2019 sees London Design Festival return for its 17th edition, with design-focused events happening across the city. For this year’s festival, LDF has partnered with the prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum for a series of specially-commissioned projects, talks and exhibitions. Additionally, big names from across the design world — ranging from Rick Owens and Issey Miyake to Tom Dixon and Max Lamb — have also planned unique experiences.
Ahead of this year’s London Design Festival, which runs until September 22, we’ve pulled together 10 must-see events.
BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE’s “BAO BAO VOICE” Exhibition
BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE has announced an “interactive multi-sensory” event that will celebrate its iconic geometric bags, titled “BAO BAO VOICE,” the exhibition will see the bags moved in particular ways that will create synchronized sounds that also correspond with visuals that will be projected onto a screen inside the exhibition. The innovative installation will also showcase the gradients and colors of different bags, alongside the geometric and playful construction.
31 New Inn Yard
“Bamboo Ring: Weaving Into Lightness” by Kengo Kuma
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has continued to look at the concept of weaving for his installation in the John Madejski Garden of the Victoria & Albert Museum. The 2m-diameter ring is constructed from strips of bamboo, which have combined with carbon fiber and laminated. The large installation is designed as an exploration of pliancy, precision, lightness and strength. Pulling the two ends of the structure will alter its form and half of it will lift into the air. Bamboo was chosen as a sustainable material and also due to its place in Kuma’s memories of his childhood.
Victoria & Albert Museum
Camille Walala’s “Walala Lounge” Installation
London-based artist Camille Walala is set to take over the city’s South Molton Street for the launch of her “Walala Lounge” installation. The installation will showcase Walala’s signature colorful style, and will see the artist redesign 10 sculptural benches and accompanying planters across the street. The benches will all be brightly colored, and will be constructed from large-scale geometric shapes. Additionally, a series of oversized flags will be strung across the street, creating a canopy over the street.
South Molton Street
“Urushi Wajima” by Max Lamb
British designer Max Lamb has focused on the ancient urushi technique for his latest collection of furniture, which comprises of tables, cabinets, shelves, stooles, benches and chairs. For this exhibition, at Gallery Fumi, Lamb was forced to collaborate in order to honor the urushi technique. With urushi, a woodworker brings an item to a neighbor who applies an urushi undercoat. The woodworker then takes the item to more craftspeople who further lacquer the item. Finally, one of only two remaining polishers in Wajima completes the process. To complement the traditionally produced items, Lamb has also selected artworks by his collaborators to exhibit alongside his own.
2 Hay Hill
Rick Owens’ “Glade” Exhibition
During London Design Festival, Rick Owens will debut a new limited-edition collection at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Titled “Glade,” the collection will feature ten individual units and two corner units arranged as a large-scale couch and covered with wool army blankets. Despite being presented as one large piece, all elements can stand separately. Alongside the “Glade” items, the exhibition will also include new aluminum “Prong” stools, a new take on the Curial chair, and eight Aztec crowns, which will give an impression of Owens’ upcoming Paris Fashion Week show.
Carpenters Workshop Gallery
4 Albemarle Street
“Custom Exercise” at Ace Hotel
East London’s Ace Hotel has invited creatives and designers from London and across the world to present products including door stops and room dividers for use in the hotel. The brief for the designers asks them to explore the opportunities created by reusing, repurposing and reinterpreting pre-existing methods, materials and techniques. Alongside Custom Exercise, artist Diego Faivre will open the “Minute Manufacture” pop-up factory and studio that will see him transform everyday objects in his signature style. Attendees will be able to book a slot of time to transform an object of their choice with Faivre.
100 Shoreditch High St
Do Ho Suh at the Victoria & Albert Museum
The Victoria & Albert Museum has commissioned Korean artist Do Ho Suh to create a work in response to the architecture and interiors of London’s Robin Hood Gardens. Demolition of the Brutalist housing estate began in 2017, and the Victoria & Albert acquired a three-storey section of each facade. The resulting film from Suh looks at themes including home, memory and displacement as the estate is demolished. Speaking about the film, Suh explained that he is interested in the “intangible quality” of Robin Hood Gardens and the “energy, history, life and memory that has accumulated there.”
Victoria & Albert Museum
Tom Dixon’s “TouchySmellyFeelyNoisyTasty”
Tom Dixon will transform his entire Coal Office complex into a new multi-sensory lab for the duration of London Design Festival. Titled “TouchySmellyFeelyNoisyTasty,” the installation will cover the studio, store, factory, trade counter, bar and restaurant of the Kings Cross site. These locations will be filled with “the flavors, the fragrances, the sounds, the colors and the textures of the future” alongside other interactive installations, workshops and talks looking at how the five senses and how they will impact design in the future.
The Coal Office
1 Bagley Walk
“Designing In Turbulent Times” by Central Saint Martins, LVMH & Maison/0
In this exhibition, graduates from Central Saint Martins will showcase works across a variety of different design disciplines. All of the projects in the exhibition, which is an initiative of sustainable innovation programme Maison/0 and is supported by LVMH, offer different potential propositions for more sustainable and equitable futures. Alongside the exhibition, a public engagement programme is also being launched that will include a series of sustainable incubation workshops.
Central Saint Martins
1 Granary Square
“VOID” by Dan Tobin Smith & The Experience Machine
Designer Dan Tobin Smith has partnered with The Experience Machine to create “VOID,” an immersive exhibition in North London. The installation allows visitors to travel through a series of large-scale projects of gemstones, designed to blur the boundaries between nature and design. The projections include rubies from Mozambique and emeralds from Zambia which have been magnified to become abstract structures on the wall.
Collins Music Hall
11 Islington Green