London Design Festival preview: design destinations – east and central

What to watch out for at Designjunction, Designersblock and Tent.


Designjunction at the Sorting Office building
Designjunction at the Sorting Office building

Following its move last year to the gargantuan Sorting Office building on New Oxford Street, Designjunction is returning to the 11 000m2 space from 18-22 September this year.

The ground floor will host a series of ‘Flash Factories’, featuring live demonstrations of industrial production. Last year this featured a Thonet bentwood chair workshop, and this year Brooks saddles will be demonstrating how they make their hand-crafted leather saddles, and Additive Earth Systems, the Bartlett School of Architecture and Blueprint magazine will be running a 3D printing competition.

The Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of photographs by design writer Barbara Chandler, featuring some well-known design personalities, and galleries including Outline Editions (which produced these lovely Oyster Card holders) will be exhibiting.

Brands including Anglepoise, Republic of Fritz Hansen, Miele and Pengelly Design will be exhibiting at the show, which will this year feature the Lightjunction trade fair, dedicated to high-end decorative lighting.

Designjunction will also operate as the hub for the Tokyobike guided bike tours, showing design highlights across the city.

Designjunction runs from 18-22 September at The Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford Street, London WC1A. For more information visit

Designersblock at the Southbank Centre

The world's biggest lava lamp, by Mathmos
The world’s biggest lava lamp, by Mathmos

Designersblock continues its residence at the Southbank Centre, where it moved to last year, and promises a showcase of talented young designers, more established exhibitors, and an international focus.

Alongside its programme of exhibitions, seminars and workshops, Designersblock will also host pavilions focusing on design from India, Mexico and Sweden.

This year it is also introducing new show The Fifth Element, which it describes as ‘a live exhibition of installations, where “designtists”, “futurologists” and “dreamers” advance the boundaries of design by fusing research and scientific technologies to create experimental concepts.’

Contributors to the Fifth Element will include Joshua Barnes, creator of the QR-coded Communication Quilt, and medical illustrator Emily Evans.

Meanwhile another highlight (quite literally) will be the ‘world’s biggest lava lamp’, which is being installed in the Royal Festival Hall’s shop by British firm Mathmos.

We’re also looking forward to seeing the Designersblock 2013 identity, created by Hawaii Design and based around a periodic table theme, in the flesh.

Designersblock runs at the Southbank Centre, London SE1, from 19-22 September, while The Fifth Element runs from 15-22 September. For more information visit

Tent and Superbrands

Last year's Tent
Last year’s Tent

New at Tent this year is Brink, a show dedicated to showcasing graduate design talent.

Brink will take over an 800m2 space at the Old Truman Brewery, and will show university and graduate collective stands, as well as a collection of the best graduate work of 2013, as selected by Katie Treggiden of Confessions of a Design Geek.

Elsewhere at Tent there will be the tenth annual showcase from 100% Norway, as well as offerings from the Crafts Council of Ireland and Fresh Taiwan.

Tent exhibitors will include the likes of Kristjana S Williams, Magma Books and Lizzie Mary Cullen.

Superbrands, meanwhile, will be showcasing the work of Front, Ercol, Ligne Roset, and other big-name furniture companies.

Tent and Superbrands will also be hosting a series of talks, from the likes of Nina Tolstrup, Sebastian Bergne and Royal College of Art lecturer Dr Cecilia Wee.

Tent and Superbrands are at the Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street, London E1, from 19-22 September. For more information visit

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