See the best exhibits at London Design Festival 2022

The creative season has kicked off with the London Design Festival. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the festival, which runs from now until 25 September, sees the capital come live with installations, exhibitions and events running across the city. The occasion provides a welcome platform for designers and creative businesses to showcase their work. It’s also a great opportunity for a global audience to discover the breadth and diversity of talent found in London and across the country.

‘The design and creative sector in London and the UK has enjoyed a golden period this century,’ says LDF director Ben Evans. ‘An extraordinary rush of ideas fed by a steady migration of world class talent made London the global capital it now is. The festival both benefited from and helped enable that reputation. On our 20th anniversary we want to take stock and move forward to ensure the festival continues to support the design community, commissions and showcases new ideas, and reflects on the key issues from technology to sustainability to wellbeing so that the next 20 years are as fruitful as the past 20.’

Swivel by Sabine Marcelis at London Design Festival 2022, Credit Ed Reeve

This year there is so much to see. The Landmark Projects are a particular highlight with the site-specific commissioned projects positioned in key locations as a way to naturally engage Londoners who may just happen upon them. This year, Sabine Marcelis takes over St Giles Square, her interactive installation ‘Swivel’, with its swivelling seats in contrasting stones and marbles, sure makes a statement set against the Centrepoint building’s brutalist architectural backdrop. 

The Rotterdam-based designer is known for her work in product, installation and spatial design, with a strong focus on materiality, research and experimentation, Marcelis’ designs are often viewed as experiences and encourage interchange between an object and its user. Juxtaposing natural materials with the surrounding concrete and glass, the installation creates a playground of seating that invites pedestrians to pause their journey.

Swivel by Sabine Marcelis at London Design Festival 2022, Credit Ed Reeve

Over at Cromwell Place in South Kensington, Sony Design presents ‘Into Sight’, a physical work fusing meta and physical realities that evokes unique emotional responses from each guest. Taking inspiration from the challenges of this decade, the life-sized media platform installation combines physical and virtual technologies, giving guests a moment to reflect, consider their environment and tell their own story. Here, Sony’s design plays on sensorial effects that transform simple boundary surfaces into an infinite vista through shifting light, colour and sound.

Over at the festival’s main hub at the V&A, projects are linked by the idea of transformation: from the transformation of molecules and materials, to the creative renewal of household objects, to the regeneration of the planet itself. In ‘R for Repair’, a project being led by DesignSingapore Council and National Design Centre (Singapore), broken household objects, often with deep sentimental attachment, are handed over to designers to be not just repaired, but creatively renewed. Co-curated by Hans Tan Studio (SG) and Jane Withers Studio (UK), the exhibition features Singaporean designers repairing UK objects, and UK designers repairing objects from Singapore, in a cross-cultural exchange bound to provoke new interpretations of our everyday items.

R for Repair - Photo Credit Zuketa Film Production

‘Plasticity’ is a monumental sculpture, designed by Niccolo Casas, 3D-printed by Nagami, and made with Ocean Plastic, marine plastic waste intercepted by the collaboration network Parley for the Oceans. The project explores the possibility of turning a harmful waste material into new uses, while highlighting the work of the organisation in cleaning up the world’s beaches, islands and coastal communities.

Elsewhere at the V&A, Canadian multidisciplinary artist Omer Arbel, founder of design and research studio Bocci, presents Material Experiments with the V&A’s John Madejski Garden transformed into an immersive glass-blowing studio in which copper and glass antiquities procured from flea markets and vintage stores are returned to their raw materials, used to create a series of new artefacts.

Plasticity- Parley for the Oceans

Finally for the festival’s Special Project, ’20 Things’ by architect Sam Jacob (a LDF regular) is a curated journey through Earl’s Court. Micro and macro, witty and moving, hidden and visible, London neighbourhoods have so much to offer but you often have to look closely to see it and be curious enough to discover it. Jacob is celebrating the idea of design’s  presence everywhere, and pays homage to the festival’s role in transforming the familiar through a series of inspiring public interventions over the last two decades.

20 Things by architect Sam Jacob

‘We consciously founded the London Design Festival to be public spirited,’ says LDF’s chair, John Sorrell CBE. ‘We not only aim to support designers by helping them showcase their work and generate business, but importantly to create an understanding and appreciation for the creative industries by as wide an audience as possible. Over the last 20 years, the festival has had incredible depth of penetration and success in bringing people together and distilling new ideas.’

See the full programme of events here.

Images: Into Sight by Sony Design; Swivel by Sabine Marcelis both © Ed Reeve; R for Repair © Zuketa Film Production, Plasticity; Parley for the Oceans, 20 Things by architect © Sam Jacob

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Into Sight, Sony Design, London Design Festival 2022, Photo Credit Ed Reeve
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