There are people who are required to attend for professional reasons; even for those who do not work in the industry, however, the London Design Festival can be an alternative destination to the usual tourist destinations in London.
From 15 to 23 September, London hosts many events related to furniture design, ranging from furniture to decoration, fabrics, lighting, to finish with more conceptual events, such as the London Design Biennale.
Although they are specialized events, even for the general public these events can be an opportunity to see fascinating architecture or simply to visit areas which otherwise would not be reached, such as Richmond, where Decorex is held, South Bank, where Designjunction is located, Chelsea Harbour, which hosts Focus 18, or the Old Truman Brewery, in the East End, where the London Design Fair is based.
Decorex, the exhibition dedicated to the best stylish English interior design, is held in Syon Park, in Richmond, in a large and beautiful park, which deserves a trip just to see it (hoping it won’t rain). It can be easily reached by subway or train and their shuttle, from Richmond subway station, or with 10 minutes walk from Syon Park train station. Among the participants, there are also some of the best brands of Made in Italy, such as Cantori, Dedar-Hermés Home Fabrics, or the young talents Giopato & Coombes. Decorex is also an excellent destination for lunch, both for the restaurants in the park and for the kiosks and cafeteria inside the pavilions; it is open to the public on 18 September (for trade from 16 to 19 September).
Designjunction is definitely a specialist design fair, so, although it is open to the public, with admission fee, is a destination for true design enthusiasts. However, several booths sell to the public objects and other similar items. It is an opportunity to visit together one of the most popular tourist destinations – South Bank attracts over 25 million visitors every year – and some of the world’s best furniture brands, such as Flos, Gufram and Vitra, housed in very beautiful architectures, such as Doon Street, Oxo Tower Wharf and Riverside Walkway. Open to the public for a fee, from 20 to 23 September.
Focus 18, at the Chelsea Harbour Design Center, is an opportunity to see Chelsea Harbour, the marina on Chelsea Creek renovated in the mid-1990s. The area includes several luxury condominiums, the Chelsea Marina, a hotel and the Chelsea Harbour Design Center, a complex housing showrooms of furniture, kitchen, bathroom, accessories, fabrics, wallpaper, carpets and everything you need to furnish and decorate the finest homes. Focus 18, offers a rich program of meetings with leading players in international design. Being a destination overlooking the water, it is rare for you to happen to pass by by chance, so in September it can be a nice destination, combining beautiful things to see with a quaint place in London. You can get there with the Overground, Imperial Wharf stop; it is open to the public from 19 to 21 September (fo trade only on 17 and 18).
The London Design Fair is in the East End, a former industrial area. The Old Truman Brewery, the large complex housing it, is a brewery dating back to the period between 1663 and 1666, which has grown over the centuries to become one of the biggest breweries in London. It gradually declined and closed down in 1989, and after that complex was restored as a building for exhibitions, shops and ateliers. The London Design Fair hosts over 550 exhibitors, mainly small emerging brands, designers, makers, including the collective Design in South Italy, organized by ICE. The location is impressive, even just for the architecture. It is open to the public and trade on 22 and 23 September, trade only 20 and 21.
100% Design is the trade fair from which all this originated. Although certainly small, compared to the Milan Furniture Fair, (the Salone del Mobile.Milano) it remains one of the most important in the United Kingdom; it is held from 19 to 22 September and is open to the public only on 22 September. It is held from 19 to 22 September at Olympia London, in Kensington, and is at the heart of the West Kensington Design District. In the same district, for museum enthusiasts, do not miss a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum, which this year celebrates its tenth participation in the London Design Festival.
Info: London Design Festival