Things to see and do at London Design Festival 2023

Design Week’s list of not-to-be-missed events at this year’s London Design Festival.

Talk: Interconnectivity of Systems: Designing for Fairness, Global Design Forum, V&A

As part of LDF’s Global Design Forum, this talk brings together Dr Daniel Fernandez Pascual and Alon Schwabe of Cooking Sections, Chris Hildrey of Proxy Address and Darryl Chen of Hawkins Brown.

Across their three presentations, the speakers will discuss how design thinking can find innovative solutions to some of the most challenging issues, speaking from their respective areas of expertise on sustainable food production, access to support for the homeless, and urban design that prioritises communities over profits.

The talk will take place from 2:35-3:20pm at the Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL. It is free to attend but a ticket is required.

Exhibition: The Farm Shop

Image courtesy Guan Lee

The Farm Shop is a collaborative project curated by Marco Campardo, Guan Lee and Luca Lo Pinto showcasing work developed by designers during residency at research facility, fabrication workshop and live-work space Grymsdyke Farm in Buckinghamshire.

Over the summer of 2023, the designers were invited to live on the farm and use it facilities to produce one design for a collaborative dining collection. Each design draws on the farm’s local materials and community, asking questions about the origins of designed objects and how we care for them.

Farm Shop is at Fels Gallery, 209 Brompton Road, London, SW3 2EJ (Brompton Design District).

Trade fair and talks: Material Matters

Trade fair Material Matters returns for the second year, taking place within the Bankside Design District. Working with waste is a central theme throughout, seen in the work of its exhibiting designers, manufacturers and makers, all looking to make good on the overproduction of the past and present.

Alongside products made with everything from tyre wear waste to recycled aluminium, building waste and waste textiles, a talks programme will cover topics ranging from the scalability of biomaterials, to the trade-offs when working with sustainable design.

“Will visitors find all the answers at Bargehouse? Honestly no. But they will discover some brilliant ideas that point to a different – and more sustainable – future”, says Material Matters co-founder Grant Gibson.

Material Matters will take place from 20-23 September at Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1 9PH.

Installation: Emerging Designer commission

For the second year, LDF is presenting an emerging design commission at the Victoria and Albert Museum, this time from product designer Andu Masebo.

Titled Part Exchange, Masebo is disassembling an Alfa Romeo Cloverleaf – a car “destined for the scrap heap” as it is not compliant with the requirements of ULEZ, the capital’s ultra low emissions zone. Following interviews with the car’s previous owners, for the installation, Masebo is giving new life to the car through three new objects made of its parts: a daybed, coffee table and shelving.

Part Exchange will be exhibited in the Now Galleries, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL.

Materials hub: Re-Made in Park Royal

Inspired by the uplift in designing with waste, Re-made in Park Royal has been collecting discarded materials since March and storing them in its hub for reuse – from simple wood pallets to film sets and shop interiors, as well as four tonnes of raw clay from the nearby HS2 construction site.

Creating a localised circular economy in Park Royal, the group has been working closely with local businesses to collect waste weekly, to be repurposed by local creatives in need of materials.

 Re-Made in Park Royal is open 16 September from 10am -6pm, and 17 September from 11am -6pm at EX2, 41-43 Standard Road, London, NW10 6HF

Exhibition: Atelier100 Drop02

Returning for its second year, Atelier100, run by H&M and Ingka Group (Ikea retail), is looking to refine its experiment in hyper-local design and manufacturing with a new larger cohort of 22 designers spanning disciplines from industrial design to fashion design.

As with last year, all designs must be designed and made within 100km of central London. Many of the creatives take inspirations from their surrounds too: such as design studio CAN’s chair, made from local storm-fallen plane trees, or sculptor Jess Flood Paddock’s magnified bicycle saddle chair, which draws attention to the city’s thriving market in stolen bike parts.

The range will be available to view and pre-order during LDF as part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle and the Dalston to Stokey Design District, as well as its year-round Hammersmith store and Priced between £20 to £750, the collection will be available to purchase from the end of November.

Find it: Atelier100 Dalston pop-up showroom, 3 Mare Street, E8 4RS

Exhibition: The Spirit of Invention, the National Archives


The Spirit of Invention is a new exhibition at the National Archives, inviting visitors to dive into the thousands of creative designs registered with the Board of Trade from 1839 onwards, right up to the present day.

According to the organisers, the Designs Registration Act of 1839, which introduced copyright for all “ornamental” designs in the UK, spurred a flurry of registrations from people across the country, showcasing creative inventions in an era of rapid social change.

Among the 19th and 20th century designs  are a ventilating top hat to a flying machine; more recent highlights include a necklace that changes colour to signal poor air quality, a portable washing machine using recycled shower water, and clothing engineered to expand with children as they grow.

The Spirit of Invention is open from 16 – 24 September at the National Archives, Bessant Drive, Kew, Surrey, TW94DU.

Talk: Negroni Talks: Ai or Die



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The ongoing Negroni Talks series decamps from its usual location to Greenwich’s design district for LDF, with an evening of food, drinks and debate in Bureau’s restaurant, hosted by Fourth Space and sponsored by Campari.

Featuring AI researcher Munkhtulga Battogtokh from King’s College London, Gareth Edwards of Shutterstock and Usman Haque & Ling Tan of Umbrellium, with host artist and writer Will Jennings, the evening looks to “ask important questions about the growing role of AI in culture and design.

Ai or Die will take place on Thursday 21 September, 6pm at Bureau, Design District, 13 Soames Walk Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0AX. Tickets cost £15 including food, and some free tickets are available.

More to see:

V&A Digital Design Weekend: On 23 and 24 September, V&A South Kensington will be hosting a weekend of free interactive installations, showcases, workshops, talks and family-friendly activities exploring the impact and influence of technology.

Bringing together designers, researchers, artists and technologists, the weekend will focus on collaboration, participation and critical response.

District Lates: If you’re looking to explore during the evenings, several of the districts have evenings of special events within their programming, taking place on different nights:

16 and 17 September (Park Royal); 18 September (Mayfair); 19 September (Islington, Shoreditch); 20 September (Battersea, Fitzrovia, Greenwich, King’s Cross); 21 September (Bankside, Brompton, Chelsea, Southwark); 23 September, Dalston to Stokey Design District.


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