London Design Festival stars shift focus to art market

A number of London Design Festival exhibitors are starting to align themselves with the art world’s round of London fairs in October, a month after the annual whirl of design festivities.

The fairs, including the inaugural Design Art London event and the Frieze art fair, which bring collectors and investors from around the globe to London, are pulling the limited-edition design market towards the art world.

Most notably, upmarket furniture manufacturer Established & Sons will have a different presence at this year’s LDF, with a non-selling exhibition – Elevating Design – reworking design objects into art, while its production pieces, unveiled earlier this year at Milan, will show through selected retailers only.

Independently, the company is to launch its own gallery space in Piccadilly, London, for one-off design pieces, to coincide with the opening of Frieze.

Karen Malacarne, spokeswoman for the company, says that it made more sense to launch the gallery during Frieze, rather than the LDF, in order for it to be recognised by the art world. She declines to disclose exhibitor details.

Meanwhile, Libby Sellers, former curator at the Design Museum, is also hoping to capture the attention of the art world with the launch of Gallery Libby Sellers, which will open during the LDF and close at the same time as Frieze.

The gallery will be based around an exhibition concept called Grandmateria, and will feature specially commissioned limited edition pieces by Stuart Haygarth, Moritz Waldemeyer, Julia Lohman, Gero Grundmann and Peter Marigold.

Sellers says she plans to take the concept on to Design Miami in the US later in the year.

LDF deputy director William Knight says it is understandable that exhibitors within the limited edition design market, like Established & Son, are looking to ‘seize the moment’.

He adds that this year’s festival will ‘reflect the trend’ with Size and Matter, an installation by Amanda Levete and Zaha Hadid, which will be auctioned off by Phillips de Pury in October.

• The Frieze art fair will run from 11-14 October at Regents Park, London NW1
• Design Art London will run from 12-14 October at Hanover Square, London W1
• Established & Sons’ Elevating Design will run from 17-20 September at Westminster University, Marylebone Road, London NW1
• Established & Sons’ design gallery will open on 11 October at Duke Street, London W1
• Size and Matter will be on view in situ throughout the London Design Festival, until 13 October
• Grandmateria will be on show at a temporary space on Exhibition Road, London SW7, from 19 September to 14 October

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