In between hopping across the capital for various client events recently (check out our recent blogs here, here and here if you missed them!), we also managed to find time to squeeze in a quick visit to several of London Design Festival’s highlights this year.
Always a key date in the Rooster calendar, LDF brings together the crème de la crème of interiors brands – both old and new – for a variety of exhibitions, workshops and installations throughout September.
But fear not if you missed this year’s show; we’ve pulled together our key picks and the topical trends to be keeping an eye out for this season.
Fresh from announcing Spiced Honey as Dulux’s Colour of the Year 2019, warm, autumnal shades of orange and yellow were everywhere during LDF – no more so than at Focus/18, held at Chelsea Harbour’s Design Centre. Home to some of the most luxurious brands London has to offer, such as Osborne & Little, Zoffany and Mulberry Home, these cosy hues were awash throughout the Design Centre’s fabric houses.
Raising the bar
A treat for those who love boozing as much as interior design, Mad Atelier reverted its Hackney showroom back to its original format: a pop-up pub. The end result? Perhaps the most stylish public house you’ve ever stepped foot in. With The Canopy Beer Company providing the much-needed beverages, the installation evoked the pub’s original legacy (it was previously a hotbed for punks and rockers), all with Mad Atelier’s signature pop of colour.
The ultimate afternoon tea
Think traditional afternoon teas are a bit too, well, fuddy-duddy? Think again. Dutch duo Scholten & Baijings created a contemporary installation within the walls of Fortnum & Mason exclusively for this year’s show. Offering a far more modern take on the conventional dining experience, the exhibition paired over 80 small, circular discs to create plates, bowls, teapots and mugs, all in a pretty pastel colour palette.
While still respecting Fortnum’s heritage, the porcelain tableware was created in collaboration with Japanese manufacturers 1616/Arita in a hope to appeal to the younger demographic.
One of the most creative offerings during this year’s show came from the London Design Biennale at Somerset House. Comprising four striking exhibitions, four individual countries or cities – Turkey, Latvia, Australia and Dundee – created an interactive installation to represent the theme ‘Emotional States’.
We particularly loved Australia’s concoction, which teamed 150 strands of fibre-optic lights to create the illusion of a rainbow (perhaps to signify Australia’s legalization of same-sex marriage earlier this year), while Latvia’s featured a wall of condensation which invites visitors to write personal messages to nature. If you can’t picture it, we’d recommend checking out Dezeen’s 360-degree video here.
Danish design house Carl Hansen & Son teamed up with The Conran Shop to produce a range of furniture completely upholstered in Huit Denim – perhaps the only fabric to never go out of fashion. On show exclusively in the Marylebone Design District, the collection pairs the brand’s classic shapes with a contemporary twist.
LDF was a busy week for Michael Anastassiades; not only did he debut his collaboration with our very own Bang & Olufsen, but the London-based designer also turned his attention to classical architecture for an installation within the courtyard of the Victoria & Albert Museum. ‘The Fleet’ – otherwise described as a reflective, completely bronze drinking fountain – comprises a shallow bowl with a concealed water dispenser. The overarching purpose is that when users lean over to take a drink, the shiny surface reflects one’s face to completely illuminate it, providing you with that all-over glow that only a week in the sun can create!
Although not a permanent fixture, The Fleet has been designed to be completely timeless – as if it could have been there all these years.
Sustainability is a hot topic in the design world, with many designers and brands turning their attention to their eco footprint. London-based Charlotte Kidger took this one step further by giving new life to polyurethane foam dust by completely transforming it into a cool, colourful furniture range.
The Industrial Craft Collection made use of the by-products of computer numerical control fabrication by using them to make textured tables and stools in various iridescent shades (reminiscent of our very own Bisque Radiators).
designjunction’s new home
One of the larger shows within LDF, designjunction moved to a new home within the Oxo Tower. The former power station, situated on London’s Southbank, has recently become home to a range of designers and design brands (Loewe’s creative director Bodo Sperlein’s office is housed there), so the move is particularly timely. Traditionally home to cutting-edge brands, this year’s exhibitors include Erik Joergensen, New Tendency, Emma Cerasulo and Alex Orso.
Speaking of designjunction, British designer Bethan Gray launched her eagerly anticipated new collection at the show this year. Always a highlight of ours for her ornate patterns and delicate designs, her new Dhow Collection comprises a series of decorative cabinets inspired by traditional dhows – large triangular lateen sails made of cotton. Each piece combines vibrant stained wood and brass marquetry with Gray’s distinctive elegant styling.
The car of the future
Finally, while LDF is traditionally home to design and interiors, it is also renowned for its emphasis on innovation. This is most explicitly demonstrated by LDF’s partnership with French automative firm Renault, which asked Central Saint Martin’s MA students to design ‘the car of the future’. The results were displayed within its King’s Cross campus, and asked students to consider ways in which cars can be used, shared and more accessible than ever before.
The winning concept came from Yuchen Cai for her concept, ‘Float’, which uses magnetic levitation to create a pod-like vehicle.
If you fancy checking out more from London Design Festival, we’d highly recommend taking a look at Dezeen’s detailed guide.