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A guide to traverse through citywide events during London Design Festival 2023

STIR enlists the various thematic activities scheduled to engage visitors across Shoreditch, Brompton, Greenwich, Mayfair, Islington, Bankside, Battersea, and more.

by Almas SadiquePublished on : Sep 16, 2023

London Design Festival 2023 begins today! Now in its 21st edition, the design event has hosted an array of exhibitions, installations, talks, workshops, and pop-up shops pertaining to the disciplines of art, craft, design and architecture, over the years. The latest edition of the design festival spreads farther across the city of London, in UK, with three new design districts. The event will run from September 16 to 24, 2023. Over the span of these nine days, the Design Districts, Design Fairs, and Partners will play host to over 300 events. The 13 Design Districts this year include Bankside Design District, Battersea Design District, Brompton Design District, Chelsea Design District, Dalston to Stokey Design District, Fitzrovia Design District, Greenwich Peninsula, Islington Design District, Kings Cross Design District, Mayfair Design District, Park Royal Design District, Shoreditch Design Triangle and Southwark Design District. Each of the design districts comes with its own unique personality that reflects the local area.

"Each year, London Design Festival provides a global platform for the city's creative community to share their innovative ideas and connect with audiences from around the world. The 2023 edition arrives at an important moment when bringing people together through creativity and design matters more than ever. Across our Design Districts, Fairs and Partners, this year's programme promises to spark discovery, build community, and drive progress through the power of design," shares Ben Evans, London Design Festival Director. Amongst the Landmark Projects this year are Halo by Studio Waldemeyer at St. Stephen Walbrook, and Aura by Pablo Valbuena at St. Pauls Cathedral. While the former is a light installation housed within the stories architecture of St. Stephen Walbrook church, the latter is a live installation by Spanish artist Pablo Valbuena that transforms the sound present in the cathedral into a line of light projected within the structure like a holy beacon. "The installation examines the potential of time, sound and light to create a contemporary response to the Cathedral," reads an excerpt from the description of the showcase.

STIR takes a virtual recce across the design districts, design fairs and partner events to scout happenings pertaining to different themes and intents.

Bankside Design District

The Bankside Design District, running east to west along the Thames from Borough Market to Oxo Tower Wharf, will host a wide range of programmes that showcase the best of design, craft and innovation, and celebrate the area’s creative industries. Accredited the designation of one of London’s most creative and cultural districts, it boasts a rich industrial heritage and is home to various world-famous destinations such as Shakespeare’s Globe, Tate Modern and Borough Market. The upcoming design week will witness further activation of this space through sustainable public realm interventions, craft exhibitions, workshops, VR installations, and more.

Within the design district, Melek Zeynep Bulut, winner of this year’s ‘Public Medal’ at the London Design Biennale, will present OpenWork I Açık Yapıt, a performative and theatrical exhibition of transitions. Some other interactive and multi-sensorial experiences planned for Bankside with the intent of shaking visitors’ consciousness include Muskeen Liddar’s Sound, Chaos and the Sky, Caitriona McAllister's Interactive Digital Arts & Creative Coding, Vivian Yang’s Botanic Dreams, and Tian/Zhanyan Zhang’s PP Land II - Pilgrimage to Dragon Fruit Buddhist, 2023. Various exhibits at the fair also delve into the projection of thoughts and ideas through photographs, poetry, and animated works of art. These include Zhan Zhang’s Nearby, Ariana Cowan’s The Visual Poetry Exhibit, and Daniel Montanchez’s Whispers of Wonder. Workshops such as Tihara Smith’s Raffia Embroidery Hoop Art Workshop, on the other hand, hope to involve visitors with analog crafts.

The Tyre Collective - Amount of tyre wear produced by different vehicles | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
The Tyre Collective - Amount of tyre wear produced by different vehicles Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Various events and exhibitions hosted by Bankside seek to ponder upon the question of sustainability. One of these includes clean-tech startup The Tyre Collective’s From Pollution to Products, an exhibition that brings designers, material scientists and chemical engineers together to create objects from tyre wear particles (captured at source), which is a leading source of vehicle pollution. Isola Design’s Nothing Happens if Nothing Happens, too, focuses on using ‘regenerative resources and repurposing waste materials in an effort to bring the spotlight on a circular design approach.’ Another exhibition, Microplastic In The Thames River, by Jinxiu Chen & Lu Zheng, seeks to explore microplastic pollution in high-density areas. Presentations by students of MA Sustainable Design from Kingston University, too, ponder upon the topic of sustainability with Futureproof: Sustainable by Design.

Paying homage to unfinished projects as well as ones that are in progress, Chair of Virtue presents Prototype / in process - capturing intangible notions, which hosts the display of sculptural chair prototypes, works in progress and unfinished works by 12 emerging and established makers. The exhibition aims to highlight the concepts that shape these objects. A pop-up shop in the design fair, Kasama Potters 2023, includes works by a collective of ceramicists from the Japanese ceramic town of Kasama, which are up for sale.

Oxo Tower Wharf, an award-winning building located on the South Bank of the River Thames, will host an array of ceramics, leatherworks, woven objects and more. Designed for the craft-curious, the building will station over 25 design-maker open studios across its two floors. The second edition of the Material Matters exhibition, with an accompanying talk panel, will also be hosted within the building, at Bargehouse. Additionally, Gallery@OXO, situated within the structure, will showcase buildings, furniture and products shortlisted for this year’s Wood Awards.

Some product launches scheduled for LDF 2023 include SophiaTypeLove’s Foldit: The first variable color font with variable-gradients + Colrv1 demo, and Marina Garlo’s debut piece, the GARLO I Chaise Longue. The latter will be presented at Hilton London Bankside. “A harmonious blend of a light, art installation and a furniture piece, the GARLO I offers guests the chance to both view and physically interact with the piece,” reads the product description of GARLO I Chaise Longue.

One of the talks that the district will play host to is Sea Containers London’s NOW Gallery at Sea Containers: Simone Brewster: The Shape of Things, which promises an evening of conversations (with the leading contemporary designer Simone Brewster) around the talismanic qualities of objects that aid one’s empowerment. Manyone London’s Entertain, Educate, Include, on the other hand, will platform two talks, namely 'Fun as a platform for learning’ and ‘Neurodivergence by Design.’ The former will delve into the processes of desiging for children under the age of 10, with key speakers from Moonbug Entertainment, We Are Family, and Manyone. ‘Neurodivergence by Design,’ designed as an open debate seeks to answer the question: How can we redesign the design process itself to create a more inclusive and considerate practice? Elizaveta Stolyarova will deliver a lecture on the integration of AI in creative fields for Co-creative Partnership with AI: Shaping the Future of Design and Creative Work.

Battersea Design District

The Battersea Design District, known for its pioneering design heritage, as well as initial developments in the realms of engineering and transport, is joining the London Design Festival for the first time. The debut programme of the district aims at celebrating local heritage and highlighting the creative communities in the neighbourhood. The presentations in the district range from art, design, and craft exhibitions, open studios, talks and panel discussions, workshops and design trails and tours.

While Wandsworth Council’s exhibition Layers of Truth: Unveiling Perspectives hosts a collaborative art installation celebrating the multifaceted nature of truth, Metculture LTD’s The Preciousness of Superfluous things in the space - Ceramic Craft and Artistic Pottery exhibits carefully crafted utensils such as teapots and teacups, along with a tea-tasting ceremony. A second exhibition by Wandsworth Council, namely Ingate Works Takeover, will host established and emerging designers in a creative takeover within the building. The likes of Wandsworth-based Luca Bosani and The 503Studio in Nine Elms will host open studios at Battersea.

The talk Activating the Low Line: Allies & Morrison with Wandsworth & Lambeth Councils ponders upon processes that can be undertaken to activate the unique Victorian viaduct running through the heart of Battersea to Vauxhall | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
The talk Activating the Low Line: Allies & Morrison with Wandsworth & Lambeth Councils ponders upon processes that can be undertaken to activate the unique Victorian viaduct running through the heart of Battersea to Vauxhall Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Some talk progammes that are part of the upcoming events within the district include those hosted by the Wandsworth Council, namely Designing for the Climate Emergency - the Role of the Public Realm and Urban Design in Creating Sustainable Cities; Activating the Low Line: Allies & Morrison with Wandsworth & Lambeth Councils; and London's New Immersive Concert Hall: A Venue For The Future. Greystar will host Bloom Interiors Unveiled: Design Talk and Tours at Bloom Nine Elms, which will include an interactive Q&A session for the attendees.

Some tours and design trails that form part of the schedule at Battersea aim to provide visitors with a view and understanding of the area. These include Wandsworth Council’s Art and Architecture Walking Tour of Battersea Nine Elms; A Garden for Everyone - a gold medal garden fit for the community; There is no design without people – Exterior Architecture; and Battersea Design & Tech Quarter Walk/Talk and Explore. The four design trails are themed to cover different aspects of the area (such as landscape, materials, art, collectibles, urban design), with architecture harking a concurrent space. Workshops such as Mini Rug Tufting Workshop by Tufting London and Nature, Design & The Dining Table by Merchants Way by VINCI St Modwen, on the other hand, aim to involve visitors with the craft of tufting and pottery, respectively.

Brompton Design District

The Brompton Design District, one of the oldest districts of LDF, is known for the display of established design brands and temporary programmes uniquely curated each year around an annual theme. This year’s theme is ‘Conviviality – The Art of Living Together.’ It celebrates design as a medium of connecting people and places with each other.

The curated programme includes the showcase Farm Shop, by Fels Gallery in collaboration with Grymsdyke Farm. The event will host homeware collections developed by 15 designers following residencies at Grymsdyke Farm. Japanese designer Rio Kobayashi will host his first solo exhibition at LDF this year. Along with the showcase of his carefully handcrafted objects, one will get a chance to witness the convivial experiences designed by his invited friends in the gallery space. Brompton will also witness the return of Peter PiIlotto and Christopher De Vos as PPCDV with an exhibition presenting works that exist at the brink of fashion and interiors.

Pentagram’s Bags of Art and Design Pentagram exhibition | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Pentagram’s Bags of Art and Design Pentagram exhibition Image: Pentagram, Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Pentagram, Cass Art, and Bags of Ethics have come together to redesign tote bags. The result is a series of 12 unique bag designs that will be exhibited alongside the original artworks, prototypes and mock-ups. SCENTMATIC marks its return to LDF with KAORIUM, the world’s first AI system trained to express scents and flavours using a bank of existing vocabulary at hand. In the arena of sound design, sound artist, designer and electronic musician Yuri Suzuki collaborated with the Shope at Japan House London. The works created as part of this collaboration include two window installations and Suzuki’s Ambient Machine, which invites visitors to design their own background ambience.

The New Craftsmen - Banksia Vessels by Darren Appiagyei | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
The New Craftsmen - Banksia Vessels by Darren Appiagyei Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

The exhibition Join, Assemble, Hold will showcase new pieces from designers Matthew Raw, Bibbings & Hensby and Studio AMOS of The New Craftsman, alongside other designers. Lloyd Choi Gallery's Untold Beauty: Korean craft and design, on the other hand, presents works by contemporary practitioners who delve into the exploration of the artistic practices from the Joseon period in Korea. Japan House London's WAVE: Currents in Japanese Graphic Arts exhibits the works of 60 Japanese artists with the intent of displaying the vibrant diversity that pervades Japanese graphic art practices. Closing off a street for the festival, the design district will host an outdoor design installation called All Together at Egerton Gardens by Eva Feldkamp and the team of All in Awe. Marthe Armitage Prints's presentation at Brompton includes Lobby, a multi-coloured wallpaper pattern imprinted upon fabric.

RCA -  Back of House by Shivangi Gupta | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
RCA - Back of House by Shivangi Gupta Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Royal College of Art’s exhibition Back of House will present exhibitions in the realms of industrial design, product design and multidisciplinary design. The name of the exhibition hints at the theme, of highlighting not only the end products in the exhibition but also shining a light upon the backend processes that gave form to these objects.

Victoria and Albert museum, Kensington commands a bold presence at the fair with various exhibitions, installations and event, namely Surfacing Stories, Hana Mikoshi, The Zizi Show, Unstruck Melody, Field Notes, Maya: The Birth of a Superhero, But She Still Wears Kohl and Smells like Roses, Part Exchange, Friday Late, and Digital Design Weekend 2023

Several brands such as Occhio, Liaigre, Cassina, Sub-Zero & Wolf, Sé, OKA, Boffi | De Padova, Luxury Living Group, Poltrona Frau, Molteni&C, Meridiani, Giorgetti and B&B Italia will showcase their 2023 collections and offer a glimpse into their design approach at the fair. Talks hosted in this district include SAP's Circular Design Series: Food with Chantelle Nicholson and a keynote speech by Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian, as organised by IED - Istituto Europeo di Design, University of the Arts London

Chelsea Design District

The Chelsea Design District was established in 2019 with the intent of celebrating this area in West London that hosts some extraordinary design heritage. The design district explores the legacy of bohemian free thought, while also highlighting creativity in the disciplines of architecture, interiors, fashion, jewellery, and food.

An introspective exhibition at Roca London Gallery, namely Small Spaces in the City: Rethinking inside the Box, attempts to examine the challenges of tiny homes in big cities such as London, Tokyo, Berlin and more. A second event by the gallery, namely From Doll's House to My House: Exploring Health and Wellbeing in Small Spaces, is an interdisciplinary talk, designed in tandem with the exhibition. It focuses upon the 'vitally important theme of health and wellbeing in small urban living-work spaces, from a designer and user point of view.'

Another exhibition within the design district, Anthropologie X Artfully Walls, by Anthropologie and Artfully Walls, showcases contemporary fine art prints. Birdie Fortescue will host the live demonstration of botanical casting, along with Edinburgh-based artist Katy Eccles. The Odd Chair Company's Masters of Making: The Perfect Room Layout welcomes visitors to customise their perfect room layout. Antique Modern Mix's Meet the Artist - David Henty, the world's no.1 art forger, and Silvera LTD's MOMENTS X CHARLOTTE PERRIAND and Louis Poulsen, Pale Rose are amongst the other exhibits at the design district.

Showcase by Carl Hansen & Son  | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Showcase by Carl Hansen & Son Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Carl Hansen & Søn will present the Nature collection, a series of objects that pay homage to iconic designs by architect Kaare Klint. On the other hand, Lema will hold an exclusive preview of their new home collection at their London Flagship store, and Poggenpohl will host an open studio at their Chelsea location. Product launches within the district include Ligne Roset Chelsea's Kashima, Cameron Design House's Kupoli Collection, and Designers Guild's Autumn ’23 collections.

A Design Trail with 14 stops, namely Daydreaming on the King’s Road, by Cadogan, in partnership with King's Road, offers visitors the chance to explore the district as well as the adjacent King's Road with this curated walkthrough that offers historically and culturally relevant anecdotes.

Dalston to Stokey Design District

This district, another new addition to the 2023 iteration of LDF, promises to host creative businesses and individuals that carry a distinct identity in their design language. “As a fertile landscape for designer makers, arts, and culture, the curation will spotlight some of its brightest talents,” reads an excerpt from the press release.

Kinsukes Kingdom Tower Theatre Company 2021  | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Kinsukes Kingdom Tower Theatre Company 2021 Image: Robert Piwko, Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Various events in the district are formatted to provide an intimate look at the work done by the local creative community. Open studios hosted by Praxis N16 will invite visitors to explore and meet 50 resident artists and creatives based in the Victorian warehouse space. On the other hand, Absorb Arts Studio will welcome visitors to view the showcase of work done by painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and more. Know and Love’s showcase of hyperlocal products from 47 North London artists and makers will bring to the fore their innovations in areas such as ceramics, skincare and chocolate making.

Tower Through The Years, an exhibition by Tower Theatre, looks back at the last ten years of the theatre's production and technical team's work and design achievements. Other exhibitions in the district include FAAM: Resonance, a captivating fusion of fashion, architecture, art, and music; Eat Work Art's Dreamachine Exhibition and Spazio Leone x Friendly Pressure; and Atom Gallery's Things: an exhibition by Richard Paul. Some products on display at the event include maquettes, collages, and textiles by Emily Forgot, new finishes and colourways across its coffee and dining tables by Fred Rigby Studio, a range of vases and limited-edition ceramics by Monoware, and 3-D printed footwear and futuristic jewellery by Atelier100.

In order to make the district inclusive and interesting for younger audiences, KindHaus has collaborated with Stokey Popup to design a series of child-inclusive experiences. These include family design challenges that will allow parents and children to identify and solve design-related issues. Another workshop, namely Free Art School @ Print Club London by Print Club London, comprises free workshops led by experts in the realm of painting, sculpting, printmaking, graphic design, and more. Molten 1090's Molten Hot Circularity offers insights into the circular design ethos of the homeware brand, and Wrap's Open Studio & Pop-up Shop is an invitation by the design and publishing brand into their space. Printmaking, illustration and animation studio Rude's I want to be A Creative offers an insight into the practice's illustrative works, and entes mapal's Introduction to Ceramics: Coiling technique beckons visitors to learn the basic of working with clay.

Fitzrovia Design District

The third district in the list to debut this year, the Fitzrovia Design District is popular as a nexus for global leaders in the discipline of furniture design. The district, located in the central part of the city, is also home to several creative industries, innovative start-ups and the city’s finest and favourite independent restaurants and bars.

Console by Den Holm, on show at Charles Burnand Gallery  | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Console by Den Holm, on show at Charles Burnand Gallery Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

The design district will play host to Charles Burnand Gallery’s Planet Rock, which features futuristic reinterpretations of everyday materials and objects. It showcases works by Dawn Bendick, Labaye/Sumi, Den Holm, Matthew Nunn, and Studio Furthermore. Another explorative exhibition Heal’s at LDF: An Exhibition Of Two Halves, showcases innovative creations by students of Kingston University. Alongside 10 shortlisted works by third-year students from the university, sit iconic seating designs such as 'Togo' by Ligne Roset, 'Egg' by Fritz Hansen, and 'Forum' by Robin Day for Case. Other exhibitions at the district include PriestmanGoode: Window into a better future, Welcome to Sanderson London, and Terra Firma & Mound Collection.

Complementing the physical works at the district are virtual creations such as MOOOI’s AI-powered custom room fragrance experience that invites visitors to curate their own rooms with fragrances of their choice. Visual design firm Found's exhibition Invisible, too, presents an array of digital artworks that aim to unravel invisible aspects of everyday objects. Sanderson London, a landmarked 1950s building offers an abstract drawing workshop to visitors and the design district organises a food trail through Fitzrovia on September 20. Some other events that are part of the design itinerary include open studios at Lualdi, Grand Passion Pianos and minotticucine.

Greenwich Peninsula

The Greenwich Peninsula is swiftly gaining traction as London’s boldest modern landscape. Located on a riverside and home to The Tide, which is an elevated, linear walkway and public art trail, the design district boasts of a bright future, with 15,000 new homes in the area and nearly 48 acres of public space up for planning in the next few years. This year’s design itinerary for the district includes a healthy influx of artistic interventions in the public space.

Marwan Kaabour's work installed on The Tide  | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Marwan Kaabour's work installed on The Tide Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

The design district will showcase a series of public artworks. One of these is a new collaboration, with graphic artist Murugiah who has created a piece of work inspired by the traditional Rangoli art form, in celebration of Diwali. The Greenwich Peninsula Art Trail offers visitors the opportunity to move across the city and view the works of renowned artists such as Damien Hirst, Morag Myerscough, Allen Jones, Studio Weave, Alex Chinneck and Conrad Shawcross.

In honour of the week-long design event, The Tide will feature a reimagined stairwell by Turner Prize nominee Ian Davenport and a lyrical and poetic rendition by Beirut-born artist Marwan Kaabour, called The River in Verse. The latter is an artwork that comprises 'multilingual text extracts that contemplate water, fluidity and expressiveness of its ebb and flow.'

NOW Gallery will present The Shape of Things, which celebrates Simone Brewster’s multidisciplinary approach to art and design, and The Great Supper by Sara Shakeel, which encompasses the showcase of a sculpture that is an assemblage of everyday objects. Faber Futures and Ginkgo Bioworks will showcase Normal Phenomena of Life, which presents products made and grown using advanced biotechnologies. Rose Bruford College, on the other hand, will explore design in performance settings with the help of talks, workshops and installations. Talks organised by the design district include Fourthspace x Design District present AI or Die? Reshaping the Creative Industries and Shaping the Future: The Importance of Creative Collaboration.

Islington Design District

Now in its third year, the Islington Design District promises to present a mix of local and international presenters. Its theme this year is ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Collaboration,’ which acknowledges ‘independent design shops, studios and designers from across the creative industries, localised in one of London’s main creative enclaves.’

Travel Things Museum - ReMapping New Worlds | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Travel Things Museum - ReMapping New Worlds Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Fiskars | Gifu | Hiroshima by twentytwentyone is an exploration of the similarities that exist between Finland and Japan. Works by Maruni, Nikari, Ozeki & Co. and Woodnotes will feature alongside designs by Barber Osgerby, Cecilie Manz, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Jasper Morrison, Joanna Laajisto, John Pawson, Kari Virtanen and Ritva Puotila. Carl Hansen & Søn’s Wonders of Wood, on the other hand, invites visitors to view their latest launches such as the 2023 limited edition CH07 Shell Chair by Hans J. Wegner. Travel Things Museum will present everyday objects from around the globe reinterpreted to fit new functions. Motarasu will launch the Dawn Wall Lamp, designed by Danish Bly Studio and Grestec Tiles will showcase their latest and existing tile collections. The Bakery's An Exploration of the Aesthetic at Home is a group exhibition inspired by William Morris's words, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." It showcases artworks, hand-painted furniture, textiles and more, with the aim of exploring and conveying the idea of finding joy in beauty in everyday life.

Kings Cross Design District

Housing various design brands, this district, situated on an estate filled with architectural delights, various generously designed public spaces and a renowned art university, is now in its sixth year of hosting programmes during the London Design Festival. The district plans events with resident brands and institutions such as Tom Dixon and Central Saint Martins to enable the public to experience creative endeavours in the institutions in the area.

Work by Yibei Liu of Central Saint Martins | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Work by Yibei Liu of Central Saint Martins Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Tom Dixon will present HYPERMOBILE at the brand’s headquarters. The showcase will focus on his new portable lights, with a large-scale installation. On the other hand, Central Saint Martins will present Design Transforms ’23, a celebration of work done by students and staff in the arena of product, industrial and ceramic design. Nothing's pop-up exhibition at the fair will invite visitors to experience their latest launches, while their public installation Nothing, Teenage Engineering and KEF present PORTABLE PLAY, designed in collaboration with teenage engineering and KEF, delivers a sensorial experience.

Studio Snoop will present Tilly2, the world’s first AI designer, 'representing an unprecedented human-AI collaboration that reimagines our environment.’ Wolf & Badger will present works by Spanish designer and artist Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen, displayed alongside florals curated by Edie Rose. They will host interactive workshops led by various independent brands. Yu Mei Huang and Bao will present an exhibition that melds visual and tactile art, and Resident will host Runway, an immersive presentation of some of their design pieces. Some other exhibitions that are part of the district's programme include Beneath the Veil: Indigo in Northern Nigeria, Porro's New Creative Languages: Sartorial Spaces and a Colourful Craftsmanship and Climate Art's Open Air! A Public Art Commission for Somers Town.

The district will host talks such as The Liminal Space's Bringing the Lab to Life, which will explore the role of design in connecting science with society; Hellod Ltd's Ethical Impact by Design, which will aim to discuss the ethical impact of design; and Liquid City's Designing an Augmented Reality Game: Overbeast, which promises the deliverance of an interactive session with the help of augmented reality. The design trail Pinch, swipe, tap is curated to take visitors around King's Cross to reveal the design typologies paramount in the area, and the outdoor arts and culture event Understanding Canals: The Veins of the City hopes to convey an invigorating experience within the district.

Mayfair Design District

Mayfair Design District was established in 2017 with the intent to foster a collaborative environment. Keeping up with this inceptive aim, the design district unites the area’s galleries, auction houses, cultural institutions and brands and encourages community ties.

Work by Yibei Liu of Central Saint Martins | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Ralph Pucci - Ara Side Table in Land of Sun Image: Elizabeth Garouste for Ralph Pucci, Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

The district will host exhibitions such as This Island Sunrise at Sadie Coles HQ and Alchemy of Form at Mint Gallery. While the former will feature British designs by Tom Dixon, Eduardo Paolozzi, and a 17th century woodturner, the latter will help explore the interplay of form and materials with alchemical concepts showcased by 50 designers. David Gill Gallery will present the new works of Barnaby Barford and Gallery FUMI will showcase a group show that explores the themes of Growth and Form. Kravitz Contemporary's collaboration with design platform Fels will be hosted as Signals, a showcase designed with the intent of exploring materiality, process and scale in tandem with form and function; and waste design company and conscious creative agency, ARE YOU MAD will present a hyper local recycling experiment with Create from Waste. sketch's sketch Art & Design 2023, Liberty's More Than A Store By Liberty, London Art Collective's On Purple: The Purpose of Hue, and showcases by Studio Altus, Georgia Wang, V-ZUG Studio, Alpha-Kilo, BDDW gallery, APPARATUS, and Holly Hunt are amongst the other showcases within the district. Several works by students of the MA Interior design graduate programme at Kingston University will also mark a presence at the festival.

Talks within the district include Harris Bugg Studio's Cities for everyone: accessible design is good for us all and Sarah Myerscough Gallery's Making It: The Landscape of Craft, Design and Art Today. Vitsœ's The Modernist Book Fair is a two-day event comprising the showcase of curated literary works and an evening of talks. Various brands such as Holly Hunt, SoShiro Collections, Bryan O’Sullivan Collection, Ralph Pucci, Poliform, Minoli, and Porcelanosa will present new launches.

Park Royal Design District

This West London hub is one of the Mayor’s of London's newest Creative Enterprise Zones. Having incubated new talent, the district promises to offer a programme of ‘exhibitions, open studios, demonstrations, workshops and launches across a range of disciplines – from leathercraft and millinery to furniture and glasswork.’

West London Art Factory - Elliot Minor | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
West London Art Factory - Elliot Minor Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Several studios will welcome visitors to discover the works of artists, designers and makers working in the area. At Bill Amberg Studio, visitors will get a chance to view their new collection of sustainably sourced wood and leather furniture. At 42 Gorst Studios, which hosts a multidisciplinary community of creatives, one can participate in interactive exhibitions. Other such practices and collectives include Queensrollahouse, Park Royal Works, EX2, London Hackspace, West London Art Factory, Excelsior Studios, Standard Studios, Artwest, Klatch Studio and POW Workshops. In addition to granting the opportunity to view the works of creatives, one will also get a chance to learn and participate in the making of innovative crafts and designs, and an insight into the processes that lead to a creative product. Re-Made in Park Royal will present an array of salvaged and innovatively configured creations such as wood pallets, film sets, shop interiors and raw clay, by local artists and makers and designing future's Self, Expression of will present paintings, drawings, collages and multi-media works. Imperial College London's Park Royal Challenge will collaborate with artist and makers 'to solve real-world problems through craft, design, technology and innovation.'

Shoreditch Design Triangle

Now in its 15th edition, Shoreditch Design Triangle 2023 hosts various exhibitions that address the theme of circularity and sustainability, play host to a range of interactive workshops and events, and platform various talks and panel discussions.

LEGO x It's Nice That host an interactive showcase at London Design Festival | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
LEGO x It's Nice That host an interactive showcase at London Design Festival Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

From LEGO® Group and It’s Nice That’s invitation to build lego botanicals to SCP’s exhibition Soft Power, which presents sustainable creations and workshops that promise to teach various individual crafts, the range of events in this arena is diverse. Some of the events in the area include Vitra’s Hackability of the Stool, Donna Wilson’s talk, Six Dots Design’s The Localist Cafe, Osmose Studio’s pop-up, The House by M.A.H’s The Bedroom & Study, Art Practice’s group exhibition, and more.

Southwark Design District

The Southwark Design District is known for the vibrant, creative and multicultural communities it houses. “Southwark Design District facilitates an inclusive and sustainable design community in South East London. We celebrate local designers, makers and creators who work, live and play in the area through diverse design happenings. We connect our community, culture, education and enterprise to bring about a local creative economy. Our purpose is to diversify design and make it accessible to everyone in Southwark,” reads the description on their website.

Peckham Festival | London Design Festival 2023 | STIRworld
Peckham Festival Image: Courtesy of London Design Festival 2023

Amongst the events hosted in this area is Microclimates, a group exhibition and festival themed on social change, by Camberwell College of Arts; Evolving Docks by Bizzie Bodies, which brings together local change-makers to host workshops with the intent of driving digital inclusion. 11:11 is a group exhibition of 11 established creatives alongside 11 emerging artists and designs. While The Urban Elephant Festival is a three-day event that includes Latin dance, global music, and world food, street art and performances, the Peckham Festival features a free weekend-long arts and music festival for all ages. Stéphane Barbier Bouvet, in his open studio, will show works developed in collaboration with Maniera Gallery in Brussels. Other open studio programmes include those hosted by Kaldewei and Hotel Elephant. Some talks in the area are Type and Place – Local to Global by Dalton Maag Ltd, and In Conversation with Koby Martin and Levi Naidu-Mitchell by Peckham Platform. Lastly, London College of Communication, UAL, in partnership with Elephant Park, hosts a series of installations, talks and workshops at The Tree House, with the intent of connecting the community and enriching the cultural exchange in the area.

Design Fairs and Partner Events

While the Design Fairs at LDF stage some major consumer and trade shows, the Partner programme will host a Launch Pad this year. It is an initiative that aims to platform designers who typically face barriers in accessing the festival’s partnership scheme.

Amongst the design fairs hosted in the city are the London Design Fair and the Material Matters exhibition. While the former, scheduled to return from September 21 to 24, 2023, is regarded as UK's leading fair for cutting-edge design, brands, makers, pavilions, and galleries, the latter comprises showcases by world-class brands, manufacturers, designers and makers, a talks programme and installations focussed on celebrating the importance of materials in design and architecture.

Some Partner Events that are part of the week-long festival include exhibitions such as Carpenters Workshop Gallery's showcase of Niko Koronis's marble work; Stanley Picker Gallery's A World of Islands, which brings together artistic perspectives around the theme of 'movement of indigenous knowledge, practices, materials and people.' Brands such as Vitra, Fritz Hansen, HAY, &Tradition, Aram, FLOOR_STORY, and Poliform will present sci-fi-inspired installations, and the latest furniture, lighting, rug and accessory collections. Shanghai Design Week will host a guest exhibition Design to Wonderland, showcasing the latest designs from Chinese consumer brands alongside a series of forums pivoted on industrial ecology, digital design, design trends and cross-disciplinary discussions. Chance Projects will host a workshop on porcelain cup-making techniques and Camden Town Unlimited & Euston Town BID will explore public space design with an exhibition. Lastly, ARE YOU MAD will present objects made from waste and curator and educational consultant Amanda Johnston and The Sustainable Angle Team will host an interactive programme with the intent of talking about new sustainable materials.

London Design Festival is back! In its 21st edition, the faceted fair adorns London with installations, exhibitions, and talks from major design districts including Shoreditch Design Triangle, Greenwich Peninsula, Brompton, Design London, Clerkenwell Design Trail, Mayfair, Bankside, King's Cross, and more. Click here to explore STIR’s highlights from the London Design Festival 2023.

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