takes place in showrooms and galleries across the Capital from 18-26 September. For further information, visit londondesignfestival.com