12 Sep

London Design Festival 2019

From the 14th – 22nd of September, our capital city will be transformed with a programme of immersive design installations, exhibitions, events, and displays. We’ve selected our top highlights to look out for throughout the week…

In a few days time, the renowned London Design Festival is back for its 17th year this September – with a pioneering and dynamic schedule of events and installations being held across the city. 2019 also sees the 11th anniversary of the festival collaborating with the V&A which will act as the official Festival hub. Expect to see the world-famous museum play host to a series of specially-commissioned projects by internationally-renowned designers.

Weaving into Lightness by Kengo Kuma at the V&A Museum 

The London Design Festival has been bringing together creative industries including a global community of designers, artists and architects since 2003 when Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans realised a vision to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world. Since its inception, London Design Festival has grown to encompass a broad range of activities and draws visitors in from all over the globe. Last year’s festival welcomed a record-breaking 588,000 direct visitors from over 75 countries, generating almost 1 million visits and helping to drive 170,000 visitors to the museum.

“London has the biggest creative economy in the world, and design is a key part of it,” explains London Design Festival Director Ben Evans. “The event celebrates and promotes London’s design excellence in a period when showcasing creativity is even more important.” 

The V&A will be brought to life with a curated collection of displays and installations. It will also play host to the festival’s Global Design Forum, an engaging thought leadership programme with a lineup of talks, debates, daily tours, and workshops. There’s sure to be something for everyone, from expert designers to members of the public who are simply interested in creative concepts.

Speakers at the Global Design Forum 

London Design Festival also plays a big role in supporting the capital’s major design trade shows including 100% Design, designjunction, Focus/19, and London Design Fair. These shows are a great opportunity for both local and international exhibitors to showcase their work, bringing fresh ideas and new trends into the market.

Life Labyrinth by PATTERNITY

The wonderful thing about the London Design Festival is that it reaches across the whole of London. This year we can look forward to 10 official Design Districts – areas where there are distinct concentrations of design activity and events that can be traversed easily on foot. Each District is organised locally and independently, with King’s Cross joining the list. Already home to some exceptional design brands, the District will see some of the most influential names in the area open their doors to the public, offering an exciting timetable of exhibitions, installations, and talks. 

If King’s Cross is on your radar to visit, head to Coal Drops Yard where you can see a one-off site installation called Disco Carbonara by Martino Gamper. 

Disco Carbonara by Martino Gamper

This will be a playful, temporary addition to the King’s Cross architecture: a false facade with traditional cladding from the Italian Alps. At the heart of each of Gamper’s projects is the notion of thinking through making and examining how process informs the physical outcome.

London Design Festival Highlights:

Sea Things – V&A Museum

Sam Jacob is designing a new installation within the grand entrance to the V&A to highlight the need to rethink the global plastics system, encouraging visitors to consider the full lifetime journey of plastic and to promote recycling. This must-see installation follows the recent announcement that Sam Jacob Studio has been selected to transform the Cromwell Road entrance. 

Sea Things by Sam Jacob

Interestingly, the installation is inspired by a pattern by Charles and Ray Eames which can be found in the V&A’s Textiles and Fashion collection. Marvel at the large two-way mirrored cube suspended above your head with an animated motion graphic. Visitors entering the space will feel transported and entirely absorbed by the installation, which is both a digital and physical manifestation of the global single-use plastics crisis.

VOID – Collins Theatre, Islington

Designer Dan Tobin Smith and The Experience Machine are creating a multi-sensory spatial installation at Collins Theatre, Islington. The concept behind this installation is magical to say the least. This is an exciting environmental installation that will explore the physical boundaries found within the worlds of natural inclusions in gemstones. 

VOID by Sam Tobin Smith

The formation of these stones is a rare geological process, with each unique example being a ‘one of a kind’ combination of material trapped inside a mineral during formation. Tobin Smith magnifies these tiny microcosms to discover abstract, galaxy-like structures, showing us these hidden worlds contained within the size of a fingertip.

Walala Lounge – West End

French-born designer Camille Walala has been commissioned by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland to transform South Molton Street in the heart of London’s West End, with a bold and beautiful collection of street furniture. We appreciate any design that helps people to feel more connected to their surrounding environment and the Walala Lounge certainly achieves this! 

Walala Lounge by Camille Walala

Combining head-turning colour and geometric shapes in monumental proportions, the project features eleven benches, which will give visitors something unique and unusual to sit on. Completely pedestrianised and lined with a variety of British and international boutiques and cafés, South Molton will be turned into a place to stop and rest. Walala’s vision is to transform the street into an open-air urban living room with a design that will give the urban environment a burst of colour. Expect to see cuboids, cylinders, and arches made from brushed steel and Tricoya®, with planters and rug-like bases to enhance their engaging, home-like appeal.

Idiosincratico – King’s Cross

To complement Martino Gamper’s installation at Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, Samsung presents Idiosincratico: an exposition of the designer’s creative practice. The Samsung space will offer a unique vantage point over Gamper’s installation below. 

Idiosyncratico by  Martin Gamper

You can also interact with the latest technology, and join in with a range of events, workshops, and performances. Presenting three significant projects, Idiosincratico gives insight into Gamper’s creative process – exploring his particular and whimsical approach to dissembling and reinventing familiar domestic objects. 

Take the plunge – Oxo Tower Wharf

Volume Creative joins forces with Virgin Voyages, inviting visitors to Take the Plunge: an entertaining installation at The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf. The interactive scheme is inspired by a love of the sea and shows the ability design has to evoke curiosity, with a stand-alone immersive experience. 

Take the plunge by Volume Creative

Visitors are invited on an oceanic journey of discovery, to dive into a whole new experience. The minimalist exterior juxtaposes with the warmth that awaits within. Visitors step into an endless horizon, giving way to an extraordinary secondary space that depicts a sunset under the sea. This is not one to be missed! 


London Design Week runs from the 14th – 22nd of September 2019. Follow the event on social media using #LDF19 www.londondesignfestival.com