This year, the London Design Festival is focused around six Design Districts, each celebrating their own particular contribution to the world of design in London. Added to this are eight key Design Destinations - curated shows and exhibitions, enabling public and professionals alike to view an extensive variety of work, much of it international, contained in a single space.
The diversity and character of London's different neighbourhoods has fascinated visitors, from the gentility of Brompton to the raw energy of Brick Lane. So it's no surprise that designers and design companies take up residence in different Design Districts, and nowhere can this be seen more clearly than during the London Design Festival, when designers, showrooms, design organisations and retailers across London throw open their doors, embracing the Festival's aim of showcasing London as the world's most creative capital.
Now in its fourth year, Brompton Design District is well established as a leading area during the London Design Festival. With close links to the V&A and the Royal College of Art, Brompton is not only home to leading global design brands, but also hosts a pop-up programme in spaces including a speakeasy and disused garage. This year Brompton has a strong international dimension, showcasing new design and makers from Mexico City to Vienna. Showroom exhibitions include a retrospective of renowned Swedish architects Claesson Kovisto Rune at Skandium, Wood & Woad at Few & Far, focusing on craftsmanship and process, alongside Mint Explores at Mint - a journey into the unconventional, setting out to tease and surprise. This year temporary events include an old apartment furnished for 'Vera' - a fictional character known only from a photo album - to a new design exhibition looking at how cities inspire designers.
Nearby, Pimlico Road Design District, a new addition for the London Design Festival will showcase a cocktail of international, interiors and design-led installations. Orange Square plays host to the Festival, and in this inaugural year for the District, Tony Chambers, Editor in Chief of Wallpaper* magazine, curates a selection of pieces from local galleries.
The Covent Garden Design District, will host events at the Hospital Club, Molteni&C's Arik Levy exhibition, BOCCI's Chandelier within the Covent Garden Piazza and the UK launch of the dramatic FLOS light installation Wall Rupture at Atrium. A highlight of Covent Garden will be a specially commissioned installation - a greenhouse made with LEGO on the Piazza designed by Sebastian Bergne.
Following its debut in 2010 the Fitzrovia Now programme will expand with a host of showrooms working together, led by the European Design Centre. Look out for Flux, the new ceramics company set up by MA students from Staffordshire University at EDC, the new permanent gallery by Libby Sellers launching with Eindhoven based Formafantasma and also the opening of the Danish furniture store The Republic of Fritz Hansen.
Now the heart of the UK's commerical design, the Clerkenwell Design District will again come to life in a multitude of showrooms and studios. At the FLOS/Moroso showroom the internationally renowned pop-up art exhibition Galleria Illy takes up a month long residency with a programme embracing design, art, music and food, while stellar names of furniture design, such as Bernhardt Design, Cappellini, Poltrana Frau and Modus will be celebrating creativity in design with talks, installations and one off events. Join the Right Royal Gin and Tea Party at The SCIN Gallery, under the watchful eye of the Queen - a new-technology fabric, 8,000 pixels, 3m square installation.
Moving east, the Shoreditch Design Triangle again offers an original and innovative showcase of contemporary design. Co-ordinated by SCP, this Design District is known for its smaller, design-focused galleries such as Gallery Fumi, Rocket and Kemistry. It also, includes Lee Broom's debut handcrafted upholstery collection, Salon, along with design companies including Barber Osgerby and Jasper Morrison.
A series of distinct, significant group-shows will appear across the city during the Festival, these design destinations include:
100% Design, the cornerstone commercial show at the London Design Festival, will be brought to life with the aid of a new branding campaign created by Peter & Paul. The show itself contains over 400 exhibitors covering design products to architectural materials, and the emerging talent showcase - 100% Futures. A new feature for 2011, the Director's Cut will showcase an exclusive selection of British design alongside the best of the UK and a series of international pavilions including new participants Chile and Greece.
Decorex, the UK's most established design and interiors show (now in its 34th year) runs 25 - 28 September. Located at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, Decorex will present new design from contemporary to classic, industrial to craft, all from leading suppliers to the interior design world. 'Sanctuary' is the inspiration for this year's show with a specially designed entrance by Nicky Haslam.
Set within the imposing Victoria House, in Bloomsbury, designjunction will launch at this year's London Design Festival following its debut in Milan in April. designjunction brings together an exclusive line-up of leading UK and international lighting and furniture brands. Look out for the Wright Brother's pop up oyster bar and the Australian Matilda Cafe.
Another key Design Destination is Tramshed, which returns to the Tramshed building on Rivington Street. At the heart of Shoreditch Design Triangle, the show will be a celebration of how authenticity and good design contribute to overall quality of life. The show attracts some distinctive design talent from the UK, as well as internationally. A focal point for 2011 is going to be an exploration of materials in contemporary design, and look out for another series of seminars, plus food - and even some music.
Other significant locations across the Festival include Tom Dixon at The Dock in west London, where visitors can expect indoor, outdoor, food and water-based installations, exhibitions and on-the-spot workshops and demonstrations.
Designersblock, making a return to the Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell, will bring together a host of exciting talent.
Tent London will again dominate the Old Truman Brewery, 22-25 September, with the emphasis on workmanship, handcrafted furniture, lighting and textiles alongside big brand names included in the Superbrands London show.
And finally, Origin, the Crafts Council show, returns to Spitalfields after its successful rescheduling to coincide with the Festival in 2010.
Design Districts and Destinations at London Design Festival 2011
| by Levent Ozler