September is probably my favourite time of the year, and no, it’s not my birthday month. Instead, it’s the month of design with London Design Festival taking over the capital for near on two weeks of creativity, innovation and my favourite thing – yes, colour!
This year I’m going hardcore on my London Design Festival coverage. With so much to see and do throughout the festival, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start. With the EJP guide to #LDF17, you can navigate through the best installations, workshops, talks, exhibitions and find the design district for you. I’ve done the research so that you don’t have to.
Let’s get started with the 8 must-see exhibitions for 2017 and don’t forget to view the rest of the guide (links at the bottom of this post).
1 // Villa Walala by Camille Walala
Having been announced pretty early on this year as the first London Design Festival Landmark Project, I’ve been dying for September to roll around for the launch of ‘Villa Walala’ – a colourful soft-touch structure featuring Walala’s trademark shapes, stripes and sprinkles.
Located at Broadgate London, the blocks will be inflated by fans (machines not just colour loving Walala lovers), turning them from flat shapes into three-dimensional forms. The villa’s vibrant tones, tactile surfaces and engaging shapes are designed to complement and enhance the recreational function of Broadgate, while providing a striking contrast to glass and concrete of its architectural surroundings. ONE NOT TO MISS.
Exchange Square, 100 Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 2RH
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street
2 // citizenM Shoreditch Estate Playground by Yinka Ilori
EJP favourite Yinka Ilori is taking over LDF this year with a number of projects in the pipeline to bring some Nigerian heritage and colour to some of London’s hotspots. First up on my ‘to-visit’ list is his collaboration with trendy hotel, citizenM Shoreditch, where he will be transforming the entrance of the hotel into a vibrant public playground, inspired by his memories of growing up on a council estate in North London.
Created using a selection of brightly-coloured Valspar paints, the installation will feature the bold patterns used in traditional Nigerian textiles and, influenced by Yinka’s African family roots, will symbolise a sense of community, friendship and playfulness. Lovely stuff.
citizenM Shoreditch, 6 Holywell Lane, London, EC2A 3ET
Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street / Shoreditch High Street
3 // Gateways by Adam Nathaniel Furman
Turkishceramics is collaborating with designer Adam Nathaniel Furman to design ‘Gateways’ – a ceramic installation for Granary Square consisting of 4-metre-high colourfully-tiled gates, referencing London’s Underground stations and the beautiful and bold facades of Ottoman architecture.
Granary Square was pretty pumping with the beautiful weather last year so I’m excited to see them making use of the space with a colourful installation inviting visitors into the central designjunction location. Orderly queues for the photo opportunity per-lease!
Granary Square, Kings Cross, N1C 4AA
Nearest Tube: Kings Cross
4 // Reflection Room by Flynn Talbot
The V&A always hosts some remarkable installations throughout London Design Festival and this year is certainly no different. ‘The Reflection Room’ designed by Flynn Talbot is an immersive coloured light experience that will be the first London Design Festival installation to be housed in the Prince Consort Gallery.
The vaulted space will be lit at each end to highlight and define the dramatic 35-metre length of the gallery as well as the visitors inside the installation. Illuminated with Talbot’s signature of complementary blue and orange lighting, the space will offer a fragmented view of shifting colours, faceted refections and light – you know I’ll be a fan!
V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Nearest Tube: South Kensington
5 // URBAN CABIN by MINI LIVING & Sam Jacob
Oxo Tower Wharf is going to be a pretty buzzing site during the festival with various exhibitions, workshops and talks going on throughout the nine days. If that wasn’t enough, the community space has also just announced they will host the second London Design Festival Landmark Project in collaboration with MINI LIVING.
Local architect Sam Jacob has teamed up with MINI LIVING to create a micro-house, ‘URBAN CABIN’ – a research space for relevant urban needs and local identities in London. URBAN CABIN consists of a clever module reflecting its environment and featuring distinct London characteristics – the perfect installation for a space full of heritage and distinct London qualities.
Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, London SE1 9GY
Nearest Tube: Waterloo/Blackfriars
6 // The Glass Chain by Space Popular and Sto Werkstatt
Although this exhibition has actually been around for a while, I haven’t had a chance to visit and quite frankly the hustle and bustle of London Design Festival seems like the perfect opportunity to take a peek.
Designed by multidisciplinary design and research practice Space Popular in close collaboration with Sto Werkstatt, ‘The Glass Chain’ is a reference to the infamous exchange of letters by a group of German architects from 1919-1920, discussing the possibilities of glass.
Working with StoVentec Glass to redefine the limitations of the material and explore its bright, colourful, and energising possibilities, The Glass Chain is a kaleidoscopic glass construction that uses glass to enhance, alter and question the human perception of space.
The Werkstatt, 7-9 Woodbridge Street, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0LL
Nearest Tube: Farringdon
7 // Africa Centre: A Large Chair Does Not Make A King by Yinka Ilori
We’re back again with the amazing artist Yinka Ilori and his next interactive space at the Africa Centre, a space dedicated to supporting African culture, enterprise and education in the UK.
‘A large chair does not make a King’ is an exploratory installation where artist Yinka invites guests to leave their ego at the door, seeking to remind them that regardless of how successful they have been in life, they all share the common link of humanity.
The space will host a series of workshops, film screenings and Afrobeat DJ Nights as part of the experiential art project, so be sure to check out the website for further details.
Africa Centre, Arch 29 Union Yard, SE1 0LR
Nearest Tube: Southwark
8 // Mind of an Urban Spaceman: Olly Fathers x We Built This City storefront installation
Unique Carnaby Street based souvenir store We Built This City has invited Olly Fathers to re-design their renowned storefront exclusively for London Design Festival.
Inspired by the perspective of buildings and the movement of the city around them ‘Mind of an Urban Spaceman’ will explore the A-B journeys which create the flow of the city. Having seen Olly’s work before I know to expect a very dramatic outcome with a colourful alternative cityscape on a large scale.
We Built This City, 56B Carnaby Street, London, W1
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Want to see more LDF content? Explore the full EJP London Design Festival Guide or head straight to your interests – just click for Exhibitions, Workshops, Talks, Design Districts and Design Shows.