At a glance, it can seem pretty overwhelming. The programme is jam-packed for nine days straight, from huge installations dotted around the capital to product launches in showrooms. To make it more digestible, the organisers divide the city into different so-called Design Districts. This year, there are 10: Bankside, Brompton, Clerkenwell, Fitzrovia, Marylebone, Mayfair, Pimlico Road, Regent Street and St James’s, Shoreditch Design Triangle, Victoria Connections and West Kensington.
“London and Design go hand in hand. It is part of our story. London Design Festival is a platform for 100s of design stories to be told. Each of them talks to an expanding audience hungry for design ideas and enjoying the quality and diversity of what’s on offer. It all confirms London’s status as the global centre of design" – London Design Festival director Ben Evans.
In the hopes of making it easier to navigate, we narrow down the events taking place across the duration of the festival – explaining more about the different districts and highlighting the hotspots to visit...
During this year's London Design Festival, The Aram Gallery will play host to Hilos Invisibles – an exhibition by Uruguay-born designer Matteo Fogale. Hilos Invisibles is the result of Fogale's residency at Museo Casa Vilamajó – the Montevideo home built by modernist architect Julio Vilamajó Echaniz built for his family in the 1930s.
Whilst there, Fogale became immersed in the hundreds of sketches drawn by Vilamajó at the Institute of History of the University of Architecture, as well as interviewing scholars about the architect and visiting his buildings across the region. Inspired, he embarked on a series of workshops – where invited design studios based in Montevideo collaborated to come up with ideas that would bring the drawings to life, in the form of new products created with local materials.
Aram Gallery, Covent Garden
Ready Made Go
Ready Made Go has become a firm favourite on the London Design Festival calendar. Taking place each year at the Ace Hotel London in Shoreditch, it features functional pieces commissioned specifically for the space from emerging and established London-based designers.
These pieces then remain in the hotel after the exhibition has finished, and are used by guests all year-round.
Ace Hotel, Shoreditch
V&A installation programme
Every year, the V&A hosts a vibrant installation programme including some of the industry's biggest names. For this year's event, they've enlisted Henrik Vibskov, Pentagram, Michael Anastassiades, Arvo Pärt and Beatie Wolfe.
The location, in London's South Kensington, will also play host to one of the festival's Landmark Projects. Designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects and supported by the American Hardwood Export Council, MultiPly will sit upon the museum's Exhibition Road quarter.
Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington
Designer James Shaw and editor Laura Houseley have teamed up to curate an exhibition dedicated to plastic – the design festival's designated "Material of the Year".
Between them, the pair wants to show how designers are utilising waste plastic in new and exciting ways – in a way of making the material seem more attractive and further inspire the necessary reuse of plastic waste.
Gasholder 10, Kings Cross
The Glass Shop
During LDF, OAO Works will present its first pop-up shop in the Shoreditch district, where they will take over a vacant storefront to sell their 31.3 glassware sets to the public.
Visitors will be able to choose from a variety of predetermined sets in various sizes and colours throughout the eight-day event which will result in a constantly evolving visual presentation.
103 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch
London Design Biennale
The London Design Biennale conveniently coincides with this year's festival – funnelling visitors down to Somerset House. All of the designers, from six continents, were tasked with responding to the theme, 'Emotional States’.
This was chosen to provoke a broad interpretation across design disciplines, with immersive and engaging installations that interrogate how design affects every aspect of our lives – the way we live and how we live – but also influences our very being, emotions and experiences.
London Design Fair
Taking place at the Old Truman Brewery in the heart of the east end, the London Design Fair is a four-day industry event that brings together 550 exhibitors from 36 countries, including; independent designers, established brands, international country pavilions, features and exhibitions.
This year's show will include exhibitions by Dutch Stuff and Cræftiga, as well as a presentation dedicated to the Material of The Year: plastic.
Old Truman Brewery, Spitalfields
Matter of Stuff
The King’s Cross area of London has undergone huge redevelopments recently, with the impressive Coal Drops Yard building (now home to Tom Dixon), designed by Thomas Heatherwick.
During LDF, materials research company Matter of Stuff will present the results of Raw Edges’ summer-long residency at Fenman House, as well as pieces by brands including Bocci and CC Tapis.
Creative Unions launched in Spring 2017, in response to, a very particular political, social and cultural landscape. Set up by a group of Central Saint Martins design graduates, the platform aims to share the work of their peers in response to specific themes.
The second iteration of Creative Unions – taking place during LDF – will showcase the way in which our students are continuing to address our current socio-political climate with urgency, ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Designed by London-based Mexican designer Fernando Laposse Sisal Sanctum will transform the entrance to CitizenM’s Shoreditch hotel into a cosy lounge area protected by giant Guardians – all entirely made out of sisal –a natural fibre harvested from a species of Agave cactus found in the South of Mexico.
Citizen M hotel, Shoreditch
The real draw of this year's Designjunction is the installations and the talks programme, which will see Sonia Watson, CEO of The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, talk about the trust's work with young people, and their belief that every young person, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity and support to flourish in a society that treats them with fairness and respect.
10 Design Districts
If you just want to take a stroll around London (well, more of a tube hop, stroll, and an occasional bus) there are 10 districts to choose from this year.
The map below pinpoints each district, so you can plan your journey around them.