Top 10 Tips for the London Design Festival

by Katie Treggiden in News & Noteworthy

Between now and 23rd September, London will be alive with design. But with 133 events taking place on the first day alone, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s our guide to what you shouldn’t miss…

All events run throughout the festival unless stated otherwise.

1. The V&A is the festival hub and has enough going on to occupy you for the whole month. Go in, get lost, explore.

V&A, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL, 10am-5.45pm, free entry.

2. When you’ve finished at the V&A, take some time to explore the surrounding area. It’s full of design shops and showrooms, many of which have special events taking place for the festival.

Brompton Design District, Brompton, Opening times vary, most are free entry.

3. 100% Design is trade show, open to the public on Saturday 22nd September. It’s like stepping into the pages of a design magazine – and the entrance tunnel looks like it’s going to be an experience in itself.

100% Design, Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, SW5 9TA, £15, Wednesday 19th – Saturday 22nd September, 10am – 7pm, (10am – 5pm on Saturday)

4. TENT errs more towards upcoming and independent talent. It’s a great place to spot new trends – and this year it’s also hosting Super Brands.

TENT London / Super Brands London, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1, £8 in advance, £10 on the door, Thursday 20th – Sunday 23rdSeptember, 10am – 7pm

5. While you’re in the East, pop into Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb shop – you’ll see 200 cut-crystal glass bulbs hanging from the ceiling of an old-fashioned shop, complete with sawdust floor and shopkeeper.

Lee Broom Gallery, 93 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY, free entry, 10am – 8pm

6. Limited-edition prints from the likes of the Bouroullec Brothers are not to be missed.

The Wrong Shop Editions, twentytwentyone Showroom, 18c River Street EC1R 1XN, free entry, 9.30am-5.30pm

7. designjunction and Tramshed will be showcasing shiny new design in an old Royal Mail sorting office.

designjunction / Tramshed, The Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1BA, free with pre-registration, Wednesday 19th – Sunday 23rdSeptember, 10am – 7pm

8. If you’re interested in architecture and fancy doing something for charity, try Maggie’s Night Hike. As part of London Open House, you can do a 10- or 20-mile sponsored walk through the night accessing some of London’s most interesting architecture. The route includes a ride on the London Eye if you get there in time. Register in advance and get fundraising…

Maggie’s Night Hike, Starts at Leadenhall Market EC3V, £35 pp plus £185 fundraising commitment for 10 miles, £40 pp plus £285 fundraising commitment for 20 miles, £5 discount for groups of four or more, register online in advance, Friday 21st September, from 6.30pm.

9. Decorex, another trade show, starts on Sunday 23rd September, so just sneaks into LDF. The public day is on Tuesday 25th.  This is the most high-end of LDF’s events – Vivienne Westwood has even designed the entrance.

Decorex, Royal Chelsea Hospital, SW3 4SR, Sunday 23rd – Tuesday 25th September, 10am – 6pm

10. Clerkenwell Design District is another area worth wondering around. There are pop-up shops galore, including Pop Up / Pop Down, Inspired by London and Today’s Specials – all of which are worth checking out.

Pop Up / Pop Down Industrial Facility, 2nd Floor, 20 Britton Street, EC1M 5UA, free, 10am – 6pm

Inspired by London, Craft Central, 33-35 St Johns Square, EC1M 4DS 10am – 4pm

Today’s Specials, Chest of Drawers, 281 Upper Street, N1 2TZ, free, 10am – 6pm

5 Top tips for getting the best out of the festival:

1. Grab a copy of the London Design Festival guide and an Icon Design Trail as soon as you can. They’re available free from most LDF venues and will help you both plan your day and spot off-the-beaten-track events.

2. If you’ve got an iPhone, download the free iPhone app, too.

3. Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be on your feet for most of the day.

4. Carry as little as possible and bring a cloth tote bag you can pop leaflets and business cards into. You’ll be amazed how many you can amass.

5. You can’t possibly see it all, so don’t kill yourself trying to. Enjoy what are you seeing and don’t worry too much about the rest.


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