10 things to see and do at London Design Festival 2014

London Design Festival is just around the corner and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. This year’s theme is ‘Lose Yourself’, encouraging people to get lost in the city and discover new things. The programme ranges from major international exhibitions to trade events, installations to talks and seminars, from product launches to receptions, private views and parties, and the majority of events are free of charge! There are over 300 events across the capital, so I’ve done the hard work for you and picked out 10 must-see events (highlighted in a little handy map below). Enjoy!

Download this year’s guide here.

1. HAY Mini Market at Selfridges

For ages I have longed for the Danish shop HAY to settle in London. This is a chance to have a small slice of its pie; they’re setting up shop in Oxford Street’s Selfridges for the duration of the festival. The supermarket-inspired shop, first presented during the Salone del Mobile in Milan, will offer a range of HAY and WRONG FOR HAY accessories, including glassware, stationery, decoration, gifts, textiles and more. HAY will also have a showroom in St James’s Park, with new product launches and a cafe. I can’t wait!


2. Islington Design District and Cafe Smug

New this year, the Islington Design District brings together a bunch of design shops, showrooms and cafés from Angel through to Camden Passage and Upper Street. It’s organised by SMUG (who I wrote about last week), who is presenting a programme of fantastic design-led activities and workshops as well as an exciting new exclusive collection from Donna Wilson. Their hub, CAFÉ SMUG, is offering free WiFi for design hunters seeking to snap and hashtag their favourite finds!


3. Simplified Beauty, SCP

Three shows from Japan, America and Britain that celebrate things made as they should be, welcoming the Ishinomaki Laboratory, Mashiko ceramics, the Shotoku Glass Company and other special objects from Japan. Brooklyn-based designers Fort Standard represent America, while SCP launch A/W14 designs.


4. designjunction

A must-see at LDF in my book. The fourth edition of this critically-acclaimed designjunction returns to the magnificent Sorting Office for its flagship London show. Spanning four enormous floors, the show presents more than 180 brands promoting design, retail and innovation. Alessi will be designing and running a pop-up café, and you can taste some of the finest Chilean wines upstairs.


5. The Wish List, V&A

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the hub of London Design Festival, with various installations dotted throughout the galleries. This one is sure to be a highlight. Sir Terence Conran, Benchmark, the London Design Festival and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) invited ten design legends along with ten emerging talents, to design and make something they have always wanted, but never been able to find. Image: ©Petr Krejci

Sebastian Cox 2812_m

6. Double Space for BMW: Precision & Poetry in Motion by Barber & Osgerby

Another installation in the V&A, designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have collaborated with BMW to create a remarkable and memorable experience in the museum’s Raphael Gallery.


7. Design Reunion, Habitat

Curated by Polly Dickens, creative director of Habitat, Design Reunion showcases work from six of London’s most respected names in design including Tord Boontje, Claire Norcross, Simon Pengelly, Sarah Campbell, Aaron Probyn and Shin Azumi in a multi-sensory exhibit to celebrate 50 years of Habitat.


8. 620 Reading Room with magCulture and Postcard Teas

When all the events become too much, take a break in Vitsoe’s reading room with a global selection of independent magazines, complimentary fine teas and of course, Vitsœ’s growing furniture collection. And breathe…


9. 100% Norway

Part of Tent London & Super Brands, an exhibition of the latest work of Nordic designers, focusing on the themes of curiosity, experimentation and innovation. Designed by KHiB professors Dave Vikøren and Petter Bergerud, the look and feel of the exhibition draws inspiration from Norway’s untamed natural landscape, its vast stretch of ocean and rugged mountainscape. 


10. At Home with the Days

Islington shop twentytwentyone will host a selling exhibition of a rich and diverse collection of furniture and objects from Robin and Lucienne Day’s home. It will include items they collected and made during their seventy years together. From hand-written recipes to one-off prototype chairs, Scandinavian design classics to English antiques to African rugs, the range of items reflects the Days’ eclectic and discriminating taste. I’ll have it all please!


  1. Thanks – I’m heading out tomorrow to see what i can see at the V&A – feeling quite excited!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *