What to see at the London Design Festival

This September, take a whirlwind tour around the design capital of the world

Villa Walala by Camille Walala

Celebrating and promoting the British capital’s design talent, the London Design Festival is an ambitious programme of more than 450 projects and events. Returning this year for its 15th edition, it will offer both residents and visitors the chance to experience innovative and challenging design across the city. Here are some highlights to add to your diaries now…

Villa Walala, Exchange Square, Broadgate 

Created by the textile designer Camille Walala, this huge inflatable sculpture will transform Exchange Square into a colourful urban kaleidoscope. With its dazzling primary colours and digitally printed patterns, the vinyl and nylon construction resembles a castle created from outsize building blocks. The designer, who wanted to “create a sense of the unexpected”, hopes that her larger-than-life creation will be a space for Londoners to come and relax during breaks from the office. 16 to 24 September.

Drop in the Ocean’, ME London, The Strand

This nature-inspired installation addresses a timely issue: the problem of the world’s plastic waste and the extensive littering of our oceans. Designed by Brodie Neill and displayed in the nine-storey Atrium of the ME London hotel, the exhibit is made from the self-created material Ocean Terrazzo and will use elements of video to create a multi-sensory experience. 14 to 30 September.

Urban Cabin by Mini Living and Sam Jacob Studio 

Urban Cabin, OXO Tower Wharf Courtyard

Mini Living is a long-term research project exploring the future of urban habitats based on the creative use of space through innovative design. For this year’s festival, the Mini Living team has teamed up with Sam Jacob Studio to design a micro-house that can be used as a research space. With features that reflect London’s unique identity, the Urban Cabin includes a shared kitchen and a micro-library where visitors can share and swap literature tabout the history of life in the capital.16 to 24 September.

‘Dovima with Sacha’, cloche and suit by Balenciaga, Café des Deux Magots, Paris, 1955. Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’ talk, V&A Museum

The V&A exhibition researcher Stephanie Wood will lead a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s exhibition exploring the vision and legacy of the fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga, whose revolutionary shapes and extraordinary craftsmanship shaped 1960s style, from Givenchy’s exquisite couture to the avant-garde streetwear of Demna Gvasalia. 22 September.

‘Reflection Room’ by Flynn Talbot

Reflection Room’, V&A Museum

Immerse yourself in a world of coloured light at the first London Design Festival installation to be housed in the Prince Consort Gallery at the V&A. The 35-metre-long gallery will be illuminated by Flynn Talbot’s hallmark blue and orange lights, with large black reflective Barrisol panels adding depth. Highlighting the dramatic architecture of the space, which was once home to more than 30,000 textile samples, the exhibit offers visitors a fragmented, kaleidoscopic visual experience. 16 to 24 September.

Camden Highline, Camden Gardens

Throughout London Design Festival, the team behind the Camden Highline will run daily walking tours along the proposed route, which aims to turn a section of disused railway between Camden Town and King’s Cross into an urban-nature retreat, much like New York’s famous High Line. 16 to 24 September.

Cocktail Atmospheres, Sketch London 

Presented by Matter of Stuff, this exhibition will feature works by 13 new international designers, including Sabina Belfiore Lucovich’s Luminarie, a handcrafted light inspired by the illumination at religious festivals in southern Italy. A flight of cocktails created by Sketch mixologists for the occasion will be on offer, providing a tantalising edible-design experience. Matter of Stuff will also debut Noda and Deskscape, two design pieces created during the studio’s Designer Residency programme with students from Camberwell College of Arts and Kingston University. 19 September to 15 November.

London Design Festival runs from 16 to 24 September. 

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