Design events to check out in September

As we approach autumn, September brings with it several not-to-be-missed design events, including the 19th edition of London Design Festival.

Festival: London Design Festival

After a scaled-back instalment last year because of the pandemic, London Design Festival (LDF) is returning in 2021 with a programme that aims to help people “rediscover the entire city”. As visitors have come to expect, a raft of commissioned projects, events, installations and exhibitions have been planned, with the action kicking off on 18 September.

Highlights are likely to include an “almost living” installation housed at the V&A and a city-wide outdoor gallery project from Yinka Ilori. The latter will see the designer team up with students from University of the Arts London to share their work in a way they haven’t been able to in the last 18 months. Another thing to look out for will be Rye Here Rye Now’s talks programme and 4th birthday celebration.

A total of “eight or nine” commissioned projects can be expected this year, according to LDF co-founder Ben Evans, who confirmed last month that the festival would continue in a hybrid model. That said, he says “nothing beats the live experience”.

LDF will run at various sites across London from the 18 to 26 September. For more information, check out the LDF website, and keep an eye out for Design Week’s upcoming previews.


Talk series: Designing for Your Future Self

Part of a series of events announced in partnership with the Design Age Institute and the Design Museum, Designing for Your Future self is a collection of talks which invite audiences to “explore the ideas, trends and passions that are shaping our future lives”.

The series will launch on 21 September with a session of designing a world for “everyone” – it will bring together researchers, designers and policymakers, who will talk through how design can be used to transform post-Covid society. Future sessions will cover topics as diverse as ageing in a world affected by climate change, and sex and intimacy in older age.

Designing for Your Future Self will host its first talk at the Design Museum in London on 21 September. More information on the series can be found on the Design Museum website.


Networking event: #DesignPopUp

Billed as “two inspiring, educational and unmissable days” in Manchester, #DesignPopUp will provide its guests with opportunities to network and discover new products and makers across the weekend, as well as share their own work.

As well as opportunity for browsing and networking, visitors will also get access to talks and other sessions. This year’ headline talk will be a panel discussion with BDP Studio, about how the Nightingale North West Covid treatment hospital was built. All of this will be housed in Manchester’s Hallé St Peters, a space located in the Ancoats area of the city which has long-held ties to its textile trade.

#DesignPopUp will take place from 9 to 10 September in Manchester. For more information, head to the #DesignPopUp website.


Webinar: Design in the Business Ecosystem

Hosted by the Design Network North, the Design in the Business Ecosystem webinar is the latest in the organisation’s Rise and Design series. As with previous talks, it will be held over Zoom, meaning prospective listeners can tune in from anywhere.

The intention behind the webinar is to show good design can impact all parts of a business. Speakers – yet to be announced – will set out their “proof” for this claim over the course of the morning on the 10 September.

Those looking to attend the online event will need to register, but places are free.

Design in the Business Ecosystem will take place on 10 September, and places can be reserved via the webinar’s Eventbrite page.


Exhibition: Free

From early September, BSMT Gallery in London will showcase Free, from designer and typographer Dave Towers. The show will feature “eye-catching, bold hand-painted typographic works” from the designer, who also works as the creative director for design at Oglivy UK.

Towers’ personal creative practice has run in tandem alongside his professional life. Both sides have seen him experience challenges – as he explains, the constraints of student finance meant he had to drop out of university while studying graphic design. That said, he says that growing up in a “grey new town” just outside of Liverpool instilled in him early on a desire to have a career with “colour and creativity”.

Visitors to Free will see Towers’ work and how the designer takes influence from the Japanese belief of Wabi Sabi, which is based in the idea of acceptance and beauty of imperfection. Describing it as a “form of calligraphy”, the work on display will be loosely based around the experiences of people during the pandemic.

Free will open from 3 to 12 September at BSMT Gallery in Dalston, London. For more information, head to the BSMT website.


Also check out:

  • Underground Uncovered – a weekend of talks and family activities at the Museum Depot, Acton. Visitors will get the chance to hear about the “rich design history” of London’s transport network, with talks on things like poster design and art. Runs from 23 to 26 September.
  • Clerkenwell Open – a new showroom trail designed to showcase the work that London’s furniture design district has been developing during the pandemic. Open from 9 to 10 September.
  • Game Six – an installation from Studio Sutherl& based on the 1972 chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. Played out over 128 minutes in Regent’s Park, the studio asks those who want to come to RSVP via event@gamesix.news, and also that onlookers wear black or white.

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