Greater London?

Share this

It’s September – and that means it’s London Design Festival time again. What’s more, there are a number of changes afoot, with plenty to see and do – and even a change of venue or two. Here is a selection of the Festival’s prospective highlights. Maybe we’ll see you out and about?

designjunction, now in its eighth year, has left its former home of King’s Cross and is now set to transport to the cultural hub of London’s South Bank this month, with hundreds of product launches, boutique pop-up shops, bespoke installations, exhibitions, a specially curated talks programme and dedicated spaces to relax, meet, work and enjoy delicious food.

The Doon Street site, the largest super-structure ever built by designjunction, will house 200 international design brands and temporary pop-up shops. The Riverside Walkway will showcase a series of outdoor installations, whilst Oxo Tower Wharf and Bargehouse will host major brand activations, talks and exhibitions.


Exhibitor highlights include TON, the Czech furniture makers, who will demonstrate their wood-bending expertise with the new Chips lounge chair designed by Lucie Koldová, while the first bathroom brand to ever exhibit at the show, VitrA, will launch its furniture-based Plural collection conceived by designer Terri Pecora and inspired by the heritage of communal bathing spaces and rituals. International design brand, Ochre, will unveil Celestial Pebble 9, a new series of hand-blown pendants, which can be hung as a single drop or in clusters to create site-specific installations, while new lifestyle brand, Northern, will present its trademark style furniture pieces and interior accessories, bringing fresh vision to Nordic design. Bethan Gray will present her latest lighting collection, Victoria, which will complement her bespoke bar, designed in collaboration with the whisky experts from The Glenlivet.

The Doon Street site will also welcome STILL, a unique restaurant installation curated by design consultancy, Form, boasting a menu by 26 Grains.

The Oxo Tower Wharf will host major brand activations, exhibitions and experiential events including the Rado Star Prize UK exhibition, featuring the next generation of young British designers, and ‘The Original. About the power of good design’ – an exhibition focused on classic and contemporary designs by Vitra.

The Riverside Walkway will showcase a series of outdoor installations projects such as ‘Mud Shell’, an innovative housing project marrying ancient earth architecture techniques with the latest drone spraying technology, and the ‘Gateway to Inclusion’, an installation conceived by Lisa White, Head of Lifestyle and Interiors at WGSN, in collaboration with the city of Saint-Etienne to promote inclusion in design.

Launched in 2007, the London Design Fair has earned itself a reputation as one of the go-to trade shows during LDF, hosting the single largest collection of international exhibitions, designers, brands, country pavilions, features and galleries. Each year, over 28,000 influential retail buyers, producers, architects, designers, interior designers, press and design-savvy public, attend to see the very latest in furniture, lighting, textiles, materials and conceptual installations, from over 36 countries.


Never one to shy away from a controversial issue, for 2018 the Fair casts the spotlight on a material that is loathed by many: plastic. Culminating in an exhibition titled ‘Beyond the Chipper’ this showcase will feature four designers, each of whom is repurposing plastic in ever inventive and valuable ways.

Following its debut in 2017 the exhibition and home of Dutch design during the festival returns. This year focusing on a more refined selection of 30 designers the Fair welcomes Earnest Studio, Bart Joachim Van Unden, REM Atelier, Martijn Righters in addition to its already impressive line-up.

Also, the Fair’s annual showcase for Swedish designers, studios and companies will this year host 13 forward-looking, young designers from across Sweden in a show-stopping pavilion sponsored by Swedish Wood.

If you think West is the best, the inaugural West Kensington Design District promises an exciting line-up including the newly opened Japan House, Design Museum, V&A Blythe House, 100% Design and more. Returning for its 24th edition, 100% Design will be held at London Olympia and will feature 100% Forward and 100% Futures, plus a full roster of established and emerging brands.

Furthermore, this year, as part of a refreshed programme, the show welcomes Thomas Heatherwick and Marcel Wanders to the Talks with 100% Design.

100% Design will present over 400 international design brands across four key areas; interiors, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, 100% Build London and Emerging Brands.

Heading back into Clerkenwell (which we’ve been known to do on occasion),

Clerkenwell Design Quarter reaches the outer edges of EC1 this year, to the boundaries of Barbican and Hatton Garden, and once again plays a pivotal role in bringing together a variety of multidisciplinary design strands that exist within this historic quarter.

Clerkenwell Design Quarter will include new product launches and events from showrooms and manufacturers including TOTO, Viaduct and Moroso – as well as plenty of refreshments from bars, cafes and restaurants in the area.

Morgan Furniture will be hosting its annual Summer Sample Sale on the Tuesday of LDF. You can pop along for a drink and for the opportunity to bid for your very own Morgan product.

Our friends at Forbo Flooring Systems tell us they have provided their sustainable Marmoleum floorcovering to design studio Upcircle, for The Eco Cube pavilion and, speaking of leading flooring companies, to accompany the launch of Milliken’s Fine Detail carpet tile collection, featuring metallic yarns, competition winners from the prestigious Paris school of industrial design ‘ENSCI’ will exhibit their work, incorporating these yarns, at Milliken’s Clerkenwell HQ throughout the week.

Following the critical success of the inaugural event last year, darc room will now be held in the heart of Shoreditch during this year’s London Design Festival.

Nicholls & Clarke Building on Shoreditch High Street, just around the corner from Shoreditch High Street Station, is the new location, with darc room taking place on 19-20 September.

Paul James, Director of darc room, commented: ‘I’m delighted that we have secured this venue in the heart of London’s design district. The Nicholls & Clarke building is a historic venue conveniently located on Shoreditch High Street. Last year’s event was a critical success and we plan to build on that this year with many new exhibitors and educational content.’

darc room is a boutique lighting specification exhibition with 50 exhibitors, six workshops and will feature the lighting industry’s first ever live stream of lighting talks.

Exhibitors so far include AC Lighting, Aion LED, Applelec, Art et Floritude, AxaLight, Casambi, Coelux, Delta Light, EcoSense, Erco, ES-System, Exenia, Feelux, Forge Europe, Formalighting, LED BCN, LED Ltd, LED Linear, LensVector, LightGraphix, Lightly Tech, Ligman, Linea Light Group, Lite, Lumenpulse Group, MP Lighting, Nicolaudie, Osram, Pro LED, Pulsar, Radiant, SAAS, SGM, Targetti, tossB, Traxon, Tryka, Whitegoods and Zico Lighting.

Elsewhere, Arup’s ‘Conflicts of an Urban Age’ exhibition will explore patterns of dramatic development in cities. In the short time span of 25 years, fishing villages have been transformed into megacities and deserts have become urban playgrounds. They are stage-sets for social opportunity and social inequality.


Visiting the exhibition will provide an opportunity to gain an understanding of common and diverging trends and exchange ideas but also be inspired by the citizens and organisations that are making a difference:

‘Making things happen in cities, neighbourhoods, streets, schools and nurseries is not easy and we celebrate the protagonists of urban initiatives while exploring how their achievements can be replicated or improved upon, Alejandro Gutierrez, Director, Integrated City Planning at Arup, explains. ‘In order to deliver projects that address the challenges show in the exhibition, we need to work with communities, harness their energy and experience and understand their needs.’

Although there is no designjunction in King’s Cross this year, there is still a very good reason to head up to N1. As part of London Design Festival, Tom Dixon will host ELECTROANALOGUE, a gathering of digital innovations in the Coal Office, the brand’s new HQ and flagship shop in King’s Cross.

Tom will be delving into the spaces where digital innovations and the physical world overlap with the launch of ELECTROANALOGUE. In collaboration with friends and partners Bill Amberg Studio, Teenage Engineering, ege carpets, Spiritland, Formica and Kirkby Design, ELECTROANALOGUE will explore the impact of digital technology through a diverse range of installations and events. The Coal Office will become a creative hub, stimulating the senses through interactive experiences in sight, sound and touch.

Ever since Chantal Martinelli and Julien Desormeaux opened the design boutique Mad Atelier in the shell of an abandoned Clapton pub last year, they’ve been regaled with stories of the Lord Cecil’s past. These have included affectionate memories of finding love among the bar stools, eyebrow-raising anecdotes of wild punk music nights, and tall tales of sharing drinking space with a live panther.

So, when it came to seeking inspiration for their first London Design Festival show, they didn’t have far to look. Visitors to Mad Atelier will be greeted three rooms of a functioning pop-up pub, each one paying tribute to the Lord Cecil’s colourful history, as interpreted by Mad Atelier’s eclectic eye.

There’ll be drinks and dartboards, punk artworks and intriguing design juxtapositions, and, we’re assured, there’ll even be panthers! Now that’s what we want from a festival!


Decorex is returning to the historic location of Syon Park for the 41st year. Once again the opening destination of London Design Festival, the 2018 edition will run from the 16-19 September.

Decorex hosts more than 400 exhibitors, showcasing the very latest in luxury interiors and design. The four-day event showcases furniture, interior and lighting designers alongside fabric and textiles companies, from established names to up-and-coming makers. Decorex brings trade buyers and manufacturers together to form a community which is now the very essence of this celebrated event.

This year will explore Blank Canvas as its show theme. Offering a ‘carte blanche’, the concept will explore how an empty space can celebrate a new beginning, a chance to create something beautiful in the way that Decorex and its exhibitors do each year.

Interior design studios Maddux Creative, Studio Suss, Henry Prideaux Interior Design and Designed by Woulfe will design the main entrance installation, inspired by the show’s theme, while the bar will be designed by Lambart & Browne in a contemporary British style.

Other highlights include an inspiring seminar programme with talks from key industry influencers such as ‘brand building through creativity’ with Jeffrey Beers, Sebastian Cox, David Mottershead, Emilio Pimentel-Reid and Christiane Lemieux; ‘an interior designer’s take on product design’ with Staffan Tollgard, Jo Hamilton and Matteo Bianchi; ‘putting personality into new build’ with Dan Hopwood and ‘how to guarantee original design for every project’ with Henry Prideaux, Natalia Miyar and Sophie Elborne. w