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London Design Festival: the best bits

The annual celebration of all things design returns to the capital in September. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss at London Design Festival 2019

Void at London Design Festival
Photograph: London Design Festival

The London Design Festival is massive. It spans dozens of locations, features a ridiculously long events programme, dozens of installations, workshops and talks and has one clear mission: to prove that our city is the capital of design.

This year is its seventeenth annual celebration and the majority of events take place from September 14-22 2019 (though some of the installations will stick around a bit longer). It’s the ultimate chance to discover design and craft at its very best. But, with some mighty London museums at its helm, 11 different 'Design Districts’, five ‘Design Destinations’ across town, and two ‘Design Routes’, where do you even start? We’ve picked some highlights below so you can craft your ideal visit to London Design Festival 2019.

Explore London Design Festival 2019

Dame Vivienne Westwood
Kamil Kustosz
Things to do, Talks and lectures

Global Design Forum

icon-location-pin V&A, South Kensington

This week-long series of talks and workshops brings together some of the biggest names and thinkers in contemporary design. Dame Vivienne Westwood will be delivering the keynote: ‘Sustainability revolution: The role of activism in designing a sustainable future’. Other topics up for dicussion are biodiversity, urban farming and political approaches to design. 

Photograph: ‘Take the Plunge’ London Design Festival
Things to do, pop-ups

‘Take the Plunge’

icon-location-pin Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank

Venture into a strange crimson cave filled with what appear to be giant breadsticks for an ‘oceanic journey’ at Bargehouse Oxo Tower Wharf. It won’t look like much from the outside, but inside, you’ll find a warm, multi-sensory depiction of a sunset under the sea.

Photograph: ‘Please be Seated’ London Design Festival
Things to do, pop-ups

‘Please Be Seated’

icon-location-pin Broadgate, Broadgate

Turn the curves of this huge sculptural installation into your own personal orthopaedic backrest. The four concentric wiggles, created by British designer Paul Cocksedge from old scaffolding planks, can be found in Broadgate.

Photograph: ‘Saturation Surge’ London Design Festival
Things to do, pop-ups

‘Saturation Surge’

icon-location-pin Wembley Stadium, Wembley

Irish artist Maser has been commissioned to grace the Spanish Steps at Wembley (the big staircase connecting Wembley Stadium to the SSE Arena) with a giant mural. As is the Maser way, it’ll be filled with more bold colours than a ’90s shellsuit. Time to choose a musical number for your glamorous descent.


Things to do, Exhibitions


icon-location-pin Collins Music Hall, Angel

See a multicoloured galaxy created using rubies and emeralds. Void is brought to life through photographs of the semi-precious stones that are magnified and projected over the walls. Step into the Void on Sunday to see the space vibrate with a performance from female electronic drone choir NYX (£5).

Photograph: Musicity x Low Line London Design Festival
Things to do, pop-ups

‘Musicity x Low Line’

icon-location-pin The Low Line, Bankside

For this musical installation, 15 musicians and sound artists were asked to compose new tracks that responded to buildings nestled in railway viaducts from Bankside to Bermondsey. Each composition can be streamed for free on a smartphone, but only when you visit the buildings in person. Want the tunes? Then go walk the (Low) Line.

Find more fun things to do in September

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