London Design Festival Preview: Highlights from east and south London

As usual, east London is brimming with events, exhibitions, workshops and all manner of other design-related delights for London Design Festival. We’ve listed below just a few things that we’re most looking forward to in the area, as well as a couple of shows to check out south of the river.

Dan Tobin Smith, Kipple
Dan Tobin Smith, Kipple


Ace Hotel

The Ace Hotel in Shoreditch is the Shoreditch Design Triangle’s official ‘hub’ (LDF loves a hub), and will feature a series of installations, exhibitions and activities throughout the festival’s tenure. Modern Design Review magazine is presenting its Super Stimuli show; while Italian studio Fabrica is looking to the ordinary at its exhibition in the hotel’s reception area. Presenting a range of “ordinary things”, the pieces in the exhibition have been designed by a range of Italian creatives as “reinterpretations of daily rituals that are made special through attention to detail”, says Ace Hotel.

It adds: “Their formal simplicity, shapes and materials become a tribute to the beauty of basic and small pleasures in life. Common actions such as hanging a picture on a wall, a morning exercise or having drinks with friends are rendered a little bit more special than they already are; domestic, yet exquisite.”

The Ace Hotel shows run from 16 – 21 September at Ace Hotel Shoreditch, 100 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JQ

Dan Tobin Smith’s kipple

One of the shows we’re most excited to see at LDF is perhaps the festival’s most useless – which is no bad thing. The piece, entitled The First Law of Kipple, sees the Tobin Smith’s east London studio transformed into a huge art installation in which the floor has been completely covered in useless objects collected by the artist or donated by the public, carefully arranged by colour to create a rainbow of tat.

To navigate through the work, visitors have to cross through small pathways through the debris – dubbed “kipple” by Tobin Smith, who nabbed the word from Philip K Dick’s 1968 dystopian novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which was later adapted into the film Bladerunner.

Tobin Smith says: “I’ve been reading Philip K Dick since I was fourteen – that word ‘kipple’ always stuck with me. Everybody has some experience of kipple. It can mean clutter but it also has a psychological aspect because of the way waste or clutter affects you.”

The First Law of Kipple is on show from 13 -21 September at Dan Tobin Smith Studio, 52c Whitmore Road, London N1 5QG

HORT at KK Outlet


Berlin-based “ideas playground” Hort is celebrating its 20th birthday at Hoxton Square’s KK Outlet with an exhibition of work created in an “experimental and collaborative” way, we’re told. The show title draws on the studio’s ethos “it’s not a place. It’s a feeling”.

Hort is at KK Outlet, 42 Hoxton Square, London N16PB until 27 September

Type and tech at The Book Club

Book Club Plus Minus.
Book Club Plus Minus.

Creative-leaning bar The Book Club is hosting two rather exiting-sounding shows for LDF this year. One is Plus Minus, which shows work by designers Dave Cranmer, Naama Hofman and Nir Adoni that use light and technology. The aim is to help visitors explore the design process itself through engaging, dramatic pieces that also explore sustainability.

The other show, The Formal Beauty Of Type, presents abstract typographic work by Susanna Foppoli. It’s as pleasingly simple as Plus Minus is complex; with all pieces using a colour palette of just black, white and red. The work is drawn from astudy on the formal qualities and “personality” of different typefaces.

The Formal Beauty of Type by Susanna Foppoli
The Formal Beauty of Type by Susanna Foppoli

Both shows run until 16 November at The Book Club, 100 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4RH


160: 50 Years of Illustration; Alan Kitching and Monotype; Stereohype 2004-2014


London College of Communication is not one but three shows for LDF, celebrating  “50 years of illustration, 100 years of graphic design and 10 years of button badges”, it says. The 50 years of Illustration show explores the discipline from the 1960s to the present day, and accompanies a new book by Professor Lawrence Zeegen, Dean of the School of Design.


The Kitching/Monotype titan of a show celebrates “five pioneers of the poster”, as this year arks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tom Eckersley, Abram Games, FHK Henrion, Josef Müller-Brockmann and Paul Rand.


Finally, the Sterohype show marks ten years of the graphic arts label and online store.

Zeegen says: “160 aims to highlight the invaluable connectivity between design industry and design education, many of the exhibitors across all three exhibitions having studied or taught at London College of Communication”.

The 160 shows run until 31 October at, London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle SE1 6SB

The Art of the Algorithm

Information design consultancy Signal Noise is looking to maths for LDF with its show The Art of the Algorithm, which does a series of visualisations explaining the mechanics of algorithms.

Signal Noise founding partner Matthew Falla says: “Almost every part of our lives, from medicine to music, is now shaped, informed or controlled in some way by algorithms. They have become one of the most powerful forces shaping the 21st century, but remain invisible and impenetrable to all but a few.”’

The Art of the Algorithm runs from 19– 23 September at Studio 2, 31 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EY



Accept & Proceed and FIELD have created Spectra – a kinetic sculpture they describes as “Part-physical, part-digital”. The piece features a “levitating” surface apparently, and uses NASA data from the past eight years about meteor impacts on the surface of the moon to inform the shape of the piece.

You can see Spectra at Accept & Proceed, Unit 2
1 Baltic Place, Kingsland Road London N1 5AQ, from 13 – 21 September


Here Design is presenting the first collection but its sister company In Works – a range of British-made furniture, tableware, signage, and lighting.

You can see it at Columbia Road Arts Club 160 Columbia Road London, E2 7RG from 13 – 21 September

Simplified Beauty at SCP

Shoreditch-based SCP is looking to pared-back designs for this year’s LDF, showing products from Britain, Japan and America that embrace simplicity at its showroom on Curtain Road. Representing Japan are products from the Ishinomaki Laboratory, handmade Mashiko ceramics, glassware from the Shotoku Glass Company and a range of other objects; while Fort Standard, a design duo hailing from Brooklyn, is showcasing new furniture, lighting and other products. From Britain, we’re excited to see Donna Wilson’s new quilts venture alongside ceramics by Stoke-On-Trent designer Reiko Kaneko, and upholstery by Lucy Kurrein.

SCP can be found at  135-139 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3BX

Tent and Super Brands

Kolormondo colour globes
Kolormondo colour globes

Interiors behemoths Tent and Superbrands return with another huge lineup of established brands, taking over the whopping Truman Brewery space (eleven acres of space, in fact) near Brick Lane in east London. As usual, there’s a  vast range of brands on show including big guns like Ligne Roset, Graham & Brown and Vanguard Concept  at Super Brands. Tent will be showing the likes of Aditi, Andrew Cheng, Blodwen, Dunger Design, Fred & Juul, Sebastian Cox and Witch & Watchma, as well as less established practitioners.

This year’s Tent once again has an international feel thanks to the Countries Showcases, with previously unseen work from more than 100 designers and companies from Tokyo, Norway, Taiwan, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, Japan and China.

One of the highlights looks set to be the Afroditi Krassa Bar at Super Brands, which will herald the launch of Krassa’s first ever product range including Art Deco-inspired tiles, wall panels and lighting.

Also within Tent lurks Heineken’s lounge, built from two repurposed shipping containers. According to LDF, the space will boast a “cool, laid back ambiance”, and ‘hoptails”.

Tent and Superbrands run from 18-21 September, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, Truman Brewery, Shoreditch, London E1 6QR

MeMeTotem 2013, Adam Nathaniel Furman

Source: Photo by Adam Nathaniel Furman

MeMeTotem 2013, Adam Nathaniel Furman

The Saturday Market Project

For those looking to learn as well as browse, new for LDF 2014 is The Saturday Market Project’s series of events that offer people the chance to learn 3D printing; spatula carving; leather carving and even creating a working speaker from a balloon.

For more information and to book visit The events take place from 16 – 21 September at 73 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4QS


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