by Ayesha AdonaisAug 01, 2023
Shoreditch Design Triangle, one of the 13 districts that muster an array of design-oriented programmes during the London Design Festival, is set to host a wide range of differently themed events. From design exhibitions that promise to saturate one’s mind with multisensorial experiences to talks that bear the scope of ushering introspection, the area, located in East London will soon liven up with colours, sounds, and experiences suitable for all. The design district, established in 2008, has, in the past 15 years, managed to grow into one of the biggest districts in London, UK. Now in its 15th edition, the district aims to host brands, designers, artists, and visitors on a grand scale.
STIR prepares a mood(y) guide to traverse the design district during the upcoming days of London Design Festival 2023, which is on from September 16 to 24, 2023.
Projects that speak ‘sustainability’
Conceptualised by Joseph Ellwood of Six Dots Design, The Localist Cafe is a space within Shoreditch that brings together over a dozen local creatives, makers, and manufacturers, to build the many parts that make up this functional cafe. Visitors, upon entering the space, will get a glimpse of the possibilities of creative innovation while making use of only locally available materials. “Design enthusiasts will be able to sit within an eclectic cafe on chairs made in Peckham, handle cutlery made in Walthamstow, and eat off crockery made in Elephant and Castle, getting a taste of what London’s local makers have to offer, including objects made by Common Design, Matan Fadida, and Kaymet,” reads an excerpt from the event description. Through the showcase, Six Dots Design aims to advocate the benefits of buying locally-made products.
Another exhibition in Shoreditch that presents objects built by local designers is Re-Create by Solid Floor, a design-led bespoke wooden flooring brand. For the exhibition, Solid Floor invited various multidisciplinary designers, such as Studio Sahil, Corrie Williamson, One Little Girl and A Can of Gasoline, Mason & Painter, Ella Doran, Blake Carlson-Joshua, Christoph Kurtzmann, Makers Department, and Burniture, to build objects using discarded bits, such as leftovers as well as offcuts from installations, of Solid Floor’s luxurious timber flooring. With the showcase of the objects created by these designers, Solid Floor intends to highlight the inherent beauty that these material discards embody, while also encouraging the reuse of waste offcuts.
On view from September 18 to 22, 2023, Bamboo, an exhibition by Jasper Morrison Shop, delves into the exploration of the hidden qualities of bamboo, with some examples from Japan. By shining a light upon the material’s qualities that can tend to contemporary requirements, the showcase helps establish it as a material of the modern world.
Another event at Shoreditch that draws focus to a simple method of building consciously and sustainably is Hand Made Chairs @London Green Wood. On view from September 20 to 24, the exhibition, hosted by London Green Wood—a cooperative of designer-makers—will showcase a series of chairs handmade from fresh logs of wind-blown trees. “Of the tens of thousands of trees lost in London every year, we save a few to make unique chairs and stools (and spoons/bowls/cups/sculptures etc.). Using various techniques with a long history, the logs are transformed into beautiful and functional furniture, which will last for generations,” reads an excerpt from the event description.
Soft Power, an event by SCP, the producer, and supplier of high-quality contemporary furniture, lighting, textiles, and accessories, comprises several different shows under one roof. These include handmade sustainable upholstery designs, sofas and armchairs by Matthew Hilton, Philippe Malouin, Donna Wilson, Wilkinson & Rivera and Terence Woodgate; the Nash Martinez Collection by Roll & Hill; furniture made out of fallen wood by Sarah Kay; furniture and lighting by John Pawson; and sustainable furniture by Carl Clerkin and Alex Hellum.
Time is Running Out: Omse x Plasticfree is an exhibition hosted by One Hundred Shoreditch, in partnership with East London design studio OMSE and PLASTICFREE, the world’s first design tool for a post-plastic future. On view from September 16 to 24, it aims to challenge the way in which we consume food and products, but also time. It intends to drive change through an invigorating exhibit that showcases 24 clocks made in collaboration with various material makers, artists, designers, architects, and change-makers. “In the last six years humans have taken more natural resources out of the earth than in the entire twentieth century; in the next six years we must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to arrest the planetary climate crisis,” the organisers assert.
Moving on from showcases, one can pay a visit to the Shoreditch Electric Light Station on September 18, in order to listen to a panel discussion pertaining to the topic of circularity. The event, namely Realising Circularity: Time For Action, is organised by Morag Myerscough and MINI, and hosts Senior Colour & Material Designer for MINI, Evelin Hartmann; Founder of Smile Plastics, Rosalie MacMillan; and architect, Arthur Mamou Mani, as speakers.
Events that inspire engagement
Amongst the wide array of programmes hosted as part of Shoreditch Design Triangle, various events invite visitors to not only view the showcases laid out for them, but also dip their fingers in, in order to derive a holistic experience of these offerings. Lifestyle brand TOAST promises to host the workshop Weaving With Poppy Fuller Abbot, which will include a demonstration of natural dyeing and weaving by Poppy Fuller Abbot. The event—scheduled for September 24—will allow visitors to weave yarns and warp threads (around a small frame loom) naturally dyed by Abbot using plants grown in her mother’s residence. Another workshop hosted by TOAST, namely Spoon Carving With Ewan Craig, beckons visitors to come learn the art the spoon carving on September 16. Provided with a set of beginner tools and a pre-cut blank spoon, the participants will learn the art of carving from Craig. Both events will be accompanied by exhibitions that showcase the works of Abbot and Craig, respectively.
Art Practice, a production company and creators' studio that supports artists and makers will present a group exhibition entitled Play from September 16 to 24. The exhibition will host the latest creations of Art Practice founder Dan Tobin Smith; design and direction collective, Optical Arts; photographer and director, Maria Lax; and fine artist Daniel Eatock. Themed around the idea of ‘play,’ the exhibition will present alternative and interactive three-dimensional and image-based work, aimed to invigorate the audience.
An immersive exhibition at Hart Shoreditch that promises an interactive adventure, goes by the name of Fundamentals of Caring Exhibition. It is designed in partnership with East London-based artist and illustrator, James Daw. The exhibition will showcase a collaborative collage of work undertaken by Daw alongside 4D animator Lisa Sheehan and photographer and art assistant Anna Rotar.
An experiential and interactive event, hosted by the LEGO Group in collaboration with the publication It’s Nice That, invites visitors to indulge in the play of the LEGO Botanicals Collection. Titled The LEGO® Piece Garden, this event, on view from September 16 to 24, is an easy escape from the competitive showcases across the city. Set up as a colourful spot, visitors can come to play and experiment with the LEGO Botanicals Collection to build vibrant flowers of their choice. These creations will then be installed on the walls of the community garden, hence, helping build an evolving installation.
Mother Goddess of the Three Realms: Cross encounters, joining threads, an exhibition by WAX Atelier, showcases an ongoing project that celebrates the UK and Vietnam’s cross-cultural design and shared heritage. “Led by WAX Atelier (London), in collaboration with the Blue H’mong craftswomen of Pa Co village (Mai Chau), and KILOMET 109 (Hanoi), this exhibition presents the physicality and theatre of turning plant into product. Using rope as the medium and metaphor, cross-cultural ideas and skills from a wider group of designers, architects, and craftspeople are intertwined,” reads a description from the exhibition text, that promises engagement across borders.
Innovations by younger designers
Stationed at Hoxton Arches, It’s All on Show is an exhibition platforming works by students of Kingston School of Art. Ranging from chairs and vases to creations that pose social questions, the showcases offer a glimpse into novel and fresh ideas in the realm of design. A description from the exhibition page reads thus: “It’s All On Show! Our work, our studio, our first steps into the design world. We are a group of emerging 3D designers from Product and Furniture Design at Kingston University, plus, we’re all mates.”
Conversations and talks to invigorate introspection
A portion of all design events is almost always unanimously reserved for talks, conversations, and panel discussions. Without these inclusions, it may become difficult to track progress in the dedicated disciplines these events are centred around. Events such as these also enable one to introspect upon future possibilities of innovation and improvement. Shoreditch Design Triangle hosts a wide array of talks during the London Design Festival.
Donna Wilson 20 Years - Unravelling Two Decades of Design, scheduled for September 18, will witness the London-based designer offer advice pertaining to the launch or growth of their creative business. She will narrate lessons and anecdotes from her 20 years of experience running her own studio, and designing, manufacturing, and selling her colourful homeware, knitwear and accessories. She will be joined by Louise Lockhart, illustrator and founder of The Printed Peanut; Sara Dalrymple, sales trainer and mentor for online business owners; and Tim Rumney, Head of Brand at SCP, for an enthralling panel discussion laden with advice for young designers.
Artist Morag Myerscough and MINI are hosting various talks at Shoreditch during the design festival. They include Nice To Meet You Again, Realising Circularity: Time For Action, and Exploring Colour. While Nice To Meet You Again will include a 30-minute talk by Myerscough, MINI and LDF, discussing the artist’s design installation, and the future of MINI design, Realising Circularity: Time For Action aims to address the topic of circularity and the circular design movement with three panelists in attendance. Exploring Colour, on the other hand, delineates the processes of choosing colours for different products and spaces.
Some other talks that are part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle include Giulio Cappellini In Conversation With Tom Dixon and Barber Osgerby, organised by Istituto Marangoni London; and Jacu Strauss on Design by independent hotel One Hundred Shoreditch. While the former is focused upon the theme of ‘Future Landscapes’ and hosts Tom Dixon and Barber Osgerby as the panelists, the latter poses as a celebration of timeless design, with conversations between Jacu Strauss, Creative Director of Lore Group hotels; Lucy Ward, Head of Brand at Vinterior; and designers Jan Hendzel and Philippe Malouin.
Panels such as Celebrating Myanmar’s Weavers and Women Behind The Weave: Bauhaus to Bosphorus, revolve around the topic of textiles. Celebrating Myanmar’s Weavers, organised by Turquoise Mountain (an organisation that works to protect heritage and communities that are at risk) aims to convey knowledge about the extraordinary textiles from Myanmar, as well as the stories of the artisans behind them. Women Behind The Weave: Bauhaus to Bosphorus, on the other hand, is a panel discussion, organised by artist and designer Christopher Farr, chaired by Caroline Till of Franklin Till and including panelists Ahmet Diller or Kirkit, Reto Aschwanden of NGO Label STEP, and Dorothy Bourne of Christopher Farr. It will mark the launch of a new rug by Bauhaus Master Gunta Stölzl, and bring to focus the specifics of Turkish weaving.
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.