Take Our Tour of the London Design Festival

by Jamie Mitchell in News & Noteworthy

Taking place between 14 and 22 of September, the London Design Festival (LDF) is the biggest and most eagerly anticipated event in the UK design calendar – and it’s not just for industry insiders.

Here’s our guide to visiting the major design shows that take place throughout the festival.


The Sorting Office, New Oxford Street, WC1 – open to the public every day, 18-22 September


Now in its third year, one of LDF’s youngest design shows is now also one of its most popular, and features three vast floors of furniture, lighting and product design from around the world, set against the industrial backdrop of an old Royal Mail sorting office. New this year will be an area devoted to high-end decorative lighting while some 30 design-led ‘pop-up’ shops will sell furniture, fashion, art, ceramics, glassware, books, watches and accessories. Fans of 20th century collectibles will be able to purchase originals from the Midcentury Modern section.

Southbank Centre

Belvedere Road, SE1 – open to the public every day, 18-22 September


The Southbank Centre is the venue for LDF regular Designersblock, which shows off the work of talented young designers, this year with areas dedicated to Swedish, Mexican and Indian design talent.

There’s also an exhibition of 1950s design, exploring the icons of the 1951 Festival of Britain and highlights of Mid-Century Modern style, curated by Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway.

For lunch there’s a special, design-themed Real Food Market and from here it’s just a short walk to the Tate Modern, where you can experience one of the festival’s star attractions, Endless Stair, an outdoor installation made of 15 interlocking wooden staircases and reminiscent of the work of Dutch graphic artist Escher.

100% Design

Earls Court, Warwick Road, London, SW5 – open to the public Saturday 21st September

One of the stalwarts of the London Design Festival, 100% Design features an amazing selection of contemporary designer products including furniture, lighting and accessories. This comprehensive show is organised into four industry sectors – Interiors, Office, Kitchen & Bathroom and Eco Design & Build – each arranged around its own specially-designed ‘hub’.

Swing Tag Sunday at Tent London and Superbrands London

Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street, E1; Sunday 22 September


If you have your eye on a Ligne Roset coffee table, want to make a statement in your hallway with a Surface View mural or source the latest accessories from the newest designers, Swing Tag Sunday, part of twin design shows Tent London and Superbrands London, is the perfect opportunity. For one day only, the event organised in partnership with interiors magazine Living etc. will see prices slashed on some of the world’s most desirable furniture and home accessory brands.

100% Norway

Old Truman Brewery Hanbury Street, E1 – open to the public every day 19-22 September


Organised by London-based design journalist Henrietta Thompson and Benedicte Sunde, a design curator from Oslo, 100% Norway has been bringing the best in Norwegian design to London for a decade. This year’s 10th anniversary show features work by 10 new and established Norwegian designers, each with their own take on the illustrious tradition of Scandinavian design.


Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, Lots Road, SW10 – open to the public Tuesday 24 September

Taking place in the chic Chelsea Harbour, with 99 showrooms and over 500 brands producing everything from fabrics, wall coverings, tiles and carpets to furniture, lighting, accessories, kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living, Focus is a one of the festival’s prime locations for anyone with an interest in home interiors. As always the event will see many new product launches, and this year there’s also a specially designed Tatler restaurant.

Visitors can take a free shuttle service between Sloane Square and the Design Centre, which stops at selected Chelsea showrooms as well as another essential design event, Decorex International…

Decorex International

Perks Field & The Orangery, Kensington Palace – open to the public Tuesday 24 September

The longest-established of the LDF design shows, Decorex this year takes place at the beautiful 18th century Orangery at Kensington Palace, where more than 300 companies will exhibit new products ranging from contemporary, traditional and bespoke furniture to lighting, floor coverings, fabrics and wall coverings, accessories and bespoke services.

New to this year’s show will be two tents in Perks Field which will house outdoor living and lifestyle brands.

Many of the design shows at LDF experience large numbers of visitors, so visit each event’s website for advice about pre-registration.

London Design Festival – www.londondesignfestival.com

designjunction – thedesignjunction.co.uk

Southbank Centre – www.southbankcentre.co.uk

100% Design – www.100percentdesign.co.uk

Tent London and Superbrands London – www.tentlondon.co.uk

100% Norway – 100percentnorway.com

Focus/13 – www.londondesignfestival.com/events/focus13

Decorex International – www.decorex.com

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