London Design Festival 2017 – 5 must-see exhibitions

As LDF returns to the capital this September, we’ll be taking a look at some of the key events to look forward to in a series of previews. Next on the agenda is exhibitions.

Design Frontiers

Somerset House © Flickr, Bob Broglia

What: Set to be one of the most exciting parts of London Design Festival this year, Design Frontiers will enlighten visitors with the work of 30 acclaimed, international designers. Taking over Somerset House for one week, exhibits will span graphics, product, digital, fashion and automotive design. Expect to see an installation made of London’s rubbish to mark the launch of new recycling-focused furniture brand Pentatonic, a new line of clothing from designers Jaime Hayon and Jasper Morrison, and a new tech product brand by Benjamin Hubert. Watch the Design Week site for further details, to be announced on Monday.

When: 18-24 September.

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

Info: Entry is free. For more info, head to the Design Frontiers site.

Creative Unions

Quantworm Mine, by Nina Cutler and Liv Bargman, part of Creative Unions. Courtesy of LDF

What: See the work of London’s budding, young designers at Creative Unions, an exhibition showcasing concept projects created by this year’s Central Saint Martins graduates. The theme is on tackling social issues, challenging isolationism, and defying geographical and cultural boundaries, and students have produced work across all disciplines from product and digital to graphics and fashion. You will see a children’s toy teaching kids about family unity, an anti-isolationist and pro-diversity board game, and illustrations demonstrating the colourful and varied communities of London.

When: 16 September – 21 October.

Where: Lethaby Gallery, 1 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AA.

Info: Entry is free. For more info, head to the University of the Arts London (UAL) site.

Indian Design Platform: Bold – Graphic Design from India

Liquid Ink by Ranganath Krishnamani, courtesy of LDF

What: In partnership with pro-diversity group Create Culture, this rich and exciting exhibition will be a visual feast for visitors. Bold will explore the work of contemporary Indian graphic designers, including posters, magazines, typography, films and digital works. It will take London Design Festival truly out of London, with a unique perspective on a host of vibrant styles and designers currently undiscovered in the British creative scene.

When: 6-30 September.

Where: Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA.

Info: Entry is free. For more info, head to the Create Culture site.

Restoration Station x Yinka Ilori

© Dan Weill

What: This interesting collaboration will not only give visitors the chance to see the colourful work of British-Nigerian graphic designer Yinka Ilori, but also promote a good cause. Restoration Station is a charity that helps those recovering from addiction to learn new skills, build confidence and avoid relapse through reviving old, used furniture. Ilori will work with the participants of the charity to bring furniture to life with his distinctive, bold style. The collection will also be sold at the same site as the exhibition throughout the festival.

When: 16-24 September.

Where: Restoration Station workshop, 118 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JN.

Info: Entry is free. For more info, head to the London Design Festival site.

Letterform Archive: Graphic Design Process

Logo pasteup for Emigre magazine, courtesy of LDF

What: The process before reaching final designs can be just as fascinating as the finished products themselves, as shown by recently published books such as the Visual Diaries of Lance Wyman. The Letterform Archive, a San Francisco-based organisation which promotes typography and lettering, is hosting a pop-up exhibition on this concept, including the work of London Underground designer Edward Johnston and type foundry Emigre Inc. This will mark the archive’s first UK exhibition, and will be accompanied by a series of gallery walk-throughs with curator Rob Saunders and librarian Amelia Grounds.

When: 20-24 September.

Where: Devonshire House, 68 Union Street, London SE1 1TD.

Info: Entry is free. For more info on evening and daytime gallery walk-throughs, head here and here.


Also don’t miss:

  • Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? at Wellcome Collection – an exploration of graphic design in healthcare. Free entry, head here for info. Read our piece on the show here.
  • Zaha Hadid Gallery – a look into the insights of the late, renowned Iraqi architect and her practice. Free entry, head here for info.
  • Diversity and Inclusivity by Design at Stephen Lawrence Gallery – an exhibition of international, empowering designs aimed at improving people’s lives. Free entry, head here for info.

London Design Festival 2017 takes place 16-24 September across various locations in London.

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