Before we jet off to this season’s biggest design festival, which starts on September 14, we’re setting our sights on the event’s hottest designers, not-to-miss exhibits and most exciting products, from Tom Dixon’s Adidas collection to Designjunction’s stellar line-up.
1 Top furniture brands at Designjunction
The largest off-site event of the festival, Designjunction is also the best one-stop shop for a satisfying afternoon of cool hunting. Over 150 exhibitors fill three floors of the Postal Sorting Office, a stunningly raw industrial space in central London. Leading brands are on view – among them Arper, Bolon, Republic of Fritz Hansen and Moroso – alongside emerging designers. The venue also hosts sideshow events, including screenings, industry-related seminars and pop-up cafes, bars and canteens. Sept 18 to 22. The Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford St.
2 Brokis, and other exciting lighting brands, at Lightjunction
Part of Designjunction’s ongoing expansion, the inaugural Lightjunction brings together high-end interior lighting by the likes of Artemide, Zanotta, &Tradition and Jake Dyson. Muffin (shown) is a series of hand-blown lamps shaped like cakey buns in a tinted translucency, and crafted by Brokis, a group of lighting mavericks from the Czech Republic. Sept 18 to 22. The Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford St.
3 Futuristic designs at 100% Design, Earls Court
Some 30,000 visitors are expected to attend this year’s furniture fair, the main event during LDF, to find out what’s new in British contemporary furniture and which emerging talents to watch. They will also be taking in the latest trends in office design, kitchen and bath, and eco-design. Among the highlights will be Samsung Chemical Europe‘s collaboration with Zaha Hadid Architects on a high-tech vision of a futuristic shopping experience; and 3D Home Factory’s concept living space, which demonstrates the impact 3D printing is having on product/interior design and includes Freedom of Creation’s seats (shown). Sept 18 to 21, Earls Court London
4 Liliana Ovalle in Grandmateria III, at Libby Sellers Gallery
Liliana Ovalle has a penchant for the off-beat. Over the years, she has constructed chairs and sofas with overstuffed cushions piled high and haphazardly tied in place with rope. Her Sinkhole Vessels, made of open-fired red clay and suspended in oak frames, are more refined but no less animated. They are part of Grandmateria III, a group exhibit at Libby Sellers Gallery that includes new pieces by Paola Petrobelli and Lex Pott. All three share a talent for elevating seemingly ordinary things into extraordinary and surprising forms. Sept 5 to Oct 5, 41-42 Berners St.
5 dRMM’s Endless Stair at the Tate Modern
The London firm dRMM is known for adding theatrical flair to its buildings. Among its most acclaimed projects is Sliding House, a series of three residential buildings sharing an exterior enclosure that slides along a railway track to cover or uncover each building as needed. For LDF, the firm has installed a maze-like staircase on the front lawn of the Tate Modern. Visitors are welcome to climb and descend the 187 steps of Endless Stair, crafted from American tulipwood, which also serves as a pioneering example of cross-laminated hardwood (rather than the more common softwood). This evolution reduces the usual amount of material needed. Sept 13 to Oct 12, Southwark/Blackfriars station
6 Benjamin Hubert at Aram and 100% Design
Rising talent Benjamin Hubert has at least four projects underway during the festival’s 10-day run. His installation, Amass, will loom large at 100% Design, where volunteers have helped the British designer mount the eye-grabbing curtain-like structure composed of 50,000 hanging modules. And at the Covent Garden furniture store Aram, he presents Ripple, the world’s lightest timber table of its size, weighing in at a mere nine kilograms. It’s part of a larger display called Antecendents that also includes Hubert’s superlight Membrane chair (shown) by Classicon alongside prototypes and models revealing how his London studio explores new materials and processes. Sept 14 to 21, 110 Drury Lane, Covent Garden
7 Adidas by Tom Dixon at The Dock
Launched in Milan last April, this sporting wear line for Adidas is Tom Dixon’s solution for packing light, and for any type of weather, while travelling the world. Stripped to the barest essentials and resembling camping gear, the monotone collection includes a modular five-in-one jumpsuit that converts into a coat, a boomer jacket, pants, a skirt or shorts; and a parka that doubles as a sleeping bag. It’s on view at The Dock before hitting select Adidas stores in November. Also on site: a pop-up flash market from Etsy, and next door, Moooi‘s London showroom. Here, the Dutch brand re-stages its stunning Milan exhibition Unexpected Welcome. Not to be missed. Sept 16 to 22, Portobello Dock, 344 Ladbroke Grove
8 Jamie Oliver’s pop-up resto at Designjunction
One pop-up restaurant likely to draw queues is Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa. The original steakhouse is known for its flame-inspired cooking, and the menu for this temporary location inside the Sorting Office offers up pit-smoked pulled pork sandwiches and short ribs with chipotle tomato salsa. Modus provides the furnishings, which includes its Noughts and Crosses collection, new cafe tables and stools by Michael Sodeau and PLC dining chairs by PearsonLloyd. Sept 18 to 22. The Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford St
9 Sebastian Wrong’s debut at Hay
Hay‘s new creative director Sebastian Wrong presents Wrong for Hay, a collection of lighting, ceramics, textile, glassware and furniture created in collaboration with various talents, including Ian McIntyre (a founding member of the Memphis group), Stefan Diez, Anderson & Voll and Wrong’s own in-house team of designers. The pieces populate a restored Georgian townhouse in St. James’s Park in Westminster. Hay has also teamed up with the renowned Peckham Refreshment Rooms to create a destination pop-up restaurant just a short walk away. Wrong for Hay: Sept 14 to 22, 16 Queen Anne’s Gate; Pop-up resto: 34 Queen Anne’s Gate.
10 Off | Cut at the Republic of Fritz Hansen
Chung Tyson Architects has teamed up with a group of students from the Bartlett School of Architecture to experiment with the Danish firm’s renowned bentwood manufacturing process, creating a lightweight armature, on view at the Republic of Fritz Hansen showroom near Oxford Circus. Called Off | Cut, the re-useable structure is crafted using only the wood and leather normally left on the factory floor. Sept 14 to 22, 13 Margaret St.