It’s almost time for the London Design Festival 2021, from 18 to 26 September. Nine days and over 200 events, including exhibitions, installations, presentations, trade shows, public artworks on the streets and in museums, and happenings in the most outstanding design showrooms and emerging districts.
“After 18 very arduous months for our sector, the Festival is incredibly pleased to be able to offer design talents a platform in which to show their work,” says Ben Evans, director of the London Design Festival. “Across 10 districts, in Design London and various partner events the public will have an opportunity to discover a thrilling showcase of design in all of London, illustrating the breadth and depth of the talent that exists in this city.”
New developments include the opening on 15 September of the Design London district, a new permanent creative hub formed by 16 buildings in the Greenwich Peninsula area, one of the most recent and interesting developments in the capital for designers, creative talents, makers, start-ups and artists. Greenwich Peninsula is also the home of a new design destination, the trade show Design London, from 22 to 25 September, taking the place of what was once known as 100% Design.
The protagonist of the Festival is the English designer and artist of Nigerian origin, Yinka Ilori, whose public art project Bring London Together invites the local community to paint the pedestrian zone of Queen Street, generating a colorful collective artwork. The young designer believes that design and art should be accessible to all, not closed up inside museums.
The Festival takes place in the Design Districts, ten of them this year: Brompton Design District, Clerkenwell Design District, Islington Design District, King’s Cross Design District, Mayfair Design District, Shoreditch Design Triangle, William Morris Design Line, and the new Design District at Greenwich Peninsula, Park Royal Design District and Southwark South Design District.
Initiatives not to be missed include Discovered, from 13 September to 10 October, at the London Design Museum, the project of the American Hardwood Export Council to promote 20 young talents from 16 different countries, invited to create an object in sustainable American hardwood, based on their personal experiences during the pandemic.
One of the landmark projects, Medusa by Tin Drum in collaboration with the famous Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto at the Victoria&Albert Museum, is an immersive mixed-reality installation that blends architecture, nature and art – this event already promises to be a high on Instagram during the design week.
Festival commissions include Mellifera: The Dancing Bees by the French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani, with dizzying 3D printed hives in bioplastic obtained from fermented sugar, dancing in the lobby of the historic Fortnum & Mason to underline the importance of bees in cities.
In the vibrant King’s Cross area, The Unboxing Show looks at the potential of cardboard: the designer and tutor Peter Marigold has involved various designers, including the Campana Brothers, Marti Guixe and Faye Toogood, just to name a few, in the creation of an object that can be made in cardboard; the sketches are transformed into digital projects that can be inserted in CNC machinery to cut out the finished model. The audience at Coal Drops Yard can build their pieces free of charge, stamped and numbered, with the help of lab assistants. The projects are also available online for those who want to do-it-themselves at home.
Finally, there is the special commission The Cube by Velux, at the Observation Point on South Bank, an art installation by the Danish firm Henning Larsen produced by the company Velux, a mosaic of windows for rooftops that will function as a sanctuary, where people can rest and enjoy the benefits of natural light, with sounds that reproduce the gentle rhythms of the sea, rain and wind, for an experience that stimulates all five senses, with the help of Bang & Olufsen.