The Dezeen team are reporting from the 21st edition of London Design Festival in the British capital (16-24 September). Read on for all the coverage from the opening preview day (Friday 15 September).
5:00pm Influencers swarmed to an installation from toy brand Lego, in collaboration with It’s Nice That for London Design Festival 2023, to showcase the Danish brand’s Botanical Collection construction kits that allow grown-ups to build flower bouquets from bioplastic components.
The goal of The Lego Piece Garden, as the installation is named, is to “boost creativity with play”. The Lego flowers have been presented in beds of natural moss and foliage, contrasting real and artificial elements.
Throughout the festival a variety of professionals and creatives will be invited to engage with some of the brand’s more intricate adult sets, creating different arrangements with the Lego flowers and, according to It’s Nice That’s Will Knight, “a moment of quiet and peace to work on something with your hands as a means of boosting creativity” – Jennifer Hahn
Discover more details about The Lego Piece Garden in the Dezeen Events Guide listing ›
4:00pm At Shoreditch Electric Light Station, part of Shoreditch Design Triangle, Morag Myerscough’s typically colourful contribution to this year’s LDF is a cityscape within, named Nice To Meet You Again.
The installation consists of brightly coloured structures including a chapel-like form and a house-like structure surrounded by a flower-filled cityscape. There is also a colourful stage and cocktail bar.
The installation is a partnership with Mini and the name also refers to the new all-electric MINI Cooper, which was bang in the centre of the display – Tom Ravenscroft
Discover more details about Nice To Meet You Again in the Dezeen Events Guide listing ›
3:00pm Artist and designer Simone Brewster in collaboration with Portuguese cork company Amorim presents Spirit of Place at Strand Aldwych, an installation of five sculptural cork totems.
The family of objects, ranging up to 2.5m, is part of a two-year collaboration between Brewster and Amorim. The project is based around the idea of “genius loci” – the spirit of a place, which would give it its particular characteristics.
As part of her research Brewster went and visited Amorim’s cork forest at Herdade de Rio Frio, Portugal, to see how the company is trying to be sustainable.
“When I started to design this piece, I wanted to capture the characteristics of that forest and bring it here,” Brewster told Dezeen.
She explained the totems are made up of separate buildings blocks that are put together “like a child’s toy”. – Jennifer Hahn
1:30pm Also at the V&A, product designer Andu Masebo presents eight furniture and homeware pieces made from a single car.
“I had this idea of looking at a car in terms of what it meant to people and that emotional connection you make to a car,” Masebo told Dezeen.
“So if I could find a car that was coming to the end of its life and I could somehow find out what its life was like – the people it came into contact with, the places it went, the things it’s seen – then I could actually bring to life those stories,” he said.
– Jennifer Hahn.
12:00pm As they navigate the press tour taking place at the V&A this morning, Dezeen’s design editor Jennifer Hahn has crossed paths with Dezeen editor Tom Ravenscroft at the Hermès travelling kiosk for Le Monde d’Hermès magazine.
“I actually buy flowers quite a lot. It feels like a really easy base level of not being in trouble,” Ravenscroft told Hahn.
Discover more in the London Design Festival 2023 guide, highlighting the key events and installations at the festival ›
11:30am For their exhibit at the V&A as part of London Design Festival 2023, Palestinian architect, artist and V&A Jameel fellow Dima Srouji presents objects and film that reframe the history of glass in Greater Syria and Palestine.
The new works include replicas of glassware from the V&A collection excavated from the region.
The original vessels currently on display have been replaced with “tomb cards” narrating the often-violent histories linked to their excavation.
11:00am One of the most striking installations at the V&A created for LDF is a pink, paper and bamboo tree named Hana Mikoshi, which translates as flower shrine.
Designed by Hayatsu Architects, the tree is decorated with 50,000 pink flowers made from traditional washi paper supported on bamboo branches. Each of the flowers was made by visitors to the V&A in the run up to the event.
The tree’s form, which recalls structures made for the Matsuri festival in the town of Mino in Gifu Prefecture, Japan, rises from a bench that was also covered in washi paper – Jennifer Hahn
Discover more details about Hana Mikoshi in the Dezeen Events Guide listing ›
10:30am Director of London Design Festival, Ben Evans, has opened this year’s festival by declaring that the event is back to normal for the first time since the pandemic.
“This is probably the first year that we’re properly back to normal,” he said, speaking at the V&A museum.
The festival is meant to be an event of discovery
Evans went on to describe the event as a place of discovery and encouraged people to seek out installations and designs that they were not previously aware of.
“The festival is meant to be an event of discovery,” he said.
“People do tend to go and see the stuff they already know,” he continued. “We hope we can get you to go and see things that are new. That is probably the most rewarding experience. We have lots of new stuff.” – Tom Ravenscroft
10:00am Dezeen’s editor Tom Ravenscroft and design editor Jennifer Han are on the ground in London reporting from the press preview day of the 21st edition of London Design Festival, which opens tomorrow (September 16) and runs until September 24.
Dezeen Events Guide has created a London Design Festival 2023 guide, highlighting the key events at the festival this year.
Ahead of the opening, we have selected some of the key installations and exhibitions to see as part of the 2023 edition – like the Material Matters fair, which explores innovative materials that can contribute to a circular economy.
The fair will showcase products made from food waste, paper, aluminium, rubber, porcelain and more.
Discover more details about the Material Matters fair in the Dezeen Events Guide listing ›
Dezeen live: London Design Festival returns on Monday 18 September after the first weekend. The festival runs until 24 September 2023.
Dezeen Events Guide has created a London Design Festival 2023 guide, highlighting the key events at the festival. See Dezeen Events Guide for all the latest information you need to know to attend the event, as well as a list of other architecture and design events taking place around the world.
All times are London time.
Lead image is of It’s Nice That and Lego’s installation for LDF 2023 , The Lego Piece Garden. Image by Jennifer Hahn.