11 Highlights of London Design Festival 2019

London Design festival returns from 14-22 September with tons of brilliant events, workshops and the launch of two new Design Districts: Chelsea and King’s Cross. This year, you can take a tour of the Roksanda Penthouse in King’s Cross, interact with Sony’s robots of the future at the V&A or chill out at the Walala Lounge in Mayfair…

Lead image: The Walala Lounge

1 Walala Lounge, Mayfair
14-22 September

We’re here for everything Camille Walala does, to be honest. The artist and designer’s trademark use of bold colours and patterns will see South Molton Street in Mayfair transformed into a bold, bright urban living room filled of colourful benches, planters and bunting, assembled from an array of unexpected geometric forms. When commissioned for the project by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Camille decided to make a practical contribution by addressing the lack of places to sit along the boutique-lined pedestrianised street. A long-standing advocate of urban design’s capacity to inspire joy, Camille and her studio team, headed by creative producer Julia Jomaa, have created a set of 11 sculptural benches, accompanied by planters and a series of oversized flags that will be strung, bunting-style, from shopfront to shopfront. The installation will stay in place long after LDF has finished.
South Molton Street in Mayfair W1K;

2 TouchySmellyFeelyNoisyTasty at Tom Dixon, King’s Cross
14-22 September
Tom Dixon will fill his King’s Cross hub with the flavours, the fragrances, the sounds, the colours and textures of the future for duration of London Design Festival 2019. The entire Coal Office – from the studio, shop, factory and trade counters to the bar and restaurant – will become am open house multi-sensory lab with interactive installations, workshops and talks inspired by the five senses and how they shape the future of design. Using the TouchySmellyFeelyNoisyTasty map, you can navigate your way around the hub visiting each exhibition. Upon completion, you’ll get a limited-edition Tom Dixon tote bag (limited allocation per day; first-come, first-served). ‘As designers, we look at everything,’ says Dixon. ‘We determine the shape, the colours and the aesthetics of a space before anything else. But here in the Coal Office we wanted to explore the role that all our other – often lesser recognised senses – contribute to our experiences of design.’ Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm.
King’s Cross N1C 4DQ;

3 I-MADE at Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea
19-22 September
Chelsea, a neighbourhood with an extraordinary design heritage, renowned for its bohemian free thinkers and creatives, makes its Design District debut at London Design Festival this year. From architecture to interiors, fashion and jewellery to fitness and food, Chelsea is rich in artistry and artisan making. To celebrate this, the Chelsea Design District will see a series of events, experiences and talks during LDF. A particular highlight is the inaugural I-MADE at Saatchi Gallery – the first exhibition solely dedicated to Italian design and manufacturing in London. As well as presenting Italian innovation and craftsmanship, the event, curated by renowned designer Giulio Cappellini, will draw on the passion and traditions of iconic Italian brands and designers with talks and workshops. Tickets £15.
King’s Road Chelsea SW3 4RY;

4 The Penthouse by Roksanda Ilinicic, King’s Cross
18-22 September

To celebrate London Design Festival and the first ever King’s Cross Design District, Gasholders will open up The Penthouse by fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic for a series of guided tours. Get one-of-a-kind access to the landmark residence, built within a refurbished triplet of Grade II-listed cast iron gasholder guide frames that provide a dramatic backdrop to the new Coal Drops Yard. Take a look at how the other half live and explore the three-bedroom duplex penthouse, designed by Roksanda with her signature sculptural forms, textural depth and unusual colour combinations. On display will be an elegant blend of furniture, art, ceramics, books and objet from artists and designers including Lina Bo Bardi, Alanna Wilson, Charlotte Perriand and Caroline Denervaud. Tours are free and run daily at 10am, 12pm, 3pm but booking is required.
Gasholders,1 Lewis Cubitt Square, King’s Cross N1C 4BY;

5 Affinity in Autonomy at the V&A, South Kensington
14-22 September
Affinity in Autonomy envisions a world in which intelligence, technology and creative design is integrated more into our day to day lives and examines the relationship between humans and robots. Since the creation of the world’s first Entertainment Robot, AIBO, in 1999, Sony has continued to grow its knowledge and understanding of AI and Robotics, and now you can explore Sony’s vision for life-enriching robotics in this futuristic installation. Affinity in Autonomy features an installation named Pendulus, an interactive robotic pendulum that portrays the independence and free will of robotics using random movements. Pendulus detects human presence and reflects it in its kinetic motion, illustrating the enriched relationship possibilities for a new tomorrow.
Victoria and Albert Museum, The Prince Consort Gallery, Cromwell Road, Knightsbridge, SW7 2RL;

6 designjunction, King’s Cross
19-22 September 2019
designjunction – the interior design show you don’t want to miss – returns to King’s Cross as part of London Design Festival 2019. From the world’s leading designers to undiscovered brands, designjunction brings together the newest and most forward-thinking furniture, lighting and accessory designs of the year, putting you at the heart of the creative community. In 2018, designjunction attracted more than 27,000 visitors across five days, and 2019 marks the biggest and best line-up to date with more than 150 cutting-edge brands, thousands of products and a thought-provoking Talks Programme alongside a spectacular array of installations including a powerful and engaging two-piece interactive installation called Talk To Me, by British designer Steuart Padwick in support of the mental health campaign, Time to Change (you can see this one for free as it’s situated situated along King’s Boulevard). Tickets £15.
King’s Cross, London N1C;

7 Safari Supper at Eccleston Yards, Belgravia
16-22 September
Eccleston Yards, the Belgravia hub for independent retail, wellbeing and co-working, is hosting a one-week dynamic dining experience at Jones Family Kitchen during London Design Festival. The Safari Supper, part of Eccleston Yards’ LDF-inspired ShedFest – where five emerging UK artists who have been selected to decorate each shed within the courtyard – will offer guests a different course in each shed. Starting with pre-dinner drinks in the first shed, you’ll then move on to the next shed for a starter, continuing through the sheds to enjoy a main course, dessert and then post-dinner drinks. Each of the seven evenings will offer different menus catering to a variety of palates, from meat-free dishes to marinated lamb, and ranging in price from £30 to £45. Diners can book in groups of four via, online here or in person at Jones Family Kitchen.
Eccleston Yards, 21 Eccleston Place, Belgravia SW1W 9NF;

8 Heal’s x Slade at the Mansard Gallery, Tottenham Court Road
19 September
Heal’s is bringing the prestigious Mansard Gallery back to its Tottenham Court Road flagship store in a special collaboration with The Slade School of Fine Art as part of London Design Festival 2019. The show will be open to the public for one week, during which there will be a number of events taking place, including the annual Heal’s x LDF party on 19 September from 6-9pm. Heal’s AW19 collection, including exclusive ranges designed in collaboration with designers Genevieve Bennett and Lucy Kurrein, will also launch during LDF. Heal’s reputation for supporting artists and makers began in 1917 when Ambrose Heal established an exhibition space for up-and-coming artists and craftspeople. The Heal’s Mansard Gallery fast became the place to be seen and welcomed numerous creatives of the time, including the Bloomsbury Group, and exhibited works by Picasso and Matisse.
196 Tottenham Court Road, Bloomsbury, London W1T 7LQ;

9 Brompton Design District late night, various locations
19 September
Brompton, home to more than 3,000 different species of flora and fauna, is celebrating its urban biodiversity with a strong Nature/Nurture theme during London Design Festival 2019. Join the bats and the foxes – and the Brompton Design District team – on the evening of Thursday 19 September for a chance to catch all the district’s exhibitions, installations and a top selection of talks in the twilight, and explore how design can play a vital role in offering urban wildlife much-needed protection. Catch headline project Brompton Biotopia, where BDD curator Jane Withers Studio has commissioned three design practices to create animal habitats for Brompton’s public spaces – one is even fitted with DIY wildlife cameras. 6pm-9pm.

10 Please Be Seated by Paul Cocksedge at Broadgate
14 September-11 October
Throughout London Design Festival, Broadgate will play host to Please Be Seated, a large-scale installation made from scaffolding planks that forms one of London Design Festival 2019’s Landmark Projects. Designed by internationally acclaimed British designer Paul Cocksedge in collaboration with Essex-based flooring company White&White, the installation re-imagines and re-uses the scaffolding to create curves for visitors to sit on and walk under. The wood’s waviness is a response to the changing rhythm of the community, and further enhances London’s largest pedestrianised neighbourhood, Broadgate.
Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate EC2M 2PP;

11 100% Design at Olympia
18-21 September
100% Design celebrates its 25th anniversary during this year’s London Design Festival with with Instagrammable installations, engaging experiences and more than 400 exhibitors showcasing the latest products. Design Fresh will also return, with 30 breakthrough designers will demonstrate how global concerns such as climate change can be tackled through design. Plus, there’s Insta-Interiors, which delves into the world of social media and its ability to inspire design, showing how designers such as 2LG and Matilda Goad use their professional Instagram accounts reflect a personal approach to interiors, and the Arper Design Lounge is an inspirational spot for people to get together, share ideas and utilise the free charging points. Tickets £15.
Olympia London, Hammersmith Road W14 8UX;