Picks of the month: the best design events to catch in September

From exhibitions to books, there’s plenty going on this month for designers, their kids (and even their dogs) to catch.

Festival: London Design Festival

The capital’s annual celebration of design in nearly upon us, but this year will see some slight changes to its regular format as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. There will be some notable absences for this year’s line-up – the usual LDF installation at the V&A will not be going ahead this year, for example, because of the museum’s phased reopening plans.

Despite this, organisers are still set on designers experiencing London Design Festival, both in person and online. The altered offering will take in installations, including one at the newly established design district in Stratford, panels, talks and seminars. As ever nature and sustainability will be a focus – check out The Hothouse installation for a greenhouse “controlled habitat” of plants not native to the UK (pictured above), or The Circular Design Project for information on how to shift design practices into a greener space.

For those unable to make it into the city, the festival will also feature a virtual design destination, hosted by digital e-commerce platform Adorno. This is where visitors will find the festival’s curated country collections, with 26 design scenes represented from around the world.

Info: London Design Festival runs from 12-20 September. For more info and details on the line up, head here. Keep an eye on Design Week over the coming days for previews and news relating to the festival.

Podcast: iD Cast, by Design Truth

When Brad Harper was put on furlough during lockdown, like so many others in the industry, he found himself with a lot more free time than he was used to. With a few friends, he set up Design Truth’s iD Cast as a way to engage with the creative community and pass the time away from work.

Fast forward to today and the podcast is now reaching several thousand people as it continues to “de-fragment” the community within industrial design. Harper says the episodes are aimed at designers “on the front line”: “It’s informal, not stuffy, beer-after-work chat”.

So far, the podcast has attracted guests including designers from Elvie, Design Partners and Samsung. Topics covered include the future of travel, working in China and why diversity is so important in industrial design. In the coming weeks, the podcast will also be expanding out to Australia.

Info: Listeners can learn more about the project here, and listen to Design Truth Episodes here.

Exhibition: Architecture for Dogs at Japan House

The nations’ dogs have been a source of constant support throughout lockdown, be it through reassurance or distraction. As cultural institutions begin to reopen their doors, Japan House’s latest exhibition, Architecture for Dogs, could be one way to thank your furry best friend for their loyal service.

Featuring the work of 16 architects and designers, including the likes of Kengo Kuma and Toyo Ito, the exhibition looks to explore the “relationship between dogs and their people”. The internationally renowned cohort have created a selection of design-led beds, toys and activities which are tailor-made for different breeds and their personalities.

Highlights are likely to include Paramount – a mirrored structure from German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic – which is targeted at poodles, a breed well-known for liking its own reflection; and a fluffy bichon frise hideaway by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, which aims to provide a safe space for the breed to relax.

Info: Architecture for Dogs runs from 19 September 2020 – 10 January 2021. For more information, head here. For tickets head here.

Experience: MinaLima’s new home

Since 2001, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima have worked to design and create whimsical worlds for the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts film franchises. Four years ago, the pair opened up MinaLima HQ on Soho’s Greek Street to the world.

One million visitors later and the pair have outgrown their home, and have now transformed a four-storey townhouse just around the corner into their new HQ. As with the first building, this new experience will take fans through the 19-year history of MinaLima – the ground and lower-ground floors will feature designs from the duo’s back catalogue that are available to purchase.

The space aims to place visitors right at the heart of the graphic universes the studio has created, with replications of the likes of infamous Azkaban wanted posters, to Harry’s Hogwarts acceptance letter.

Info: The House of MinaLima opens 1 September. For more information, head here.

Online exhibition: Knit! By Kvadrat

Handcrafts boomed during lockdown as people sought to find different ways of occupying time indoors. Those who took up knitting or other textile-related pastimes then might be interested in this latest showcase from Dutch fabric manufacturers Kvadrat Febrik opening in September.

Knit! is a series of work by 28 different designers “exploring the potential of knitted textiles”, according to the organisers, which will debut in Copenhagen during the 3 Days of Design event. Fans who can’t make it to Netherlands will be pleased to know that the exhibition will also live online as a “digital, interactive” experience which can be viewed online.

The brief for designers was simple: explore the potential of Kvadrat textiles through their work. The final roster of pieces includes work from British designer Yinka Ilori (pictured above). Ilori’s work is titled “A Trifle of Colour”, and is a soft-furnished abstract chair design in his signature bright colours.

Info: Knit! will debut at 3 Days of Design from 3-5 September before migrating online. For information about the online exhibition, head here.

For kids: Nonstop, by Tomi Ungerer

Nonstop, published 3 September by Phaidon

Legendary artist and children’s author Tomi Ungerer died in early 2019, having published nearly 40 illustrated books for young readers. Ungerer passed away before he could witness the turbulence 2020 has brought, and yet this posthumously published book by Phaidon delivers messages of resilience, trust and friendship that are acutely tied to our lives today.

Nonstop tells the story of Vasco, a character living in a time where Earth is devastated and abandoned, with all of Earth’s former population now living on the moon. Aimlessly wandering empty streets, he happens upon baby Poco, whom he must now protect from nonstop dangers.

The narrative is brought to life by Ungerer’s signature illustration style which takes readers from a dark and desolate world into something more hopeful. It is designed to be read by children aged 5-8.

Info: Nonstop will be published by Phaidon 3 September. For more information head here.


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