London Design Festival 2020: the 10 must-see events

The installations, exhibitions and protagonists not to be missed during the most important week of design in London, in both virtual and physical settings. From 12 to 20 September

The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Somerset House © Kevin Meredith
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Somerset House © Kevin Meredith

A more limited, more local edition, but not without its high points of creativity and experimentation. The London Design Festival, from 12 to 20 September in London, is an occasion not to be missed for those who want to know more about emerging talents, new trends, experimental currents, and the most influential studios on the international scene. Research and creativity are part of the DNA of a city that even in this uncertain period strives to be the capital of design, with the most important schools and showrooms, ateliers and architecture firms. Appointments, site-specific installations, product presentations and exhibitions, around the city or online.
Here’s our selection.

The Hothouse by Studio Weave
The Hothouse by Studio Weave

1. The Hothouse by Studio Weave
A maxi-installation that suggests a Victorian glass house, a large, exotic jungle inside International Quarter London, the new development near Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a habitat made under the supervision of garden designer Tom Massey, featuring edible plants from all over the world like avocado, pineapple, quinoa, guava, varieties that according to scientists could be cultivated in the United Kingdom by 2050, due to the trend of global warming. The Hothouse will be on view for one years, demonstrating the growth and evolution of the various species across the seasons.

UNITY by Marlene Huissoud
UNITY by Marlene Huissoud

2. Unity by Marlene Huissoud
The French artist invites the public at Coal Drops Yard, in the lively King’s Cross district, to gather (at two meters of distance from each other) in a circle, a metaphor to point to the importance of sticking together in a time in which society is closed and guarded, due to the pandemic.

Design Centre Chelsea Harbour
Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

3. Focus/20 al Design Centre Chelsea Harbour
120 showrooms present new furniture collections in a hybrid virtual-real way. Starting with the virtual opening, on Sunday 13 September, and continuing with a program of talks and conversations. For more info see here.

I designer protagonisti di Connected

4. Connected
The hybrid virtual-physical projects include Connected, an investigation of how the spaces and ways of working of designers and artisans have changed. For this project, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Benchmark Furniture and the Design Museum have asked nine international designers to create a table and a seat for the home office. The nine results will be on view, first virtually and then in the fall at the Design Museum of London. The designer, just to name a few, include Spain’s Jaime Hayon, the English Heatherwick Studio, German Sebastian Herkner and the Italians of Studiopepe.

5. Virtual Design Destination
By registering at the Adorno platform, you can learn about the events of the Virtual Design Destinations, 14 pavilions presented by 26 international curators, with a daily collection of collectible design. To sign up visit virtualdesigndestination.com.

William Morris Design Line © Mark Rigney
William Morris Design Line © Mark Rigney

6. Design Districts
Among the design districts taking part in the festival this year, Shoreditch with its vibrant, unconventional sites, Brompton and the showrooms of the most important design brands (including Italians), the emerging King’s Cross, the luxurious Mayfair with the most exclusive shops and art galleries, and two new routes for 2020, William Morris Design Line, in the streets of Walthamstow, and the Peckham Design Trail in South East London.

7. The Circular Design Project
Opened in collaboration by London Design Festival and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to study new strategies of the circular economy for more sustainable design, with a program of encounters and talks. See here the program.

Burst by Tom Dixon, Octagon installation
Burst by Tom Dixon, Octagon installation

8. Octagon by Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon’s studio at King’s Cross is a true must-visit during LDF. This year the visionary designer surprises everyone with Octagon, in his Coal Office, a pathway that combines virtual and real, where the designer’s studio is divided into 8 spaces. The most popular will undoubtedly be the pop-up bar, a teaser for the new extension of the Coal Office restaurant, to be opened in the fall.

9. Architecture for Dogs
Design is paying more attention to our four-legged friends. As is illustrated by the exhibition Architecture for Dogs, from 19 September to 10 January 2021 at Japan House in London: 16 projects by international architects to investigate the relationship between human beings and their furry friends. Protagonists include: Shigeru Ban, Kuma Kengo, Itō Toyō, Sou Fujimoto, Atelier Bow-Wow and Ma Yang Song. Obviously dogs are welcome to visit the show.

10. MSCTY EXPO:
At its first edition, MSCTY EXPO explores the connection between architecture and music, and sets out to be an innovative space of digital encounter for architecture and sound art, to discover. Collaborations include Richard Rogers and Yuri Suzuki, Daniel Libeskind and Yuval Avital, Elsie Owusu and Chisara Agor.