5 exhibitions to catch at London Design Festival 2018

From celebrating late designer Jon Daniel’s work in showcasing black creativity through to exploring 40 countries’ installations at London Design Biennale, here’s the exhibitions and shows to catch at this year’s LDF.

Jon Daniel: Retrospective

Afro Supa Hero, by Jon Daniel. Photo courtesy of Jane Daniel.

What: The late Jon Daniel, who died last year, was not only a talented creative director, but also an advocate for black rights and designers from minority backgrounds. Before his death, he also ran a Design Week column called Four Corners, where he spotlighted numerous designers from the African diaspora, many of whom were previously little known. As a graphic designer, he created campaigns and branding for Black History Month and Operation Black Vote, and compiled books on black pop-cultural icons from the 20th century, aimed at both adults and children. This LDF show is hosted by Brixton-based gallery 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, nearby to where Daniel lived. It will be devoted to his work, and will be accompanied by an events programme including a talk by Kunle Olulode, director at BME (black minority ethnic) charity Voice4Change, a panel discussion on Daniel’s work mentoring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, a photography workshop and a drawing and design workshop for Lambeth-based school children. Read Design Week’s obituary of Daniel here.

When: 17-21 September 2018.

Where: 198 Railton Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0JT.

Info: The exhibition, workshops and talks are free. For more information, head here.

Mini Wonders: Czech Toys, Past and Present

Toy by Ceska Hracka. Photo courtesy of London Design Festival.

What: Adults can feel like kids in a sweetshop when they visit an exhibition devoted entirely to toys at this year’s LDF. From Nordic-inspired, wooden animals through to inflatable plastic toys and magnetic puzzles, Mini Wonders will delve into toys created by designers in the Czech Republic since 1920. The country has a history of toy-making, and is particularly well-known for its traditional, hand-made, wooden ones. The show will also look at contemporary designers and illustrators, and will feature toys produced by studios including Merkur, Re Pello and Fatra.

When: 15-23 September 2018.

Where: Czech Centre, 30 Kensington Palace Gardens, London W8 4QY.

Info: The exhibition is free. For more information, head here.

Enid Marx: Print, Pattern and Popular Art

Enid Marx book cover design. Photo courtesy of London Design Festival.

What: The late Enid Marx is one of the best-known designers of the 20th century. A painter, illustrator, printmaker, engraver and designer, she is renowned for her moquette fabric designs created for the London Transport board, which went on to be used on seats of London buses and tube trains, many of which still reman today. She also designed Royal Mail stamps and covers for Penguin Books, and her painterly, illustrative style remains distinctive and an inspiration for contemporary artists. This retrospective exhibition is a homage to the designer, and coincides with the 20th anniversary of her death, bringing together 150 pieces of her work from private and public collections, many of which will be displayed for the first time.

When: Until 23 September 2018.

Where: House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4BH.

Info: Tickets cost £7.50, or £5 for concessions. For more information, head here and here.

London Design Biennale 2018

Greek pavilion, by Studio Ini. Photo: © Ed Reeve

What: Now in its second edition, the young London Design Biennale runs alongside LDF, and takes over the whole of Somerset House throughout September with a huge exhibition containing 40 installations from different countries across the world. Each country has responded in its own way to the theme of Emotional States, with entries as broad as the eeriness of facial recognition technology delved into by the USA, through to a giant walkway that moves and distorts as visitors run through it designed by Greece. Read Design Week’s top picks from the gargantuan show here, and read about this year’s award winners from the Biennale here, with medals given for best overall pavilion, best response to the theme, best design and the public’s vote.

When: Until 23 September 2018.

Where: Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA.

Info: Tickets cost £19.50, or £16.50 for concessions. For more information, head here and here.

Tactile Minds: Ceramics Exhibition in Support of Mind

The Space In-Between, by Claudia Wassiczek. Photo courtesy of London Design Festival.

What: The importance of recognising mental health issues and nurturing and supporting a healthy mind has been emphasised by health practitioners and government initiatives in recent years, thanks to much campaigning by charities such as Mind. This exhibition sees 22 ceramic artists and craftspeople create pieces in response to their own mental health, noting any high and low points, with the aim of raising awareness. The show looks to open visitors’ eyes to the broad spectrum of mental illness and wellness that exists, and encourage people to talk about their own experiences with others, and seek professional help. There will also be a pop-up shop running alongside the exhibition, with artists’ work for sale.

When: 18-23 September 2018.

Where: The Miller’s House, Three Mill Lane, Bromley-by-Bow, London E3 3DU.

Info: The exhibition is free. For more information, head here.

Also catch:

  • Belonging, by Design Museum: A series of talks, installations and exhibitions that will delve into the theme of belonging, particularly looking at design that is inclusive of people with physical and mental impairments. For more info, head here.
  • Creative Unions: a showcase of Central Saint Martins’ (CSM) graduates’ work, which looks at how design can tackle social and political issue such as prejudice and isolationism. For more info, head here.
  • Beazley Designs of the Year 2018: The Design Museum’s annual showcase of the best in design from the last year, spanning six categories including architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport. For more info, head here.
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