A giant inflatable playground, a mirrored tiny home, and a voyeuristic vision of Italian postwar art… yes, London Design Festival has arrived again. Over 400 events happening across the city this September, so we’ve narrowed them down to a list of 10 essential installations, many of which offer a chance to acquaint yourself with some of the lesser-known parts of London.
Villa Walala by Camille Walala
Using her instantly recognisable graphic style, Camille Walala has created an architectural playground of inflatable pillars in Broadgate’s Exchange Square in partnership with British Land. Her London Design Festival installation borrows classic children’s building block shapes, pairing them with oversized patterns and bright colours, all designed to help visitors de-stress.
Urban Cabin by Sam Jacobs
Tapping into the tiny home trend is Sam Jacob’s mirrored micro cabin, which is popping up in the Oxo Tower Wharf courtyard. Designed as part of research into the future of living, the house includes a miniature library – appropriately stocked with literature on the history of life in London – a shared kitchen, and a hammock for London Design Festival visitors that need a moment to recoup.
Reflection Room by Flynn Talbot
Australian artist Flynn Talbot has taken over the V&A’s Prince Consort Gallery, transforming its ornate interior with a mirrored light installation that plays with perception. Talbot has covered the space using fabric panels with bright orange and blue LED lights woven into them as a nod to the history of the room – which was once home to 30,000 textile samples.
(Un)Comfort Zone by DimoreGallery
Visitors become voyeurs at DimoreGallery’s Mazzoleni London exhibition, which features a set of five domestic scenes viewed through a series of peepholes. Designed to showcase the gallery’s collection of Italian postwar art, each room is decked out in vintage pieces paired with rich colours and hints of strange happenings – keep your eyes peeled for the razor blade in the bedroom.
On Repeat by Universal Design Studio
This ‘pavilion of repetition’ hopes to encourage visitors to daydream to unlock their creativity – based on research that suggests wandering minds help free thoughts. Artists, chefs and musicians will be on hand to help guests create repeat elements that will gradually cover the ceiling of the space conceived Universal Design Studio and The Office Group.
While We Wait by Elias and Yousef Anastas
This totem-like London Design Festival installation, designed by Bethlehem architects Elias and Yousef Anastas and hosted in the V&A, reflects on the separation wall currently being constructed in Palestine’s Cremisan Valley. The self-supporting structure – which has been created using a mix of robotic cutting and traditional techniques – rises up in a lace-like lattice made from limestone. Video and audio elements recreate the sights and sounds of the valley, where it’s set to take up permanent residence after London Design Festival finishes.
16 – 24 September, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Space10 Pop-up: Exploring Spaces of Tomorrow
Ikea’s research lab will decamp to Protein Studios in Shoreditch for this six-day series of London Design Festival installations, workshops and talks exploring what our living and working spaces might look like in the future. Collaborators include research studio FranklinTill, retail space agency Appear Here and open-source architecture studio WikiHouse.
Peter Pilotto’s townhouse takeover
Fashion label Peter Pilotto brings its Autumn/Winter 2017 catwalk to a Cromwell Place townhouse, which will be filled with paintings, sculpture and furniture by the likes of Bethan Laura Wood, Max Lamb and Martino Gamper – all originally designed for the show. The label will take over all three floors of the building, which will be transformed with a vibrant collection of pieces.
Green House cafe by Darkroom
If you’re in need of a festival pick-me-up, Darkroom’s Green House café offers coffee in relaxing greenery-filled surrounds. The London store is showing a planted installation, incorporating its new collection of graphic-patterned pots, alongside furniture, all of which is available to buy. If the leafy environment inspires you, Darkroom is also hosting hanging basket workshops throughout September to help you recreate it.
The Roman Singularity by Adam Nathaniel Furman
The Sir John Soane’s Museum hosts a collection of 3D-printed models by architectural designer Adam Nathaniel Furman, created to honour Rome’s storied reputation. Designed while Furman was living in the city, and partly based on his observations, the miniature buildings create an imaginary ceramic Roman city that blends real and imaginary elements.