This year, London Design Festival marks it’s 50th anniversary, so it’s bigger and better than ever before. Whether you’re a seasoned aesthete or just want to dip your toe in the design-world, these are our top-five must-see events and installations. It’s time to get your rollneck and architect’s glasses on, go forth and appreciate.
1. Villa Wallala
Villa Wallala is this year’s Landmark Project for London Design Festival. It’s injected a refreshing sense of playfulness and no small amount of colour into the heart of Broadgate. Designed by Camille Wallala, it takes the form of an impressive vinyl structure, inflated by fans and conceived in Wallala’s signature energetic graphic tribal style. It’s deliberately immersive, a refreshing escape from the concrete hubbub of its surroundings. Find it in Exchange Square between 16 – 24 September.
2. Design Frontiers at Somerset House
One of the festival’s signature events, visit Design Frontiers to encounter works from 30 international talents pushing the boundaries of the design world. Standouts include My Canvas by Kvadrat (pictured), a platform for the work of 19 emerging designers from around the world, each of whom has interpretted Kvadrat’s canvas materials in their own way, and the amusing installation Please Don’t Feed The Designers. Here, PriestmanGoode has transplanted part of its design studio to Somerset House. Visit to see real designers undertaking real design work. It offers the opportunity to engage with a design team’s creative process and get a sense of what it’s like working at the frontiers of the future of transport. 18 – 24 September, somersethouse.org.uk
3. Samsung’s Frame
Keen readers will have read of the coming of The Frame in our summer issue. Essentially, it’s a 4HD TV that sits on the wall, within an interchangeable wooden frame. Using sensors, it knows when you enter the room and responds to your presence by drifting in or out of TV mode as required. On standby it displays works of art, transforming into a clever piece of interior design. It even dims the screen to match ambient light, so that when placed next to real pictures, you can’t tell the difference and day fades to night. Now, in partnership with Saatchi Art, Samsung is putting the product on display at a visual exhibition on Brick Lane. Worth a look, or a watch, depending on which mode The Frames are in. 21 – 25 September, samsung.com
4. Reflection Room
Flynn Talbot is an Australian lighting artist and designer. He creates breathtaking lighting installations and commissioned pieces for galleries and historic buildings along with innovative, high-end lighting products. Now, he’s turned his attention to the hallowed halls of the V&A. Reflection Room is an immersive experience that will be the first London Design Festival installation to be housed in the Prince Consort Gallery, filling the space with a warm, rich and dynamic lighting display guaranteed to transport you into a serine headspace for a few minutes. Top-off a visit with a wander around one of the V&A’s current exhibitions – Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is superb. vam.ac.uk
One of the festival’s quirkier trade shows, FOCUS/17 fills Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, and places an emphasis on designers that are actively engaged in shaping the narrative of luxury design. Over 600 brands pack-out 120 showrooms, to participate in 100 immersive experiences that include talks, workshops and demonstrations exploring the journey of design-led products from concept to reality. Craft, quality and originality of process are the show’s key tenets, so it’s one to peruse if you’re keen on considered and ethical design. Runs from 17 – 22 September, the public are welcome between 20 – 22. dcch.co.uk