London Design Festival preview – Central London

A huge rubberised Sound Portal will mark the return of the popular LDF Trafalgar Square installation, which took a hiatus in 2011.

The Be Open Sound Portal, by Arup
The Be Open Sound Portal, by Arup

The structure is a collaboration between creative think tank Be Open and Arup designers, acousticians and engineers.

Each day the space will feature a new piece of music commissioned for the portal to help visitors explore how sound can transform their environment.

A stone’s throw away is the British Council HQ’s exhibition on the architecture of Lino Bo Bardi, an Italian who worked predominantly in Brazil, adopting social design principals through a culture of convivial diversity where old and young interact.

Exhibition curator Noemi Blager says Bo Bardi’s works ‘are organised without hierarchy; swimming is as important as a jazz concert or playing chess.’

Social enterprise Cockpit Arts helps UK designer-makers with studio space and other support packages. Through a ‘Willy Wonka style golden ticket’ giveaway, the organisation is offering daily champagne tours with live demonstrations and special gifts. Register your interest at before 20 September.

Design Junction, held at The Sorting Office of New Oxford Street, is a Russian doll model of festivals within festivals.

Design Junction
Design Junction

It’s a playground for design-led brands and this year takes in The Tramshed event – a curated lifestyle collection of established and emerging products. Plus there’ll be pop-up eateries, a cinema and the Mid-Century Modern show.

Among this lot Finnish furniture brand Artek, Canadian brand Bocci and  French Crystal brand Baccarat will be showing their latest wares.

The Crafts Council’s touring Added Value exhibition will be there – a look at the value of contemporary craft within today’s climate of branding and luxury.

Graphic art aficionados Outline Editions will be presenting a brand new collection of prints by Noma Bar, Anthony Burrill and Kristjana S Williams.

Kristjana S Williams for Outline Editions
Kristjana S Williams for Outline Editions

Culinary picks include The Macallan Master Class to The Masters of Photography, where the art of whisky and photography are equally celebrated. The work of Rankin and Albert Watson will be on display and you’ll get to sample a dram of The Macallan.

A more sobering and food-based alternative is  Design Junction’s Transport for London Canteen, designed by Michael Sodeau and inspired by TFL’s 1950s staff canteens.

Meanwhile, participants in the Fitzrovia Now design destination include EDC London, Forza, Hastens, Ligne Roset, Material Lab, Minotti London, Republic of Fritz Hansen in partnership with Skandium, RIBA Bookshop, Riding House Cafe, Sanderson, Together Design and VOLA.

Fritz Hansen is collaborating with everyone’s favourite Danish toy, Lego, on a series of workshops and competitions. It will continue to show the collection of Ant chairs customised by artists to help raise funds for chef Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation.

__Mould in Motion__ by ECAL-Philipp Grundho¨fer

Source: ECAL-Nicolas Genta

__Mould in Motion__ by ECAL-Philipp Grundho¨fer, at Gallery Libby Sellers

Gallery Libby Sellers on Berners street will be holding an exhibition of glass works by the Product Design Master students of ECAL, the University of Art and Design Lausanne. Running from 6 – 29 September, the show presents eight works produced in a student workshop led by designer Ronan Bouroullec and glassblower Matteo Gonet.

London Design Festival runs  from 14 -23  September. For more information visit

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