Design For Life // London Design Festival

This year’s London Design Festival is a must for connoisseurs of fine design. Nine days celebrating the UK’s most prolific, exciting and groundbreaking designers, the entire capital will be taken over by events, exhibitions, pop-up galleries and landmark projects. Here is our pick of just a few of the visual delights going on show, from 17 to 25 September.

A_LA: Timber Wave
Amanda Levete Architects and Arup’s Timber Wave creates a dramatic welcome to visitors to the V&A – the new host venue for the Festival – on the busy Cromwell Road. As the lights go down over London, watch as passers-by and commuters on buses stare in wonder at this beautiful piece. On-site from 17 September to 15 October.
+DETAILS: V&A, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL.
While you’re there:
Hyde Park’s boating lake
is the perfect spot from which to see the city from a very different viewpoint. If rowing isn’t your forte, hire a pedal boat and play chase with the resident ducks and swans.


Perspectives: St Paul’s Cathedral
John Pawson’s installation at one of London’s most iconic structures is a must-see at this year’s Festival. An elegant, stone, spiral staircase, rarely seen by visitors, is the location for a collaboration with Swarovski. Pawson has created a precision-made lens which sits at the bottom of the stairwell. Combined with a spherical convex mirror at the top of the stairs, together they create a breathtaking composite image of the view upwards, through to the top of the tower.
+DETAILS: Saint Paul’s Church Yard, London, EC4M 8AD
While you’re there:

If the sun’s shining, pop over to the Jean Nouvel-designed One New Change shopping centre and head to the top floor for dramatic views of the St Paul’s cupola. Oh, and a glass of Moët Ice at Madison. Read our review here.
Madison, One New Change, St Paul’s, London, EC4M 9AF. Tel: 0208 305 3088.

Lee Broom, Salon
Award-winning designer, and Resource’s chair designer of choice, Lee Broom debuts his new upholstery collection at this year’s London Design Festival. ‘Salon’ is inspired by the curvy lines of the 1930s, and boasts sexy, soft silhouettes, stud detailing and nods towards haute-couture. Broom will also be creating an exclusive design salon in his Shoreditch studios, an intimate setting that will showcase the work beautifully.
+DETAILS: Lee Broom’s studios, Electra House, 93 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY.
While you’re there:
Design is thirsty work. Head over to Loungelover, the beautifully hip bar created by the team behind Les Trois Garcons, for a heady cocktail. We can highly recommend the Lavender Lady: Berkley Square gin, wild lavender, kaffir lime leaves, agave nectar and peach liqueur. 1 Whitby Street, London, E1 6JU. Tel: 0207 012 1234.


London Design Festival Breakfast Talks, Marcel Wanders
One of the world’s most prolific and unique designers, Wanders’ designs are quirky, fun and functional. A true design powerhouse, as well as pieces for internationally-renowned furniture houses, he is founder, art director and co-owner of design label Moooi (above). As well as products, Wanders has designed the Mondrian Hotel in Miami, and created the interior of the new Villa Moda store in the World Trade Center in Bahrain.
+DETAILS: 23 September, V&A, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL. (Pictured: Gothic Chair by Studio Job for Moooi. See more pieces from Moooi’s collection at The White Building, Portobello Dock).
While you’re there:
The V&A’s shop, in the world’s finest art and design museum, is one of the best museum stores we’ve seen. We especially love the Yohji Yamamoto concession, with exclusive t-shirts, bags and scarves.


Contrasting location with form, this dress, an installation-slash-performance-piece, is made from 550 metres of crimson Finnish wool. Its bodice is the stage for a performance artist, while its pleats and folds are enormous enough to hold and envelop some 238 visitors.
+DETAILS: 22-25 September, York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green, E2.
While you’re there:
Cream tea at Albion, just down the road in Shoreditch, at the pavement-level caff of Conran’s Boundary, is a steal: a pot of perfectly brewed English breakfast tea served with scones, jam and cream, plus cheeky chunks of excellent brownie, dense fruitcake and flapjack. We never thought we’d ever say this, but we recommend sharing.
Boundary, 2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London, E2 7DD. Tel +44 (0)20 7729 1051.


Barber Osgerby: Ascent
Designers of the London 2012 Olympic torchere, and creators of show-stopping furniture for the likes of Established & Sons and Vitra, this is Edward and Jay’s first gallery show.
+DETAILS: 24 September – 19 November. Haunch of Venison, 6 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S 3ET.
While you’re there:
Cross Regent Street and pop to Hix Soho for a spot of lunch. Mark Hix’s sexy, sleek, art-clad restaurant serves celebratory British dishes and some fine cocktails. Read our review here. Hix Soho, 70 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9. Tel: 020 7292 3518.




One Day Designer Sale
Fill your home with beautiful pieces of work by UK designers at this one-day sale. Exhibitors include London Kills Me, Susan Bradley (work pictured), NamNam Ceramics, Creative Clerkenwell and Design With Flair.
+DETAILS: Monday 19 September, Craft Central, 33-35 St John’s Square,
While you’re there:
Need a sugar rush after splashing all that cash? Walk south-ish down St John’s Lane and partake in a near-religious foodie moment: a custard filled donut from Fergus Henderson’s St John Bread and Wine. An outrageous lump of sugar, carbs and creamy custard, this fried bundle of love is a must-eat London experience.  St. JOHN Bar and Restaurant, 26 St John Street, EC1M 4AY.


Tokyobike Tour
Get on a rather stylish bike and peddle your way around some of the best exhibitions and events during London Design Festival, thanks to the collaboration between Japanese bike brand Tokyobike and London Design Guide. There are tours all through the festival, and each includes expert commentary from a different design expert. Only 10 places are available per day, so book now. The price is £30 per tour (each tour lasts for three hours), and this includes lunch at designjunction‘s pop-up cafe, a bike and helmet. Peddling hosts include Aidan Walker, Duncan Riches, Johanna Agerman Ross and Max Fraser.
+DETAILS: Tours depart from designjunction’s Holborn HQ, Victoria House Basement, 37-63 Southampton Row.
While you’re there:
Still feeling energetic? Head to Holborn’s branch of All Star Lanes for some retro ten-pin bowling fun. All Star Lanes, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Place, London, WC1B 4DA. Tel: 020 7025 2676.

Photo credits: REDDRESS photographed by Bernhard Ludewig; John Pawson photographed by Susan Smart.

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