Now in its 19th year, the London Design Festival returns from Saturday 18 – Sunday 26 September with a jam-packed schedule of events featuring over 200 exhibitions and installations held across the city. Spanning architecture, public art, sculpture, furniture, jewellery and fashion, and working with ten different Design Districts throughout London, this year’s ambitious programme has been designed to help reignite the capital and kickstart London’s economy after a tough 18 months. Here we’ve picked out the key events to know about at London Design Festival 2021.
Aiming to be the first zero-waste design event, Planted is launching its flagship outdoor London show during the festival at one of the UK’s most sustainable urban regeneration sites, King’s Cross. In a bid to reconnect people and spaces with nature, they’ll be pulling together an impressive line-up of sustainable brands, including Benchmark, Another Country and Very Good & Proper, to hold panels of thought-provoking talks throughout the week, as well as curate their Natural Living section, which will showcase beautiful furniture and lighting brands with eco-friendly practices at their core. Alongside this they’ll also be hosting a pop-up seasonal field-to-fork restaurant, run by River Cottage, and a presentation featuring 30 recent design graduates who will offer solutions for greener futures.
The north London-based designer has been brightening up London’s landscape with his joyfully colourful murals for the last couple of years – now he’s teaming up with the London Design Festival and Sadiq Khan as part of his ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign to turn the city into a huge outdoor art gallery. As part of the collaboration, Ilori will be creating a series of major new temporary streetscapes across central London, including daubing his signature technicolour geometric style onto pedestrian crossings in Tottenham Court Road. From September 20, volunteers will also be invited to paint the Queen Street pedestrian area to add an extra dimension to the artwork.
The legendary museum will be holding a whole series of events to coincide with the return of the festival, transforming spaces across the iconic building with special projects that aim to address some of the biggest challenges facing society today. Highlights include their thought-provoking ‘Medusa: Architecture + Reality’ installation in the Raphael Gallery, a collaboration between technology developers Tin Drum and the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto that illustrates the links between modern life and climate change through augmented reality, and their immersive ‘Between Forests and Skies’ pavilion devised by London-based design studio Nebbia Works, which is made from low-carbon aluminium and appears to float on water.
One of the main festival districts, Greenwich Peninsula, will play host to this stellar showcase (previously known as 100% Design), which pulls together new collections from cutting-edge furniture, lighting and interior brands. Featuring a combination of established names and emerging design talent, including London’s bespoke lighting studio Cameron Design House and Scandi brand Fredericia Furniture, they’ll also be running a programme of panel discussions featuring some of the biggest names in the business, like Henry Holland and Eley Kishimoto, as well as a Danish Design Pavilion and a lighting design pop-up.
This is the first time the north London neighbourhood has been involved with the festival since 2017, so naturally they wanted to come back with a bang by hosting a range of free installations, exhibitions and activities across the district. The main draw will be the eight eye-catching ping-pong tables set up in Islington Square, painted in bright, bold graphics by Campbell Hay x Art of Ping Pong. In an added millennial touch, the tables can be brought to life with a special Instagram filter that animates them using augmented reality. Other highlights include a series of second-hand chairs transformed into sculptures using nothing but bubblegum-pink packing tape by Sam Jacob Studio and illustrator Justyna Green’s ‘100 Days of Gratitude’ exhibition, which will feature 100 illustrations depicting what people working in the creative industries around the world are most grateful for.
The London Design Festival will take place across the capital from 18 – 26 September 2021