On Saturday 16 September, London Design Festival (LDF) will return to the capital for a week of innovative design across art, interiors, fashion and technology. But with so much going on, it can be tricky to choose which of the hundreds of installations across the city to see. Lucky for you, Luxury London has put in the legwork to find the must-see exhibitions of London Design Festival 2023. Here are our favourites.
Sketch Art & Design
In Mayfair, restaurant and art destination Sketch will present three site-specific exhibitions exploring the creative synergy between three prominent design entities: La Manufacture Cogolin, Lasvit, and Julian Carter Design. Set across three spaces within the avant-garde institution, Crafted Wonder will delve into the unlimited realm of handmade art, and will run until 16 October to coincide with the end of Frieze and PAD London.
In the reception, French rug atelier La Manufacture Cogolin will present a whimsical installation focusing on its collaboration with prolific designer, the late Christian Bérard. Visitors will be immersed in a ‘Bérard Bubble’ featuring custom adaptations from the designs of the Idylle collection, inspired by modernist hues from the company’s archives of the 1930s-50s. Elsewhere, Lasvit – a visionary in the world of glass artistry – will create a special gold edition of its signature Herbarium chandelier, specially designed to echo The Glade’s shimmering botanical setting. Comprising hundreds of meticulously handmade glass pieces, molten glass has been poured over dried flowers, herbs and tree branches to result in a marriage of nature and craftsmanship.
Finally, taking over The East Bar and Instagrammable pod bathrooms, London-based Julian Carter Design, will introduce an installation composed of interlocking square cubes made from thin steel rods. Open throughout LDF and Frieze London, the installations have inspired the bars team to create three exclusive cocktails, available at each of Sketch’s bars from 15 September to 16 October, alongside patisserie creations from Sketch’s pastry team representing the Christian Bérard pattern in the form of a cube – best enjoyed in the Parlour.
11:11 at Staffordshire St Gallery
Showcasing the design and craft excellence of 11 leading and established UK artists alongside creatives from south London, Staffordshire St Gallery will host Jan Hendzel’s 11:11 exhibition during London Design Festival. The installation involved a number of Southwark-based creatives selected from an open call, each one chosen by one of the 11 established exhibiting artists and designers and then curated by Hendzel. The resulting 22 (11:11) exhibitors will show their work in the gallery from 14-24 September, offering a platform for up-and-coming talent to display their work alongside leading artists and designers to a global audience.
The exhibition takes its name from numerological beliefs where 11:11 is seen as a special set of numbers rooted in synchronicity, chance, new beginnings and opportunities for growth. Artistic highlights include Giclée Print by Raw Edges and Stitched Vases by Alice Adler, as well as work by Simone Brewster, Unu Sohn, Woo Jin Joo and William Waterhouse.
49 Staffordshire Street, SE15 5TJ, visit staffordshirest.com
Inhabit Hotels panel discussion
Inhabit Hotels is partnering with London Design Festival to host a panel discussion on how design and architecture can impact our wellbeing at its Paddington base on 21 September. Bringing together a group of industry experts from the hospitality and design worlds, moderator and Monocle editor Josh Fehnert will delve into how thoughtful and intentional design choices can positively influence our daily lives and communities. Set against the backdrop of the design-led, B-Corp Inhabit Hotel in Southwick Street, witness conversations with Richard Holland, co-founder of Holland Harvey Architects, social enterprise homewares brand Kalinko founder Sophie Garnier and Marie Carlise, co-founder of London-based bespoke furniture maker Goldfinger.
25–27 Southwick Street, Paddington, W2 1JQ, visit eventbrite.co.uk
Taking place within its recently extended flagship store on Tottenham Court Road, Heal’s will celebrate past, present, and future talent at this year’s London Design Festival. From 16-24 September, the British furniture retailer will showcase some of its most iconic homewares alongside an exhibition of recent design graduates and the latest pieces from its new season collection.
For the last 12 months, Heal’s has been working closely with Kingston School of Art, setting the third year project for product and furniture design students. As a result, an edit of 10 designs has been selected from this year’s new designer showcase and will feature in an exclusive exhibition with highlights including a set of sculptural nesting side tables made from one sheet of aluminium that produced zero offcuts.
Elsewhere, Heal’s is also marking the anniversaries of three iconic pieces: the Egg chair, a limited-edition Togo sofa configuration, and the newly re-launched Forum armchair. LDF will also see Heal’s bolster its retail offering further with the opening of a new space for leading brand Case Furniture alongside showcasing its AW23 collection with exclusive launches from collaborators Says Who, Magnus Pettersen and Amechi and in-house designs across soft furnishings, lighting, furniture and upholstery.
196 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 7LQ, visit heals.com
Marina Garlo at Hilton London Bankside
Design-led hotel, Hilton London Bankside, will be taking part in the festival for the first time thanks to a collaboration with London-based designer, Marina Garlo. The Hilton flagship will be installing one of the designer’s debut pieces, the Garlo I Chaise Longue, in the hotel’s lobby from 16-24 September for guests and visitors to experience.
The interactive sculpture is inspired by the stars and aims to create a connection between the viewer and an existence that is light-years away. The work is made from matte black steel poles with a base of Fenix and nylon light bulbs, including a shock-absorbing system in order for the poles to adapt to the body’s shape once sat on, making it a comfortable experience for all.
2-8 Great Suffolk Street, SE1 0UG, visit hilton.com
Coinciding with London Design Festival, luxury German lighting brand Occhio presents Luna: a new series of floating, celestial-inspired glass designs that can be controlled by contact-free gestures. This latest collection advances Occhio’s state-of-the-art technology and will be on display at the brand’s newly opened flagship in Fulham Road.
Luna is the first series to feature Occhio’s new patented ‘fireball’ light source, which is set within a partially mirrored glass sphere to create a soft, glare-free yet powerful effect. Fitted with Occhio’s innovative technology, Luna can be controlled by touch-free, intuitive gestures. With the move of one’s hand, the lighting can be switched on or off, dimmed, brightened, or set to a new colour temperature. An accompanying app, Occhio Air, can also adjust Luna’s setting, allowing the collection to invoke a myriad of ambient lighting experiences and moods.
91-97 Fulham Road, SW3 6RH, visit occhio.com
Jack Irving at Mondrian Shoreditch
To commemorate the second birthday of the east London hotel, Mondrian Shoreditch, as well as celebrate London Design Festival, designer-come-artist Jack Irving has unveiled an inflatable rocket sculpture lighting up the building’s facade. Aptly named Futura, the rocket was first installed for the hotel’s first birthday in 2022 and this year is returning with an interactive lighting element to reflect off the artwork’s shiny exterior. Measuring 12m wide and 8m high, in a contrasting orange and purple mirror nylon finish, Futura covers the entire front facade of the hotel. Conceptualised to ‘blast Mondrian Shoreditch into the future’, the installation captures and emphasises the hotel's efforts to consistently reach higher ambitions.
In addition to Futura lighting up the front of the hotel, the lobby will also become home to one of Irving’s recent designs: The Anemone Dress. Made from deep purple latex, this outfit is inspired by organisms and sea anemones, and is designed to move like tentacles and deep sea currents. The dress will be on display for the remainder of September in Mondrian Shoreditch’s mirror room, a space just off the lobby covered floor, walls and ceiling in mirrors.
45 Curtain Road, EC2A 3PT, visit book.ennismore.com