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London Design Festival guide 2013


Over the past eleven years, a number of key design exhibitions have become an integral and vital part of the London Design Festival, each offering an exciting mix of designers, products, talks, installations, restaurants, bars and innovations housed under one roof.

These Design Destinations are hubs for conducting business during the Festival, providing a focal point for international buyers, specifiers and the media. This year two new Design Destinations: FOCUS/13 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour and Southbank Centre have been announced by the organisers.

The six Design Destinations; including 100% Design, Decorex International, designjunction, Tent and Super Brands London cover each corner of the city and each event offers a plethora of content from a range of exhibitors – from designers and international brands. They are must-sees for anyone interested in design, from professional designers to the general public keen to see the latest innovations and ideas from the heart of London.


100% Design

Now in its 19th year, 100% Design returns as a key event supporting the design industry; promoting the best in global design and uncovering emerging brands.

This year’s visual concept and show theme is ‘Creative Balance’. This was conceived by communications design agency Thomas. Matthews and provides the exhibition’s visual identity and an exploration of creative process and its value in the commercial world.

British designer Benjamin Hubert will create the 2013 auditorium, providing a dramatic backdrop to ‘Talks With 100% Design’. Confirmed speakers include Tom Dyckhoff, chairing a panel debate on UK Architecture and a session from New London Architecture with Peter Murray. Giulio Cappellini will headline Thursday’s programme, with subsequent sessions being staged with the RSA, Frame Magazine and The British Council.

Members of the public are able to attend the show on the final day, Saturday 21 September.

100% Design, Earls Court, 18-21 September,, follow on Twitter: @designlondon


Decorex International

Decorex is the longest-standing design and interior show during the London Design Festival. More than 300 companies will come together to exhibit new products ranging from contemporary, traditional and bespoke furniture to lighting, floor coverings, fabrics and wall coverings, accessories and bespoke services. Exceptional quality, beautiful materials and outstanding craftsmanship are recurring features across Decorex.

Informed by the historic site of Kensington Palace, the theme of the show is the Silk Route, when silks, porcelain and other luxury goods were introduced to Europe. This theme is being interpreted into the design of the main entrance, this year the job of interior designer and hotelier Kit Kemp.

Decorex International is a trade only event. General public admission is available on Tuesday 24 September from 1pm to – 7pm.

Decorex International, Perks Field & The Orangery, Kensington Palace, 22-25 September,, follow on Twitter: @decorex_Intl


Design Junction

Spread over three enormous floors, the show not only brings together exhibitors of furniture, lighting and accessories but also pop-up shops, large-scale installations, eateries, flash factories, seminars and screenings.

This year, the organisers are placing greater emphasis on illumination with the launch of an area dedicated to high-end decorative lighting, suitably called ‘lightjunction’. Staged in partnership with experts Cameron Peters Fine Lighting, the show brings together international lighting brands to exhibit their beautiful yet practical lighting designs.

Live debates and panel discussions are happening throughout the day in a new seminar theatre designed by architecture duo VoonWong+BensonSaw. In addition, visitors can enjoy food and drink from a selection of London’s finest street food eateries.

The event is open to the public.

Design Junction, The Sorting Office, 18-22 September,, follow on Twitter: @_designjunction



Focus is an annual interior design event which takes place at the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour – an established venue in West London that houses 99 showrooms with more than 500 brands producing everything from fabrics, wall coverings, tiles and carpets to furniture, lighting, accessories, kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor living.

This four-day event marks the start of the autumn season and a foray of new product launches are unveiled, with many of the showrooms featuring original displays and hosting bespoke events and workshops for the attending designers, architects and specifiers. Showrooms include Chaplins, Cole & Son, Creston, Harlequin, Nicholas Haslam, Poltrona Frau, Porada and Whistler Leather.

Visitors can make use of the free shuttle service between Sloane Square and the Design Centre, which stops at selected Chelsea showrooms as well as Decorex throughout the day. Focus/13 is part of the Chelsea Design Quarter.

Focus/13 is a trade only event. General public admission is available on Wednesday 24 September.

Focus/13, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, 22-25 September,, follow on Twitter: @DesignCentreCH


Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is fully embracing design during this year’s London Design Festival. Returning to the Queen Elizabeth Hall’s brutalist undercroft for the second year is Designersblock, a buzzing showcase for talented young designers. New design talents are also joined by more established exhibitors as part of its Designers In Production showcase.

British producer Mathmos, the inventor of the lava lamp, is celebrating its 50th birthday with the world’s largest lava lamp displayed with vintage photography showcasing the history and story of the lamp. Furthermore, Geraldine and Wayne Hemingway have curated an exhibition on 1950s design, exploring the icons of the 1951 Festival of Britain and highlights of Mid-Century Modern style.

The event is open to the public.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, 14-22 September,, follow on Twitter: @southbankcentre


Tent London & Super Brands London

Now in its 7th year, Tent London will showcase home grown and overseas talent. Garnering a reputation for showcasing new ideas across multiple design disciplines, this year the show organisers have concentrated on rooting out undiscovered European talents such as Vera & Kyte, Atelier Violeta Galan and Tokio. Showing alongside are UK-based established independents including Studio Jon Male, Chisel & Mouse, Thomas & Vines, Suzanne Goodwin and others.

New for 2013, Brink is an 800-square-metre space dedicated to the best design graduates from the UK and beyond, putting them in front of a professional audience attending the show.

Sister show Super Brands London is co-located with Tent, giving international brands temporary showrooms to broaden their exposure in the UK market. Participating companies include Edra, Ligne Roset, Objekten, Munna, Surface View and Jacuzzi. Furthermore, talks, demonstrations, workshops and idea sessions make up the Super Talks programme, this year under the theme Mobilised.

The event is open to the public.

Tent London & Super Brands London, Old Truman Brewery, 19-22 September,, follow on Twitter: @tent_london


Design Districts

For many, the task of selecting what to visit during the Festival can seem overwhelming, particularly for those who have limited time or those who are unfamiliar with designers or brand names. London’s design communities gravitate to different districts creating distinct clusters of activity. Design Districts can be a great place to start your festival journey as each area hosts a wealth of varied activity often within the distance of a few streets.

Design Districts are not directly organised by the London Design Festival but have been an important part of its growth and are wholeheartedly embraced as an important part of the Festival’s navigation. This year two new Design Districts, Chelsea Design Quarter and Clerkenwell Design Quarter have joined the existing three; Brompton Design District, Fitzrovia Now, and Shoreditch Design Triangle. Each District very much tells the story of the area’s personality and they each have their own late night openings and parties throughout the festival.

Late Nights

Monday 16  September: Chelsea Design Quarter

Tuesday 17 September: Clerkenwell Design Quarter and Shoreditch

Design Triangle

Wednesday 18 September: Fitzrovia Now

Thursday 19 September: Brompton Design District

For further information on Design Districts, visit:

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August 27, 2013 | Design Fairs | View comments

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