Each September, London hosts the most thrilling and innovative Design Festival in the world. From 14th to 23rd September, London will be celebrating ten years of design. Adding the Olympics to this event, London will be the centre of the world. Over ten packed days there are events taking place right across London. There will be happening a series of major events at the world’s greatest design museum, the V&A, as well as high profile Landmark Projects in some of London’s best loved landmarks.
With over 300 events in total, there’s more than any single person could see. Boca do Lobo suggest that you spend some time planning your visit before you set off. And let me help you with that. Here’s a list of must-visit events – 100% Design and Decorex in the west, Design Junction in central London and Super Brands London and Tent London in the east. The scale and concentration of exhibitors at these shows attracts professionals and enthusiasts to their buzzy, content-strong offerings.Soho Sideboard, last year at Decorex
Each destination could be a day out in itself so leave enough time to get around; some of the finest new products are launched, from talented independent designers as well as renowned international brands and there are numerous features to enjoy including installations, seminars, debates, pop-up shops, restaurants and bars.
Super Brands is the interiors trade fair exclusively for established global design brands. The show has now firmly rooted itself as the destination to visit for a selection of the worlds most progressive furniture, lighting and interior brands outside of Milan Saloni. Following its instantaneous success last year, the show will take over an impressive 2,500m2 of ground floor space, double the size of last year, to present 40 international brands in conjunction with a daily programme of inspirational. Allermuir, Foscarini, Erba Italia, Källemo, Karboxx, Kubikoff, Moroso… and many other will be showcasing at this fair.
100% Design 2012, the UK’s leading and most visited contemporary design event is in its 18th year and is set to be the most successful ever staged. Last years event attracted over 18,000 visitors and this year with former Deputy Director of LDF, William Knight at the helm, and the broad spectrum of new talent, fresh ideas and innovative design, this event is set to remain the essential event to visit for the industry diary. 100% Design is Britain’s most influential contemporary interiors show and as it stands it is the UK’s largest gathering of architects and interior designers. This year, 100% Design has attracted an even bigger range of UK and international brands such as Vitra, Knoll, Boss Design, Herman Miller, Magis, Lammhults, Kinnarps, Deadgood, Dare Studio and many more.
This year, Decorex celebrates its 35th anniversary making it the longest-standing design and interior show during the London Design Festival. Located in the grounds of The Royal Hospital Chelsea, the organisers are marking this milestone with a review of the event’s heritage, honouring iconic moments, key design pieces and the people and influences the industry has harnessed. Over 250 exhibitors are showing, ranging from contemporary, traditional and bespoke furniture to lighting, floor coverings, fabrics and wall coverings, accessories and bespoke services. Collectively, these exhibitors highlight the uses of craftsmanship, materials and new technologies influencing the market today.
Design Junction instantly made a name for itself when it debuted at last year’s Festival with a select showcase of UK and international design brands. This year, the organisers have significantly upped their ambitions by taking on the voluminous old 1960s Royal Mail sorting office as their venue. Spread over three floors and 10,000 sqm, the space offers an industrial backdrop against which a strong line-up of design brands, small labels, creative enterprises, pop-up shops, large-scale installations, temporary restaurants, bars and cafes, working flash factories, live entertainment and seminars are housed. Over 100 furniture and lighting brands are showing new designs, including Fritz Hansen, Artek, Bocci, Gubi, Modus, E15 and Very Good & Proper. Last year’s Tramshed event is welcomed into designjunction this year, a major component of which includes the De La Espada family of designers. Fans of vintage design classics and modern collectables can take their pick from 20 leading mid-century dealers and contemporary designers, hosted by Midcentury Modern. Other design items can be purchased from a variety of shops set up in a dedicated retail area.Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Be aware that the Design Destinations don’t all share the same dates during the Festival, so be sure to check their individual websites when planning your visit. It is advised to register to attend in advance.
Since you will be at London, why don’t you try one of the best restaurants of the world Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The Ledbury, recently topping Restaurant’s National Restaurant Awards for the second consecutive year, is also a great choice. Both restaurant’s service standards are exceptional: refined techniques are original, but not overtly avant-garde. The environment is smart yet simple, the atmosphere relaxed; but it’s the quality of its dishes that makes this gastronomic places so special. And have you heard of Hakkasan? It is located in an abandoned alleyway with “shotty” lighting and droning chill-out music – it’s hard to believe that of all places this is the hiding place of one of London’s hippest restaurants. Hakkasan features absolutely exquisite Chinese cuisine, an experience your taste buds will remember for a time to come – long after you’ve exited the temple doors and are once again out on the dilapidated rundown street, that’s for sure. TOP!
To relax I am sure you will want to do it at one of the best hotels in the world: The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. One of the potential reasons for its popularity is certainly its embodiment of Eastern Zen philosophy: “Live life to its fullest” – this is the motto of this luxurious paradise in modern Asian style. Offering fine views over the royal park and chic shops of Knightsbridge, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is a highly fashionable address in London, located across from Harvey Nichols and directly next to Hyde Park, this hotel houses grandiose style, comfortable rooms, and last but not least excellent and reliable service. It is no wonder at all, that this elegant mixture of oriental ambience and modern design attracts the prominent guests that it does.
Another top suggestion goes to Haymarket Hotel. The façade of this gigantic white structure on Suffolk Place is one of classical grandeur – but that is as conventional as the Haymarket Hotel gets. Once inside, you will be blown away by the fantastically bright colors of the lobby, not to mention the steel Tony Cragg sculpture. Relaxation and excitement are offered by the colorful bar, the winter garden, the salon, and the pool. The highlight of the Haymarket Hotel experience is the individual interior of each of its 50 rooms, which was personally designed by Kate Kemp.
The Berkley Hotel is subtle and so full of style – this is the hotel that seems to have it all. In the basement, you will find the Gordon Ramsay Boxwood Café, with Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Hyde Park waiting just next door. The rooms themselves are extremely elegant, featuring combinations of marble baths and French tapestry, in some cases even canopy beds. We recommend taking advantage of the private chauffeur, who for the right price will take you around in ultimate style.
As for the night, I recommend you go to Budha Bar, a stylish, warm and exotic, asian-inspired bar where you can choose the perfect glass from a well-stocked wine cellar. Mahiki is one of the most exclusive bars in London. Attracts its guests above all with its tropical cocktail creations – it is the only spot in dreary London where one can feel the beat of the paradise of Polynesia. The club is the spot for all cocktail lovers, offering the classics as well as creative innovations, and drinks for one or more. The mess of tropical furniture is tastefully designed and arranged in this lightly artistic atmosphere.
This year is going to be an amazing one. Get looking for what you want to see now!