10 must-see London Design Festival installations

From urban cabins to ceramic cities

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

Villa Walala this year's Landmark Project in Broadgate (c) Camille Walala / Courtesy of London Design Festival 2017
Villa Walala (c) Camille Walala / Courtesy of London Design Festival 2017

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.

16 – 24 September, Exchange Square, 100 Liverpool Street, EC2M 2RH

Urban Cabin by Sam Jacobs

Courtesy of MINI Living & Sam Jacob / London Design Festival
Courtesy of MINI Living & Sam Jacob

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.

16 – 24 September, Courtyard at Oxo Tower Wharf, SE1 9GY

Reflection Room by Flynn Talbot

Reflection Room render, Flynn Talbot (c) Courtesy of the V&A

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.

16 – 24 September, Prince Consort Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW17 2RL

(Un)Comfort Zone by DimoreGallery

DimoreGallery's uncomfort zone exhibition
Courtesy of DimoreGallery / Mazzoleni

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.

5 – 24 September, Mazzoleni London, 27 Albemarle Street, W1S 4HZ

On Repeat by Universal Design Studio

Universal Design Studio x The Office Group at London Design Festival 2017
Credit: David Cabrera. Courtesy of Universal Design Studio / Shoreditch Design Triangle

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.

16 – 25 September, Black & White Shoreditch, 74 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY

While We Wait by Elias and Yousef Anastas

Elias and Yousef Anastas: While We Wait at London Design Festival 2017
While We Wait installation render, 2017. © Elias & Yousef Anastas / Courtesy of the V&A

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

Space10: The Spaces of Tomorrow at London Design Festival 2017
Credit: Space10

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.

18-23 September, 31 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, EC2A 3EY

Peter Pilotto’s townhouse takeover

Peter Pilotto at London Design Festival 2017
Courtesy of Brompton Design District

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.

18 September – 15 October, 3 Cromwell Place, SW87 2JN

Green House cafe by Darkroom

Dark Green House cafe at London Design Festival 2017
Courtesy of Darkroom / Shoreditch Design Triangle

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.

16 September – 15 October, The Old Shoreditch Station, 1 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, E2 8AD

The Roman Singularity by Adam Nathaniel Furman

The Roman Singularity by Adam Nathaniel Furman at Sir John Soane Museum, London Design Festival 2017
Photography: Roberto Apa / via Sir John Soane Museum London

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.

16 September – 19 October, Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP

Read next: Camille Walala gives an Ohio bank a technicolour coat



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