⟵ Blog home

– Written by Chloe Boucouvalas, Anna van Oosterom – September 14, 2023

TDC introduces: London Design Festival Top 10

Taking place across 16-24 September 2023, London Design Festival celebrates our city as one of the design capitals of the world. With over 300 events across London, and across 13 Design Districts, LDF is a place to explore and discover global design talent and local makers together.

Designers will showcase new ideas, products and installations, exploring big-picture concepts that resonate in our world today. London Design Festival also plays host to the Global Design Forum, the festival’s curated thought leadership programme at the V&A London, celebrating design and the minds shaping its future. Our client, Pearlfisher, has co-curated talks on Thursday 21st September. Speakers include Ben Ditto, Ali Eslami, Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsburg, Taeyoung Yoon and Snohetta. Click here for full programme.

From a calming botanical garden created out of LEGO to a Localist Cafe in Shoreditch where all items in an eclectic cafe are crafted by London designers and makers, we share below our top ten events we are tracking during LDF at TDC. 

Morag Myerscough x MINI: Nice to Meet You Again

MINI, alongside award-winning artist Morag Myerscough, have come together for LDF 2023 to create ‘Nice to Meet You Again’, an immersive installation for visitors to explore a luscious urban world where tradition meets technology. The exhibition is also in celebration of an exciting announcement about the brand’s future, brought to life through Morag’s bold, colourful and positive signature style. ‘Nice to Meet You Again’ will take place at Shoreditch Electric Light Station, where visitors can receive new insight into the brand’s vision for the future, while celebrating the power of human connection and the transformative potential of unity. The space will also feature workshops, talks and refreshments throughout the week.

Location: Shoreditch Electric Light Station Coronet Street London N1 6HD

Aura by Pablo Valbuena

St Paul’s Cathedral plays host to one of London Design Festival’s landmark projects, ‘Aura’ by France-based Spanish artist Pablo Valbuena this year.  The ‘live’  installation examines the potential of time, sound and light to create a contemporary response to the Cathedral by transforming the sounds present in the space into a pulsating line of light projected at an architectural scale. Inspired by and intertwined with the context and fabric of Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, ‘Aura’ listens to the sound, voices and music generated in St Paul’s and materialises them into a spectral, three-dimensional aura.

Location: St Pauls Cathedral St. Paul’s Churchyard London EC4M 8AD

Material Matters

Material Matters, based on the critically acclaimed podcast of the same name, returns for its second year at LDF, showcasing more than 40 brands, designers, makers and manufacturers across 20 – 23 September. The design fair, taking place at Bargehouse in south-east London, explores the importance of material intelligence in architecture and design, and their ability to shape our lives. Designers involved are exploring materials like coffee, milk, concrete, paper and ceramics to create innovative works on display for the 2023 edition. The design fair also hosts site-specific events, installation and a talks programme across the four day showcase

Location: Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf Barge House Street London SE1 9PH

Tom Dixon presents HYPERMOBILE

British designer Tom Dixon will be opening his headquarters in King’s Cross for visitors to explore during the festival, hosting an exhibition celebrating portability and ‘hypermobility’ tied to the launch of his new range of portable lighting. The exhibition showcases Dixon’s surprising move towards the miniature in his work, with the new small, battery-powered lamps taking their cue from his most recognised designs. The HYPERMOBILE exhibition will also play host to a number of likeminded ultra-portable brands like Swedish music device company, Teenage Engineering among others, as well as featuring a number of events, talks and workshops.

Location: Tom Dixon Studio 4-10 Bagley Walk Arches Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross London N1C4DH

The Lego Group x It’s Nice That

The LEGO Group and It’s Nice That have collaborated to create The LEGO® Piece Garden, an interactive event inviting busy city visitors to tap into their creative potential in a pop-up space in Shoreditch. LEGO x INT have created a quiet, peaceful haven away from the hustle and bustle of the area, surrounded by calming colours and beautiful forms. Visitors will be able to discover the LEGO Botanicals Collection – a range of vibrant flowers that can be built using new LEGO designed stems, petals and leaves.

Location: 149-150 Shoreditch High Street, London

Design Transforms ’23 – Central Saint Martins: Product Ceramic and Industrial Design

Central Saint Martins’ Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design course presents Design Transforms ’23 at the CSM Granary Building to celebrate work by students and staff, exploring the social, cultural and commercial collaborations that give purpose to their ideas. Design Transforms will feature an exhibition and interactive events that showcase the programme manifesto of ‘design as a practice that transforms’, whilst also acting as a discursive platform to examine the institution’s thoughts for our futures. The exhibition will mark the 10th anniversary of the Central Saint Martins Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education.

Location: Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins Granary Building 1 Granary Square, King’s Cross London N1C 4AA

Six Dots Design Presents: The Localist Cafe

Presented by Six Dots Design at Shoreditch Arts Club, The Localist Café is a functional space created to profile local construction and showcase local design talent from London’s creatives. Expressing the power of the local, Six Dots welcomes visitors to enjoy a coffee or meal surrounded by design objects made by over a dozen London-based designers, makers and manufacturers within a functional cafe. Visitors are invited to contemplate the value of objects made locally, while sitting within an eclectic cafe on chairs made in Peckham, to handle cutlery made in Walthamstow, and eat off crockery made in Elephant and Castle. Objects featured include designs made by Common Design, Matan Fadida, and Kaymet. The cafe is a demonstration of Six Dots’ advocacy for buying locally made products by encouraging greater understanding of design and production, and ultimately engaging in conversations regarding the value of locally handmade objects. Visitors to The Localist Café are also invited to participate in a silent auction of the exhibited items. 

Location: Shoreditch Arts Club 6 Redchurch Street London E27DD

Brompton Design District & Manus Manum Lavat (One hand washes the other) by Rio Kobayashi

The Brompton Design District brings together global design brands, designers and cultural institutions to present an engaging programme of exhibits, talks and installations. The curatorial theme for the district in 2023 is  ‘Conviviality – The Art of Living Together’ celebrating design’s ability to connect us with the people and places around us. A highlight of the district includes Rio Kobayashi’s ‘Manus Manum Lavat (One hand washes the other)’, a show of collaborative designs and events focused on bringing people together through design. The display focuses on design pieces that reflect Rio Kobayashi’s deep sense for building relationships – instead of using the opportunity to present a solo exhibition, he sought to involve multiple other creators – from DJ’s, to graphic designers and artists –  forming a collaborative exhibition and event space, co-existing as a living room for design enthusiasts. 

Location: Cromwell Place 4 Cromwell Place London SW7 2JE

This Island Sunrise: curator’s tour with Simon Andrews at Sadie Coles

Sadie Coles HQ at the Bury Street gallery in St James’s will present a curator-led tour of This Island Sunrise, an exhibition celebrating a selected history of improvised British design, bringing together three remarkable thrones of artisanal construction spanning four centuries. Pieces on display will include work by Tom Dixon, pioneering conceptual artist Eduardo Paolozzi (1924- 2005), to an unknown 17th century woodturner. The unique objects on show speak to the storied narratives of British national identity woven through design and craft. 

Location: Sadie Coles HQ 8 Bury Street London SW1Y 6AB

Spirit of Place, Simone Brewster

Designer and artist, Simone Brewster collaborates with Amorim to present Spirit of Place, an installation of five large scale sculptural vessels at Strand Aldwych. The collection of objects represents Amorim’s cork forest at Herdade de Rio Frio, Portugal and range up to 2.5m in height. The installation explores the future of the cork oak forest, which will be secured by four key traits: upright expression, drought resistance, regenerative growth and biodiversity conservation. These four characteristics act as the foundation for the visual language of the piece, with Brewster translating each factor into a visual equivalent for visitors to immerse themselves within the centre of London. 

Location: Strand Aldwych London WC2R 1ES

For more information about London Design Festival, email [email protected].