So the London Design Festival (LDF) is coming up (as advertised 14-22nd Sept but there are actually activities running all the way till the 25th).

We’re a little overwhelmed by the wealth of events, talks, designers and brands that criss-cross the capital over this 10 day extravaganza! In fact, LDF’s website is an information/sensory overload – there is just too much happening to do and see it all.

If you’re like us, you have to make some tough choices and try and figure out what you want do and see – which is much easier said than done!  Below are details for organising the festival activities to make them a little more manageable.

Design Districts

Location is key. Basically you want to make sure you’re not going back and forth, east to west, north to south on your Design travels. Helpfully there are 5 distinct design districts so you can tackle one area at a time.

chelsea_design_quater_logo_webWest: Chelsea Design Quarter runs along the Kings Road and down to Imperial Wharf in West London. They have a map here that shows the shops/brands that make up the Quarter but doesn’t list specific LDF events.  A few highlights are mentioned here. They are having late night viewing/shopping on Monday 16th.

bdd_logo_webWest/Central: Brompton Design District in and around the South Kensington area. They have a great little interactive map here highlighting activities specifically around the LDF. Late night on Thursday 19th.

Aside from all of the exciting things to see around the area, the big thing not to miss is all of the activities at the V&A.  The V&A is a partner with festival and has a catalogue of activities on well worth checking out.  We’re keen to see the “Wind Portal” installation by Najla El Zein 


Central: Fitzrovia Now an area just north of Oxford Street is a loose collective of shops and designers that come together for LDF.  You can find a map of the participating locations here.  Late night on Wednesday 18th. 

A few central locations not on the map we’ll be sure to check out are The New Craftsmen listed on LDF here if you’re in the area it’s worth a trip and who could resist heading over to the pop-up Wrong for HAY?! in collaboration with the Peckham Refreshment Rooms (local shout out!) this pop up will launch the new collection for HAY in collaboration with Sebastian Wrong.

cdq_logo_webCentral (ever so slightly East-ish)Clerkenwell Design Quarter a long standing area of creativity and design, this is the first year that it has come together as an official district for LDF. There is quite a good map you can find here with details of permanent features and pop-ups alike. Late night on Tuesday 17th.

Ok so there are some amazing places to see and eat in Clerkenwell – it may be one of our favourite places in London (shh don’t tell the others), however the place that we want to check out is actually a little north of there in Angel’s Camden Passage – with a name like SMUG how could we resist?

sdt_logo_webCentral/East: Last but not least the Shoreditch Design Triangle where the hipsters hang out runs from Old Street over to Shoreditch High Street and down to the Shoreditch overground station. Their map sits on the homepage for easy access. Late night Friday 20st.

The Design Destinations

If you’re interested in fully immersing yourself in all things Design, you may want attend one or more of trade shows. Whether you’re in the industry or an enthusiast you can participate in the wealth of exhibitor stands, presentation talks, food, fun and more.

Make sure to check website for details as some only allow access to the pubic on specific days and most require tickets – with discounts/free if you pre-register.

100 percent design100%Design (18-21 Sept, open to trade 18-21, to public 21, free if you pre-register/£15 trade/public) The largest and longest running contemporary design event for industry professionals in the UK. The event is huge (20,0000m2) and held at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre with exhibits on Interiors, Office, Kitchen & Bathrooms and Eco Design & Build. This is LDF’s commercial showcase.

We’ll be heading over to check out the circus of activities and brands. If you’re heading there make sure you’re prepared before you go as it is a bit epic. 

Decorex International 2013

Decorex International (22-25 Sept, open to trade 22, 23, 25, to public 24, £15/£30 trade/public) The UK’s leading luxury design and interiors event. Housed at Perks Field & Orangery at Kensington Palace. This is a high-end presentation of 300 UK and international company with 30% of them new to the show.

We’re interested also in the new Decorex Outdoor & Lifestyle tents with leading landscape architects and gardeners talking about linking the inside with the out.  Also any fair that has a champagne bar is a must visit 😉 


designjuction (18-22 Sept, open to public/trade all days, free if you pre-register)  Labelled as the largest destination for contemporary design and culture in central London. A mix of global brands, smaller cutting-edge labels, design shops, installations, pop-up eateries, interactive factories and a cultural talks programme.

18th is the preview night from 4-6pm and we’re keen on hearing ‘The Next Generation’ New York media partner Apartment Therapy founder and principal Maxwell Ryan introduces his personal selection of Designers Who Will Make a Difference.

We’ll also be saying hello to a few of at{mine}’s stylish partners.  Solid ID will be there among the other  leading brands showcasing individual style and we’ll definitely pop into the retail section and say hi Pitfield London you can even shop the show before you go!

FOCUS/13 (22-25 Sept, trade 22-24, public 25th, free entry, some of the talks are separately ticketed) A showcase of leading international and UK brands located at the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour. A series of interesting exhibitions and inspiring talks you can find the list here.

Some of the ones we’re considering:

Mon 23 Sept 11am-12pm: Conversations in Design hosted by ELLE Decoration ‘Talking Design’ Editor-in-chief Michelle Ogundehin. £15

Tues 24 11.30am-12.30pm: Conversations in Design hosted by How to Spend It, ‘A Life in Design’ Holly Hunt in conversation with style guru Lucia van der Post. £15

Wed 25 10.30am: Breakfast Briefing hosted by Tatler ‘Design Uncovered’ executive retail editor Mariella Tandy navigates the latest trends from interiors/fashion catwalk. £10

10am – 3pm: All Day Masterclass hosted by Livingetc: £20 In association with KLC School of Design. 3 sessions on how to create a home for the way you live 

Tent & Super Brands London

Tent & Superbrands London (19-22 Sept, open to trade/public all days, £8 pre-register) Tent and its sister show Superbrands are leading creative hubs that anchors LDF, worth a visit for anyone looking to discover the best contemporary design.

Some really interesting boutique designers and superbrands exhibiting along with some thoughtful  talks on design and sustainability.

Fri 20 4pm – 5:30pm Design For Good: Interrogating the opportunities and responsibilities at every stage of the design process, Katie Treggiden asks how, in today’s world, is design doing good?

LDF have provided all the information on their website. There is a lot more that we haven’t captured, definitely check it out to make sure you don’t miss anything you’re dying to see.

We’d love to hear from you if you have a strategy for navigating the Festival and if there are specific brands, designers, shows, talks, whatever (!) that we should make a part of our schedule.