London Design Festival (LDF) has been taking place in the capital since 2003, and this year… will be no different. Finally, an annual event has escaped the lockdown cancellation/postponement roadblock that is 2020. In normal circumstances, LDF takes over different areas of the city with a mix of workshops, design showcases and shopping fairs. It’s made adjustments (some elements will be taking place online) but it’s going to be as comprehensive as ever. There will be industry-style exhibitions for the kind of people who really get a buzz off Eames chairs and Artichoke lights, and large-scale public installations for those who just want to see something impressive.
When the festival begins on September 12, a new installation called ‘The Hothouse’ will be placed in International Quarter London (IQL) in Stratford. Reminiscent of a Victorian glasshouse, the structure will be used to grow crops like guava, orange, gourd, chia seed, avocado, pomegranate and quinoa. It won’t just be a pretty public allotment. The intention is to make a point about climate change and ‘our fragile relationship with nature’, by growing crops that would not normally survive in a UK climate.
We have our eye on the ‘Architecture for Dogs’ at Japan House, an exhibition of designs by famous architects like Sou Fujimoto, made specifically for canines. Visitors are invited to bring their own dogs to interact with the exhibits, and will be encouraged to download blueprints of the works, so they can become pet architects themselves. If you thought your Ikea dog kennel was a pain to assemble, try making Konstatin Critic’s Paramount, a tiny vanity cabinet designed for a toy poodle.
Some architects and designers involved have completely upended their original plans to create installations that respond to the strange times we find ourselves in. Unity in Coal Drops Yard will require visitors to ‘inflate’ an installation by French designer Marlene Huissoud using foot pumps. ‘If no one is pumping, the installation will deflate and lose its power and vitality’. It’s a message about working together, and reconsidering our shared environments are we emerge from the lockdown. Basically, a more meaningful bouncy castle, but you don’t get to do somersaults on it at the end.
London Design Festival will take place across the city, Sep 12-20. Find the full programme here.
It’s going to be a busy September for outdoor art – Somerset House is unveiling two new installations next month.
LDF isn’t the only thing that’s making a comeback. The new issue of Time Out London is available to read now.