Places: London Design Festival

Few capital cities can offer the range of design-related experiences that London lays on for its annual Design Festival. Here’s our guide to this year’s key trade events and the new additions, transitions and locations

by Jamie Mitchell

The London Design Festival continues to evolve, making it feel more wide-ranging than ever. This year sees new venues, new names, new districts and new shows as well as the first London Design Biennale.

The V&A will again be the hub of LDF. Projects there include Foil by Benjamin Hubert, an undulating metallic ribbon installation that will transform one of the museum spaces with LED lights and pattern. The festival has also commissioned a number of leading designers, including Paul Cocksedge, Amanda Levete and the late Zaha Hadid, to create their own souvenirs of London, which will be available to buy at the V&A shop.

This year, the Global Design Forum, the festival’s annual programme of talks, will explore the role of design in a sustainable and prosperous future, and includes a panel discussion led by on designing for small, urban spaces. New show LuxuryMade makes its debut alongside the long-established 100% Design, while London Design Fair (formerly Tent and SuperBrands) adds a new floor to its east London venue.

Landmark projects this year include The Smile by Alison Brooks Architects. Sponsored by AHEC (the American Hardwood Export Council), Brooks has designed a giant curved tulipwood structure, which will be located at the Chelsea College of Arts near Tate Britain, SW1. Deceptively this 34m long installation (3.5m high, 4.5m wide), looks as if it should rock back and forward like a see-saw but it will remain motionless as visitors inhabit and explore it.

100% Design

100pc Design, KingEdisonGhostPendantLamp_250

100% Design is one of the commercial cornerstones of the festival. Following its move to a new home in 2015, this year it offers five sections – Interiors, Workplace, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Design & Build and Emerging Brands. Among a strong line-up of exhibitors, new furniture launched this year includes Axel Veit’s Marlon lounge group (stand L611), while eccentric interiors brand Mineheart (stand L510) returns with a new Trio edition of the popular King Edison Ghost pendant lamp and Courtney cocktail cabinet. Also in Interiors, Italian sofas and seating specialist Saba Italia will make its UK debut.

Look out for

Sections/features: Design London, a selection of 15 brands representing the best in design manufacturing

Exhibitors: B&S Glass Industries brand Mirricol (stand L101) will show its bespoke coloured convex mirrors

Products: Mairi Helena’s rustic prints inspired by Scotland (stand EB293)

Seminars/talks: This year’s programme of talks will be curated by the Design Museum as part of its ‘on loan’ campaign, with discussions exploring trends in contemporary practice and the future of design.


Olympia London,
Hammersmith Road,
London W14 8UX

Opening Times:

21 September 10.00–18.00
22 September 10.00–21.00
23 September 10.00–18.00
24 September 10.00–18.00


Trade – free if pre-registered or £15 on door.
Public £15
website: 100percentdesign



This year’s theme, the Roots of Design, has influenced British furniture designer Tim Gosling. His exhibition, the Heritage of Chair Making, will appear in the show’s entrance and document the links between interior design and British craftsmanship.
Corinne Julius once again curates Future Heritage, a special exhibition of unique pieces from designer makers. Exhibitors include textile designer Emma Jeffs and Silo Studio, whose work includes ceramics inspired by one of Isaac Newton’s experiments.
New lighting this year includes Tom Housden’s A-Beam pendant light for Hand & Eye Studio (stand G50), an extruded ceramic beam that houses the latest LED technology.

Look out for

Sections/features: The Champagne Bar, always a stand-out feature of the show, and designed this year by interior design practice 1508 London

Exhibitors: Tom Raffield presents new contemporary furniture and lighting

Seminars/talks: Tim Gosling, Joanna Wood, Sally Storey and Campbell Thompson discuss the impact of Brexit on the future of British interior design at 15.00 on 19 September


Syon Park,
Brentford TW8 8JF

Opening Times:

18 September 10.00–18.00
19 September 10.00–18.00
20 September 10.00–19.00 (consumer day)
21 September 10.00–17.00


Trade – £15 in advance, £25 on site (trade tickets are also valid for London Design Fair)


DJ_LONDON_Design House Stockholm_250

designjunction moves to King’s Cross this year, with a programme of design exhibitions, installations, events, workshops and its popular retail section. This year’s theme is Immersed in Design.
Design House Stockholm (Cubitt A5) presents new products, including its Nest sofa, designed by Jesper Ståhl.
Visitors will be able to see Deadgood’s launch of additions to its Naked collection by Magnus Long and Gala Wright, and a cafe-style bistro table with a perforated top. We Do Wood, a Danish company that specialises in using sustainable moso bamboo, presents new designs including its Button stool and Loop shelf and shoe rack.

Look out for

Sections/features: Dyslexic Design – an exhibition of 10 leading designers (all dyslexic) from multiple disciplines, including product, fashion, illustration, home decor and fine art – curated by designer Jim Rokos to support the British Dyslexia Association

Exhibitors: New among the lighting exhibitors, Vita Copenhagen will show its latest collections, and also present its mobile showroom, the Vita van, on Granary Square


1 Granary Square,
King’s Cross,
London N1C 4AA
Nearest tube: King’s Cross St Pancras

Opening Times:

22 Sept 11.00–20.00
(late-night opening)
23 Sept 11.00–19.00
24 Sept 11.00–18.00
25 Sept 11.00–17.00


Trade – free if pre-registered, £15 on the door.
Public – £12 in advance,
£15 on the door



With 120 showrooms and 600 brands taking part – many for the first time – this year’s show promises a preview of the latest design directions for autumn/winter 2016. The offering is comprehensive – everything from fabrics and wallpapers to lighting, furniture, technology, rugs, kitchens and bathrooms.
There is also a strong programme of workshops, curated tours and insights from the Conversations in Design sessions.
This year’s features include an artisan demonstration by the senior designers at Cole & Son, while dozens of new products include Gallotti & Radice’s Twelve-Day bed and Bella Figura’s Diamond Cluster lamp.

Look out for

Sections/features: Contemporary art specialist and GQ art editor Sophie Hastings curates Art & Interiors, an exhibition of modern and contemporary art that has inspired 30 leading international designers, including Kit Kemp, Rabih Hage and Joanna Wood

Exhibitors: Abbott & Boyd presents its new Caprera wallcovering

Products: Uyoga side tables by Francis Sultana at Marc de Berny

Seminars/talks: Designers, including Patrizia Moroso and Max Rollitt, share their design insights


Design Centre,
Chelsea Harbour,
Lots Road,
London SW10 0XE

Opening Times:

18-21 September 10.00–18.00 (trade preview)
22-23 September 10.00–18.00 (public admitted)


Entry Free

London Design Fair

LDR_Flora Lamp_250

Tent London and SuperBrands London return to the Old Truman Brewery under a new umbrella brand, the London Design Fair. Bigger than ever in 2016, three floors showcase more than 250 independent designers. London Design Fair’s international pavilions number 15 this year, and will showcase new design from countries including Switzerland China and Portugal. Among the key features is Trentino Collaborations which has linked four manufacturers from Trentino in northern Italy with four UK designers to create new collections.
At the British Craft Pavilion, lighting includes the Flora lamp by Marcin Rusak (Nature Lab Stand), constructed from flowers, resin and hand-blown glass. The Scotland Craft & Design pavilion presents textiles by Morag Macpherson (Hall T4-A).

Look out for

Sections/features: This Is India, a special exhibition of some of India’s best contemporary design

Exhibitors: Domaas & Høgh brings its lighting and furniture to 100% Norway (Hall G4)

Seminars/talks: Radical Collaborations Leading to Otherness, with Design Prize Switzerland and Laufen at 9.30 on 23 September


Old Truman Brewery,
26 Hanbury Street,
London E1 6QR

Opening Times:

22 September 10.00–19.00
23 September 10.00–20.00
24 September 10.00–20.00
25 September 11.00–18.00


Free if pre-registered.
Public – £12 on the door

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