London Design Festival 2011 - Our Highlights, Part 1

The fact the London Design Festival lasts 9 days is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gives you more time to get around all the events you want to see. A curse because the longer the festival lasts, the more events are added to the program. In all there were over 300 events across London, and only the most intrepid (or those with a teleporter) were ever going to get to all of them. The lesson we learned from last year’s LDF and tried to employ this year was prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. 


There was a greater sense of cohesion amongst the new “design districts” this year. It felt more co-ordinated so events within a district happened at similar times so you didn’t feel obliged to dart back and forth across town. Tuesday saw the launch parties in the Shoreditch Triangle and Clerkenwell showrooms, Wednesday Fitzrovia, Thursday was Brompton and so on. Better for the feet this way.
Our main focus was of course Shoreditch and Tramshed. SCP and Michael Marriott installed a 7 metre tall orange plastic totem on Curtain Road, for the benefit of those people who still did not know where their store was. Inside, the store had been turned into a Design Department Store with everything from erasers to sofas.


Just around the corner, the online design bible Dezeen took up temporary residence on Rivington Street with Dezeenspace. A pop-up shop with a 1m x 1m gallery platform for young designers to showcase their wares, with a new designer a day. (Dezeenspace is still in residence until 16th October, so you still have time to catch it)
Moving north, Twentytwentyone had two events in their two premises. The newly expanded shop on Upper Street (literally, a hole was punched through the wall to the former cafe next door just days before) was the focus for a re-launch of Robin Day’s 1952 lounge chair. Meanwhile their River St. showroom hosted a show entirely in marble from Italian company Marsotto. We have our eye on the Tilt table by Thomas Sandell.   


Heading ever so slightly west, next stop was Viaduct, who debuted Show 3, focusing on new and exciting forms of lighting. Ӧrsjӧ were well represented with both Baklava and Lean included in the show.


Designjunction was the cool new kid on the block. After a successful debut in Milan this year, Designjunction itched up in London and took over the sprawling basement of Victoria House. Presenting collections from UK and European brands, there were also exhibitors from Australia and New Zealand, like new company Resident and a shop focusing on smaller items with a British connection, curated by Scene. We particularly liked new British company Another Country’s second collection.  


An absolute highlight of this year’s festival was Hemma, an exhibition of contemporary Swedish design for the home at the Swedish Ambassador’s residence. Ambassador Nicola Claes opened the doors to her stunning Adams designed home, packed the furniture into storage and gave the space to new and established designers and manufacturers from Frederik Farg to Orrefors, Anna Kraitz to Front. The first image at the top of this post shows Mia Cullin acoustic screens with Svenskt Tenn lighting in the entrance hall. Below is some beautiful glass from Simon Klenell.


This would probably be a good place to pause and put your feet up. We’ll be back with the west London action in a separate post. You can see more images in our Facebook album.