Art Exhibitions

London Design Festival Highlights

Giant red dresses, a visit to the Swedish Ambassador.... Jo Chard tells us her picks for this year's London Design Festival, taking place until Sunday and full of fantastic art and design events all around the city!

By Joanna Chard | 22 Sept 2011

When it was my 9th birthday, I had cake, played hide and seek and pushed my sister in the pond. This week is the 9th Birthday of the London Design Festival, taking place from the 17th to the 25th of September. We are talking about the biggest event of the British design calendar, and I have a feeling that there won’t be any cake or pond pushing at this typically high-class affair. The London Design Festival showcases the best of the UK’s ‘world-class creative community’, and this year’s pop-ups, events and weirdly wonderful furnishing promise to be a birthday to remember. Out of the mind-boggling 200 events and exhibitions happening all over London in the next week- here’s the ones not to miss.

Finland’s fairy tale ball gown

September 22-25, York Hall

This year, Finland’s contribution is a design spectacle- an enormous performance piece by Aamu Song entitled ‘Reddress’. A solitary, central figure wears the fiery, flowing garment – made from 550 metres of red fabric – while an audience of up to 238 people sit around in its pleats and folds. The work will also include collaborative instrumentals and vocals; be sure to buy a ticket to experience this phenomenal evening delight. 


Fashion-friendly Pylons

September 17-Oct 5, V&A

Saving the countryside one aesthetic monstrosity at a time, The Royal Institute of British Architects have launched a competition to redesign the electricity pylons, which currently litter our countryside. It’s a tall, steely order to replace these 50-metre-high behemoths powering our National Grid, but you can also have your say in the winning selection along with Energy and Climate Secretary Chris Huhne.


John Pawson’s Crystal Mirror

September 17- 25, St Paul's Cathedral

To mark the 300th year anniversary of St Paul’s completion by Sir Christopher Wren, minimalist architect John Pawson is revealing its little-known Geometric Staircase in the southwest tower for a short time. Visitors will be able to look into Pawson’s convex crystal mirror and see all the way up the spiralling flight of steps- an architectural wonder that is a definite must see.

The Made In collective

September 21-25 East Gallery, 214 Brick Lane

The first venture from this collective of nine young designers promises to be a relaxed affair. In an attempt to break down the often-stuffy atmosphere of design shows, the collective encourage visitors to interact with their surroundings- more science fair than design show. And the best bit- there will be cake after all, served with a free afternoon tea between four and five everyday. Don’t forget to take your purse so you can purchase beautiful design pieces and trinkets both big and small.

Fancy a "trip" to Sweden?

September 17-24 27 Portland Place

Have you ever visited an ambassador’s mansion? Well now’s your chance to snoop around the Swedish Ambassador’s not so humble abode. Contemporary glass, furniture and textiles will be displayed in the luscious interior of this recently restored 18th Century mansion, including the newest crystal designs by Karl Lagerfeld and lamps by Karim Rashid for Stockholm-based company Zero.

All the information about the 9th edition of the London Festival of Design is here!

Have you been to the LDF this year? If so, what was your favourite event? Share it with us!


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