What should you be looking out for at the London Design Festival?

With this year’s London Design Festival set to start this month, we ask design commentators what shows they’re most excited about.

Alice Rawsthorn, design journalist, The New York Times. © Chris Moore
Alice Rawsthorn, design journalist, The New York Times. © Chris Moore

“I’m looking forward to seeing Max Lamb’s ‘My Grandfather’s Tree’ project at Somerset House. Over several years, Max felled a dead female ash tree on his grandfather’s farm in North Yorkshire, helped by a friend Jon Turnbull. The tree was cut into 131 logs, from the top down, respecting the natural structure of the knots, branches and crotches. Max has since remade the logs into chairs, stools, tables or other useful things, and young ashes are now growing on the remains of the original tree.”


Paula Benson, partner, Form
Paula Benson, partner, Form

“I will be attending LDF15 with my Film and Furniture hat on – my own lovingly curated website which directs people on where to find the furniture and decor they’ve spotted in their favourite films. I am looking forward to seeing Zotem at the V&A: a huge monolith embedded with over-sized Swarovski crystals, by designer Kim Thomé (I’m pretty obsessed with monoliths – Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a firm fave). You’ll also find me taking a pew in the newly launched 18k gold-plated Knoll Bertoia diamond chair, while listening to a talk by his daughter at the Knoll showroom. 100% Design, designjunction and Tent/SuperBrands have all also been firmly nestled into the schedule.”


Katie Treggiden, editor, Fiera magazine
Katie Treggiden, editor, Fiera magazine

“I am really looking forward to the London Design Festival this year. It’ll be the second one I’ve covered for Fiera Magazine, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for new designers with brave ideas that make the world a better place in some way – large or small. Tent London and designjunction are my usual stomping grounds for new talent, but I’m also excited about seeing Future Heritage and new work from Sebastian Cox, Naomi Paul and Bethan Grey at Decorex, which unusually, falls within the nine days of LDF this year.”

Sebastian Conran
Sebastian Conran, director, Sebastian Conran Associates. © Richard Seymour

“Well, there is so much to look forward to, it is difficult to highlight one particular thing – however, I can say what I am not looking forward to, and that is performing a Pecha Kucha presentation on colour at 100% Design. I first did one in Tokyo in 2003 – it was excruciatingly embarrassing and I swore never to do it again. When talked into doing one this year on colour at 100% Design, I said okay, just so long as it was not in the East End of London (thinking it was bound to be in trendy Shoreditch – I cannot stand predictability). It turns out that it’s in Kensington Olympia, almost opposite our studio. It’s 6pm on 24 September, if you want to witness ritual humiliation and professional suicide.”


Daniel Charny, Professor of Design, Kingston University. © Gareth Gardner
Daniel Charny, Professor of Design, Kingston University. © Gareth Gardner

“I’m excited by the joined-up thinking that is connecting maker spaces, studios, shops, galleries and workshops to become the new Maker Mile network. This initiative, driven by Open Workshop Network in collaboration with Machines Room, is an inspiring example of maker culture attitude towards sharing and resources. And with all the hype around ‘making’, it will be great to see what people are actually making during the ‘Open Mile’ night of workshops and demos. It also sounds like a chance to experience an ambitious prototype for a community of local makers, pulling together to offer open and inclusive access to what could be shared resources.”


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