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London Design Festival 2013: the design capital of the world

  Saturday 21st September 2013

Conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans in 2003 to promote London’s creativity, the Design Festival has become one of the most important annual design gatherings in the world, with 80 international cities following their lead and setting up similar festivals.  Now in its 11th year the mammoth ten-day programme (from the 14th to 22nd of September) offers over 300 fascinating exhibitions and events across the capital, to champion and celebrate the vast multi-disciplines and progressing forms of contemporary design.

london design festival 1This year’s theme Design Is Everywhere highlights the vital part design plays in the world around us, and as the modern world and technology enables us to design almost every aspect of our lives, from occasional cards to our actual selves, the indelible impact of design and creativity on our everyday lives is greater now than ever. 

Though displays and events are widespread across the city, the heart or hub of the festival is the historic V&A museum providing an extensive programme of daily drop-in events, workshops and displays including the breathtaking 28.280 by Canadian-based designer Omer Arbel. This custom-made chandelier, hung from the Cupola (highest point of the museum) cascades more than 30 metres to greet visitors entering through the grand hall until 21st November. 

Catering to the massive and the miniature, God Is in the Details is a mesmerising display throughout V&A’s galleries on the theme of detail. Using Swarovski lenses you can discover hidden or overlooked features on objects specially chosen by a group of 20 influential design experts including Tom Dixon and Amanda Levete. 

london design festival 3 stairsLocated on the lawn of Tate Modern until 10th October is the landmark project Endless Stair, inspired by Dutch graphic artist MC Escher’s drawing and brought to life by dRMM architects with visionary engineers Arup. This never-ending maze of 15 interlocking staircases made from American Tulipwood is a fun experience offering unique views of the city during the day (structure is closed but illuminated at night). Of course, for those scared of heights it might be best to enjoy this 25ft-high visually stunning jungle-gym from the ground. 

Once again DesignJunction is taking over the Sorting Office on New Oxford Street to showcase the very best in lighting, furniture and product design from around the globe. Featuring seminars, screenings and over 150 brands from pop-up shops to internationally renowned global labels, it’s clear to see why this event is the most talked about on LDF’s schedule and not to be missed. 

100% Design at Earls Court Exhibition Centre 2, 18th to 21st September, is the largest trade design event in the UK at over 20,000sq metres. The designers Thomas Matthews and Studio Design UK put together the tunnel installation, reflecting 100% Design 2013’s theme of Creative Balance. There are over 2000 product launches in four halls: Interiors, Office, Kitchen & Bathroom and Eco Design & Build.  Hanging Room by TILT is an accumulation of hanging room elements. Home Factory focuses on 3D printing and accessible production for designers. 

Tent London, 19th to 22nd September, at the Old Truman Brewery, and now in its seventh year, is a showcase for talent from home and overseas. With a reputation for displaying new ideas across multiple disciplines, this year’s show is focused on rooting out undiscovered talents and displaying them alongside established independents. Alongside Tent London is Super Brands London, a series of temporary exposure platforms for international brands in the UK market. 

london design festival 2 designjunctionDecorex International at Perks Field & The Orangery, Kensington Palace,
22nd to 25th September, is an interior show featuring over 300 companies exhibiting furniture, lighting, fabrics and coverings, among numerous other product categories, all of outstanding quality and craftsmanship.  There is great variety on display that provides a central source of new products. Decorex International is a trade-only event, open to the general public on the 27th from 1pm to 7pm. 

DesignJunction is at the Holborn Sorting Office from 18th to 22nd September. It presents an edited selection of leading brands and emerging companies. Spread across three floors, the show comprises exhibitors of furniture, pop-up shops, large-scale installations, seminars and screenings. There’s an emphasis on illumination outlined by the launch of the lighting exhibition: Lightjunction

Francis Davies and Laura Jorden

For further information visit the London Design Festival website here.


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