Since it was established in 2003, the London Design Festival has expanded to encompass a wide range of displays and events, from conceptual installations to industrial exhibitions and themed lectures. Here are 10 of this year’s highlights.
Geometric by Cole & Son
Cole & Son, the company that has made wallpaper for Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the White House, will be launching its autumn collection, entitled Geometric, at the Andaz hotel on Liverpool Street. This op art-inspired series ranges from subtle honeycomb trellis patterns to bold harlequin diamonds. Effects such as trompe l’oeil and batik have been used to create distinct designs that will be presented as 3D origami sculptures and panels.
September 17-25, Andaz Lounge, Andaz Liverpool Street, EC2M 7QN
FT columnist Tyler Brûlé once divided the world into “Washlet haves” and “Washlet have-nots”, and some have described these hands-free toilets as bathroom essentials. Overstatement or otherwise, the Washlet has certainly inspired discussion. The latest range will be on display at Toto’s London showroom and chief among them is the Giovannoni Washlet, which claims to embody Japanese technology, German precision and Italian style.
September 19-23, 140-142 St John Street, EC1V 4UA
Moooi Mermaids by Marcel Wanders
The Moooi showroom in the White Building will become a 21st-century Atlantis. Products will be exhibited across the showroom as if swept up in a tidal wave and the walls will be adorned with photos, by co-founder and designer Marcel Wanders, of mermaids swimming around submerged items of furniture.
September 19-25, Moooi UK, The White Building, Portobello Dock, 555 Harrow Road W10 4RH
Molteni & C with Arik Levy
Molteni in Covent Garden will be displaying ready-to-buy and conceptual designs from Paris-based Israeli designer Arik Levy. Levy’s conceptual work is based on “Powers of Ten”, the 1968 documentary by designers Charles and Ray Eames, which examines the relative scale of the universe in factors of 10. He has reinterpreted his well-known Quake Table in 10 different ways: one model has been shot by 100 arrows, another painted 10 different colours and another weighed down by 10 times its own weight.
September 17-25, Molteni & C Dada, 199 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JR
Swedish Design Goes London – Hemma
Sweden will be showcasing its home-grown interior designers in an exhibition titled Hemma (Swedish for “home”) at the residence of Swedish ambassador Nicola Clase. This impressive 18th-century house, designed by Robert and James Adam, will also play host to a number of discussions with top Swedish designers.
September 17-24, Swedish Ambassador’s Residence 27 Portland Place, W1B 1QA
Galleria Illy will be exhibiting at the showroom of Italian design firms Flos and Moroso. The show, directed by Michelangelo Pistoletto, whose Mediterranean mirror table “Love Difference” will be the centre piece, will include a range of Illy coffee cups designed by artists including Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons and Pedro Almodóvar. Galleria Illy will also host talks from the likes of Marina Abramovic, Patricia Urquiola and Martin Parr, as well as coffee preparation courses.
September 13-October 16, 15 Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4SP
This exhibition will showcase a range of objects inspired by the Australian landscape. Established names such as Brodie Neill, best known for the @Chair, made from a continuous loop of carbon fibre and chrome, will be displayed alongside up-and-coming designers including Daniel Emma, a duo known for their simple, Bauhaus-inspired Desks Objects range.
September 22-25, Designjunction Victoria House basement 37-63 Southhampton Row, WC1B 4DA
Alsos* and Akousmaflore by Scenocosme
Singing plants may not be the next trend in interior design, but this exhibition of technology at the Watermans Arts Centre gives the visitor some idea of what it might be like if interiors were to respond to us as we do to them. French artistic duo Scenocosme have installed plants sensitive to electrostatic energy in a subterranean wonderland. Visitors will be invited to interact – and a touch will elicit a scream or a melody.
Until September 30, Watermans, 40 High Street, Brentford, TW8 0DS
Textile Field by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
The V&A Museum is again a centre for London Design Festival activities. This year the Queen, who loans the Raphael cartoons to the V&A, has granted permission for the Raphael Gallery to house an installation by the Bouroullec brothers. Their third project with Danish textile company Kvadrat is a gently inclined structure covered in a sea of Hallingdal upholstery in green and blue. Visitors will be able to lie on it to look up at the cartoons, which depict scenes from the lives of St Peter and St Paul.
September 16-25, The Victoria and Albert Museum Cromwell Road SW7 2RL
This show is a one-stop shop for a huge variety of products. This year’s Director’s Cut area is dedicated to British designers and manufacturers. Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who designed the 2012 Olympic torch, will be showing their new chair, the Tip Ton. With more than 170 new exhibitors this is a good place to discover new designers and smaller producers from around the UK.
September 22-25, Earls Court Exhibition Centre Warwick Road, SW5 9TA