From designer crazy golf to statuesque public installations, WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors Editor Sarah Housley explores what this year’s event has to offer
Much like fashion weeks, each of the design world’s annual events has its own flavour and signature style. Milan has glitz and glamour, Eindhoven has avant-garde concepts, but London’s biggest design event has a rawness and energy that is unique to the city and the designers it attracts.
Each May, the London Design Festival team pull open the curtain on some of the most exciting events they are planning – and this year, there’s lots to look forward to. Here’s our pick of what not to miss this autumn (17-25 September, to be exact).
Visionary Crazy Golf in Trafalgar Square
This one might not happen – unless we all support it right now on Kickstarter, to help it towards its £120,000 target. Designers including Paul Smith, Camille Walala (pictured above), Tom Dixon, Atelier Bow-Wow and the late Zaha Hadid have all contributed crazy golf courses in their own inimitable styles, and the London Design Festival wants to put them all in Trafalgar Square, for one week, for us all to play for free. We like the idea of this very much.
The American Hardwood Export Council collaborates with an architect or designer each year to showcase the possibilities of wood, creating show-stopping installations in public settings. This year, Alison Brooks Architects, Arup and Merk are joining forces to produce The Smile, a friendly and explorable installation made from 36 metre-long American Tulipwood. Described as “something between a landscape, an adventure playground, a bridge and a diving board”, the installation continues LDF’s tradition of exhibiting hands-on and engaging projects to bring design to new and existing audiences.
Never a festival that shies away from bigger societal issues, LDF 2016 sees housing charity Shelter work with architects dRMM on Baboushka Boxes, an installation of adaptable, stacked, box-like pods that explore the future of individual and communal living.
LDF at the V&A
LDF’s long-standing hub, the Victoria & Albert Museum, has some beautiful installations planned this year. Glithero will be working with watch makers Panerai on a “time-based mechanical installation” that sounds guaranteed to be mesmerising, while Benjamin Hubert of experience design agency Layer is teaming with Braun on a 20-metre-long installation called Foil, and French designer Mathieu Lehanneur will be displaying Liquid Marble, a meditation on materiality, amongst the historic exhibits of the V&A’s galleries.
This year there’ll be eight Design Districts in total – Bankside, Brompton, Chelsea, Clerkenwell, Islington, Queens Park, Shoreditch, and for the first time, Brixton, which will welcome the Brixton Design Trail. This does make us fear slightly for our feet, but with the city-wide festival due to see more than 400 events this year, #LDF16 looks set to be a vintage year.