London Design Festival: take the King’s Cross route

It takes place across the city as a whole – but if that’s too daunting, here’s what you can do around Granary Square

Now in its sixteenth year, what can we expect from annual capital-sprawling bash the London Design Festival, which is back later this month?

With a pretty inspiring programme of projects concentrated in eleven districts across the city (including new areas Fitzrovia, Marylebone and West Kensington), there are, as usual, demonstrations, launches and workshops kicking off in an interesting array of venues. There are also a handful of neighbourhood-led routes to follow, recognising additional pockets of activity around the city.

King’s Cross itself is hosting six exhibitions. So make a day of it: take a stroll along Regent’s Canal, and swing by the swanky new Tom Dixon Studio (3-10 Bagley Walk), where the much-lauded designer is hosting what he’s calling Electroanalogue – with a bunch of creative mates.

First off is Swedish electronics company Teenage Engineering, launching their OP-Z synthesizer (even dinkier than the OP-1): enter the last arch of the Coal Office and step – or indeed shimmy – into their 70s disco. Elsewhere listen to electronic musician Yuri Suzuki spinning tunes and introducing his latest innovations in sound at The Factory, and check out artisans of leather Bill Amberg Studio, presenting its digitally printed range, a collaboration with Tom Dixon, Faye Toogood and Timorous Beasties, alongside US-based Alexandra Champalimaud and Natasha Baradaran.


Inside the new Tom Dixon Studio. Photo: PR

Next up wander to Plasticscene (Gasholder 10, Bagley Walk), where you can learn how designers approach issues with the environment, demonstrating how waste can be used to create striking pieces.

A stone’s throw away is Creative Unions, a chance to see how Central Saint Martin’s students – the next generation – are addressing our current socio-political climate through their work. And nearby is Enid Marx at House of Illustration (2 Granary Square): famous for the fabrics she fashioned for London Transport’s tube seats, she also created patterned paper for Curwen Press, book covers for King Penguin and the stamps for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. And she’s put in seven decades of toil, no less.

Lastly, there’s Matter of Stuff (5 Lewis Cubitt Walk), a pop-up gallery designed by Raw Edges in Fenman House (9 Handyside St), which is showing design, research materials, and products from renowned brands, including an eye-catching assortment of furniture.

Phew: you’ll need some refreshment after all that. Our tip? Spiritland, for a cocktail and an astonishingly good sound system.

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3 more London Design Festival tips to check out

Photo: Es Devlin

Design Junction
Being held across three spaces on the South Bank this year (rather than Granary square), the aim is to connect the public with the world’s leading architects, specifiers and buyers, through talks, workshops and temporary shops. 20th-23rd Sept, Oxo, Doon Street, Riverside Walkway, South Bank SE1

Landmark Projects
These major installations are from both experienced artists and new talent. Es Devlin has interactive sculpture Please Feed The Lions in Trafalgar Square, whilst Trace by Architecture Social Club is a piece of art suspended above Regent Street. 15th-23rd Sept, various locations

Known as the festival hub, the museum is home to a collection of displays this September, including The Onion Farm by Henrik Vibskov (a light, dynamic structure, that spins along The Tapestries Gallery) and a prototype for a new drinking water fountain designed by Michael Anastassiades, aimed at reducing disposable plastic bottle usage. 15th-23rd Sept, Cromwell Rd Knightsbridge SW7

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London Design Festival takes place 15th-23rd Sept, various locations. More:

Main image: Creative Unions – Erin Peace, Your Attention is non-refundable

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