Friday, 23 September 2011

…and you thought festival season was over…

Very excited… It’s arrived… After weeks of anticipation, sleepless nights, impatiently counting the hours, veterinary strength tranquilizers to keep me calm, London Design Festival is finally upon us. I may be exaggerating my excitement levels a bit (or a lot actually, as I am horrendously busy at the moment), but let’s not underestimate what this is – a celebration of the best of the best in the industry and an opportunity for designers to run maniacally around large open spaces filled with temporary stands, drink gallons of fizz and consume far too many canapés. This week is one of my favorites of the entire year and, as a consequence, I turned down a trip to New York, a break in the Alps and a trip to Monaco (I find that holiday opportunities are a bit like buses) so that I could be here in London – so, if you read between the lines, what I am really saying is… it better be bloody good!

The annual festival includes over 250 events and activities and covers a variety of different design disciplines. I thought that you might be interested to learn about some of the main events (most are on through this weekend), as many of them are open to the general public on selected days.

1) Tent London 

For me Tent London is mainly about up and coming designers who are exhibiting their prototype interior products with the aim of being spotted and to get their work into the mainstream. I really love this event as you get to see what ‘new blood’ coming into the design world are thinking – really inspirational. This is the exhibition for the latest contemporary interior products, including; furniture, lighting, ceramics, textiles, materials and accessories. With more than 200 international exhibitors and over 12,000 trade visitors it’s also quite a big event.
When: 22-25 September 
Where: Old Truman Brewery (E1)
Entry: £10 admission fee

2) Shoreditch Design Triangle

To celebrate this year's London Design Festival, 21 shops and galleries in and around the Shoreditch Triangle have joined forces to bring you a week of special design events. Starting on Saturday 18th September, each location will be holding events to launch individual exhibitions and to celebrate and showcase exciting new work.

I love this aspect of the week… wandering around the back streets of Shoreditch and stumbling across the most amazing galleries that the just popped up for the duration of the festival – truly inspirational.

When: Starting 18th September
Where: Shoreditch
Entry: Free

3) Origin: The Contemporary Craft Fair

This is one of my favorite events during the festival and it is where I usually manage to purchase the majority of the presents I need for party season (see my blog from last week)…

This is the show for anyone interested in contemporary craft. Products range from furniture and interior accessories to fashion accessories and jewellery. It’s also great for buying original handmade items directly from the maker.

When: 22-28 September
Where: Old Spitalfields Market
Entry: £10 for a single day ticket, £15 for a multi day ticket

4) 100% Design

This is one of the biggest events during the festival with over 21,000 trade visitors. The focus is contemporary interior design, it includes three exhibitions under one roof: 100% Design (interiors), 100% Materials (surfaces) and 100% Futures (emerging talent).

When: 22-25 September (Sunday 25th General Public)
Where: Earls Court
Entry: Tickets can be purchased in advance online for £15 or register on the door for £20

5) Decorex International

The running theme at Decorex this year is ‘Cherished Places’. This is an exhibition of interior design products for both professional interior designers and interior design retailers.

When: 25-28 September
Where: Royal Hospital Chelsea
Entry: Only Trade Visitors

6) Design Junction 

Bringing together a stellar line-up of leading UK and international lighting and furniture brands, this event is set to excite, inspire and challenge anyone with a passion for design.

When: 22-26 September 2010 from 11am to 6pm
Where: Victoria House Basement, 37-63 Southampton Row, WC1B 4DA
Entry: Free

7) The Dock 

Last year the Veuve Clicquot party hosted by Tom Dixon at the Dock was the pickled liver of Design Week. Set on an industrial waterside estate, The Dock, hosted by Tom Dixon and sponsored by Derwent London is rapidly turning into an epicenter for design innovation. During the festival visitors can expect indoor, outdoor, food and water-based installations, exhibitions and on-the-spot workshops and demonstrations. There are over 25 exhibitors including; Aston Martin, Moooi, Lladro, The Floating Cinema, Print Club London, Designers in Residence, Piet Hein Eek and Innocent Drinks.

When: 19-25 September 2010
Where: Portobello Dock, 344 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5BU
Entry: Free

Well, it’s tired me out just writing that… with stuff going on all over London you need to be a logistical genius to get round it all, but with a good chunk of time, a bit of sensible planning, some flat shoes, a public transport system that works (largely outside of my control, but assume something is going to go wrong) and a few dozen Nurofen (remember the champagne…), it’s set to be a brilliant week. I’ll be so exhausted by the end of it all, I’ll need a holiday – maybe a trip to New York, a relaxing break in the Alps or a weekend away in Monaco…

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