Since the 1960s, London has consistently maintained a reputation for producing exciting, cutting-edge design – and designers. Two recent events have further cemented the British capital as a breeding ground for fresh talent and ideas.
Now in its 14th year, the London Design Festival was held from 16–24 September, hosting hundreds of events to “celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world and as the gateway to the international creative community”.
The festival programme includes over 400 events and exhibitions staged by hundreds of partner organisations across the design spectrum and from around the world, such as the London Design Fair and Focus/16, Decorex and 100% Design.
Also, the inaugural London Design Biennale was held at Somerset House on The Strand over a three-week period, modelled on Venice’s architecture and art biennales. In the slideshow above, we highlight some of the key projects, themes, ideas and trends which will no doubt filter through into everyday design.
However, in 2016 the spotlight was on Design Junction, following its move to five new sites within the regenerated King’s Cross Creative Quarter; this proved a resounding success, attracting around 27,000 visitors.
See the slideshow above for images from London Design Festival and London Design Biennale, and for some of our favourite furniture and lighting from the Design Junction event.
LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL
To make sense of the burgeoning number of city-wide events, the London Design Festival designated seven design areas to the myriad events: Brixton Design Trial; Brompton, Islington and Queen’s Park Design Districts; Chelsea and Clerkenwell Design Quarters; and Shoreditch Design Triangle.
The festival also commissioned architects and designers to build ‘landmark projects’ in public spaces and its central hub, the Victoria and Albert Museum, housed temporary design installations and hosted events, talks and workshops.
LONDON DESIGN BIENNALE
Nations from six continents presented newly-commissioned works that explored the theme ‘Utopia by Design’. Modelled on Venice’s architecture and art biennales, individual countries’ responses to the biennale’s theme were diverse, to say the least, and celebrated the 500th anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s classic, Utopia (1516).
Most persuasive were those installations that considered everyday communal life as a utopian ideal. Of these, the liveliest was the Lebanese pavilion, a bustling Beirut street frontage recreated on the Thames riverfront, while Albania was the winner of the Public Medal – the national entry that received the most votes from visitors in the first few weeks of the Biennale.
Design Junction presented contemporary design against industrial backdrops, with more than 200 contemporary brands showcasing their new collections. In the slideshow above, we highlight a selection of some of our favourite furniture and lighting from the event.
London-based designers Nipa Doshi and her husband, Jonathan Levien, presented some of the hottest carpets, including their ‘Stripe’ pattern in black and steel grey for Swiss firm Bolon By You. Swedish company Lammhults’ high-backed curved ‘Portus’ sofa is ideal for carving out private space, when reading in a shared room.