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We might be biased, but there aren’t many cities that can stake a greater claim to design capital of the world than London. With its internationally-renowned museums, art galleries both large and small and plethora of public art installations, London is a hub of creativity. Showcasing the best of the capital’s talents are a roster of art fairs and festivals that take place throughout the year, giving the opportunity to discover works by emerging and established artists. Whether you’re interested in British craft, affordable art or through-provoking installations, these are the upcoming fairs and events to have on your radar.
The Other Art Fair
The Other Art Fair has kicked off a calendar of worldwide events with a virtual 3D fair, which is taking place this weekend over four days. The event features exhibits from 75 artists across three virtual rooms, as well as a series of workshops, talks, film shorts and interactive experiences. The fair precedes a series of in-person events planned to take place across the globe, including a London edition scheduled for July – add the dates to your diary now.
The Other Art Fair Virtual Editions, 10-14 March; The Other Art Fair London, 6-11 July, theotherartfair.com
Handmade in Britain
This March Handmade in Britain will present its second Interactive Virtual Craft Fair to a global audience, following the success of its first online event last November, which saw 64 artists showcase their works over 40 live sessions, demonstrations and craft workshops. To honour the cultural impact of female makers, this season’s event will focus on craftswomen. Alongside a full programme of interactive events, visitors will have the opportunity to shop for products via dedicated Exhibitor Pages, and will be able to interact with makers via a secure chat forum. Don’t miss the silent charity auction, which will be running throughout the duration of the fair; all proceeds go towards funding support for emerging craftswomen who wish to advance their business skills.
23-29 March, handmadeinbritain.co.uk
The Affordable Art Fair
The Affordable Art Fair’s second online event takes place in April, offering 1,000 works from 50 international galleries hailing from cities such as London, Hong Kong, New York and Barcelona. Artworks start from £50, and range from paintings to prints to photographs and sculptures. Running in tandem with the event is a programme of online talks, tours and Art Advisory sessions hosted by the fair’s founder Will Ramsay.
9 April - 3 May, affordableartfair.com
Art in the Age of Now
Left derelict for a decade, Fulham Town Hall will be revived as a temporary art and exhibition space when lockdown restrictions ease, before the building is redeveloped into a community hub and boutique hotel in 2022. Art in the Age of Now will be a free event for the local community, featuring a programme of installations, guest exhibitions, and live music, talks and readings. Overseen by curator Ben Moore and hotel operator Lamington Group, the exhibition will include a number of works that have been created during lockdown and are being shown to the public for the first time. Expect to find a miniature reproduction of Stone Henge, three dedicated spaces celebrating women in art and an exhibition of missing persons produced in partnership with the Missing People charity.
From 20 May, fulhamtownhall.com
London Design Biennale
For the 2021 edition of the London Design Biennale, artistic director Es Devlin chose the theme of Resonance and asked designers to respond to the question: “How can design provide solutions to major challenges of our time?” Her own contribution will be Forests for Change, an installation of 400 trees in the centre of Somerset House’s courtyard designed in response to the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development, a plan to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and tackle the climate crisis. In the clearing of the forest will be an interactive Global Goals installation. Elsewhere in Somerset House, designers from 50 countries and territories will answer Devlin’s call to action with installatons and presentations.
From £16, 1-27 June, somersethouse.org.uk
For the first time in its 12 year history, Masterpiece presented its annual art fair online in 2020, showcasing works from 138 exhibitors in an exciting digital programme of virtual tours and private viewings. It was a huge success, but that being said nothing can quite recreate the grandeur of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the fair’s usual venue of choice. It’s good news, then, that Masterpiece is set to return to the iconic building this June, with a roster of international exhibitors presenting the finest works of art, design, furniture and jewellery.
24-29 June, masterpiecefair.com
London Design Festival
This September, the London Design Festival returns to the capital, celebrating and promoting design across the city with installations, events and exhibitions. Highlights from last year’s festival include The Hothouse by Studio Weave (a large-scale replica of a Victorian glasshouse), an interactive installation designed by Marlene Huissoud for Coal Drops Yard, and Connected, a virtual exhibition that saw nine designers create a table and seating to suit their new ways of working and living from home. Expect the 2021 edition to be even bigger and better than before.
18-26 September, londondesignfestival.com
London Craft Week
London Craft Week returns this October for its seventh festival, bringing 250 established and emerging international makers together to celebrate creativity in its many guises. Traditionally held in May, the event was postponed last year due to social distancing restrictions, and instead took place in September with a series of virtual and in-person events and workshops. Highlights included a craft trail of Royal Warrant-holders in St James’s, a series of live workshops and demonstrations in nine of Chelsea’s artisan boutiques, and an exhibition at Boutique by Shelter of shoes designed by artist Jo Cope and inspired by the stories of people who have faced homelessness.
4-10 October, londoncraftweek.com
With Frieze London and Frieze Masters cancelled last year due to the pandemic, art lovers will be excited to hear that plans are in place for the fair to return to business as usual in October. Details of exhibitors and events are still under wraps, but visitors can expect to enjoy Frieze London’s first ever exhibition space, which is due to open in the same month. Located on Mayfair’s Cork Street, the initiative will see two townhouses converted into visiting gallery spaces, which will be open year round with artists exhibiting works over four-week residencies.
13-17 October, frieze.com