What to See at London Design Festival 2021

London Design Festival returns this month for the 19th time to showcase the best of the capital’s design offerings. Curated to enable people to rediscover the capital after a year of being locked away, here are the festival highlights not to be missed…

Photo: Between Forests and Skies by Nebbia Works,V&A

1 The Makers’ Market, The Royal Exchange, Bank 
In its 450th anniversary year, The Royal Exchange hosts The Makers’ Market, a platform for design-led brands and makers. The likes of Rekha Maker LTD, Hung Studio and Rye & Moor will exhibit and sell unique, handcrafted homeware, planters, jewellery, furniture, bits and bobs and more, in a specially created pop-up space on the mezzanine level inside the grand courtyard. Products are handmade and handcrafted in the UK, using craftsmanship techniques and classical materials including textiles, leather, ceramic and wood.
Monday, September 20-Friday, September 24; 10.30am-6pm; Bank, City of London, EC3V 3LR; theroyalexchange.co.uk

2 Brompton Design District
The festival’s oldest design district features established design brands as well as a programme curated by Jane Withers Studio around the theme, From Here Onwards. This includes New Contracts, a collection of work that explores what the future should look like by Royal Academy MA Design Products graduates. Design Exhibition Scotland presents a material-led exhibition that rethinks material applications with circularity and sustainability as their driving force. American Hardwood Export Council and Wallpaper* present Discovered, a new project to promote the work of 20 next generation designers at The Design Museum, and Japan House’s exhibition Tokyo 1964: Designing Tomorrow tells the story of the pioneering design strategy of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. District late night is Thursday, September 23.

3 Bring London Together by Yinka Ilori, central London
You may have already seen some of the public art brightening up the West End as part of Sadiq Khan’s Let’s Do London campaign, and here, Yinka Ilori will add even more colour to central London streets. Bring London Together is a temporary public art project that unleashes colour onto pedestrian crossings on Tottenham Court Road, with Ilori’s signature bright, geometric style. From September 20 and across two days, volunteers are invited to paint the Queen Street pedestrian area to give life to the artwork. Yinka Ilori will also be in conversation with Rosa Bertoli on Wednesday, September 22.
Central London around Tottenham Court Road, free 

Medusa, by Tin-Drum at the V&A, London Design Festival. Photo: V&A

4 Medusa by Tin Drum, V&A museum, South Kensington
Similar to augmented reality, Tin Drum’s mixed reality installation seamlessly mixes reality with what you see on your headset. And based on your movements, what you see changes and evolves based – pretty cool, huh? Made in collaboration with Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto and part inspired by the aurora borealis and underwater bioluminescence, Medusa looks at the relationship between nature, art and architecture. It also sounds like a pretty great experience in its own right. This is selling out quick, so book soon.
September 18-19, 22-23, 25-26; 10am-5.20pm; free but tickets must be pre-booked; The Raphael Gallery; Cromwell Road, South Kensington; SW7 2RL; vam.ac.uk

5 Design London Trade Show by Design London at Magazine House, Greenwich Peninsula
One of the festival districts, Greenwich Peninsula will host Design London, a showcase of cutting-edge furniture, lighting and interior brands. It features both established and emerging designers including Dutch furniture producers Artifort and Van Rossum, scandi brand Fredericia Furniture, and London’s own sculptural, bespoke lighting studio Cameron Design House. There’s also a programme of talks led by the industry’s best including Yinka Ilori, Henry Holland and Pearson Lloyd.
September 22-25, Magazine London, 1 Ordnance Cresent, SE10 0JH

6 Between Forests and Skies, by Nebba Works, V&A museum, South Kensington
Also on at the V&A, Nebbia Works has created an immersive, low-carbon pavilion made out of aluminium which is both delicate and robust. The structure, which appears to float on The John Madejski Garden pond plays with light and shadow and reflection. Admire it at a distance, or walk through the installation, or even take a seat between one of the aluminium legs. V&A is the festival’s hub so there’s lots to see at the museum during the festival. Here’s the V&A festival programme in full.
September 18-26 19, 22-23, 25-26; 10am-5.20pm; free and unticketed; The John Madejski Garden Cromwell Road, South Kensington; SW7 2RL; vam.ac.uk

7 Campbell Hay x Art of Ping Pong exhibition, Islington
Park ping pong – a pastime for youngsters, hipsters and Berliners – just got even more on point with this exhibition. Eight ping pong tables, each covered in bold and bright graphics, are brought to life with Instagram filters that animate the tables using augmented reality. So now you can enjoy playing the game regardless of your coordination levels. Islington is also a design district, so there’s lots to explore here too.
September 18-26, 8am-11pm; free and unticketed; Islington Square, 16 Upper Street, N1 1AB; islingtondesigndistrict.co.uk

London Design Festival is on September 18-26; londondesignfestival.com