London Design Festival 2022 • Hotel Designs

We started off our London Design Festival (LDF) agenda with at the historic heart of all things design – the V&A. As the official festival hub, the museum was the perfect place to pick up a programme, refuel with a swift espresso, and hit the design trail. Aside from the exhibitions within, the central gardens were host to a series of performances – the one that caught our eye was an immersive glass-blowing exhibition with artist Omar Arbel’s iridescent and fragile sculpture taking centre stage. During the mesmerising performance, copper and glass objects sourced from flea markets and vintage stores were returned to their raw materials, and used to create a series of new vessels. A very visual interpretation of the conversation of circularity that ran through the week.

Continuing the journey through the design and fabrication process, was the installation titled The Art of Nature at Hart Shoreditch. Inspired by the natural world, The Art of Nature brought a new perspective to fabric design by transforming silhouettes found in nature to create distinctive woven designs. The hotel commissioned Yasmine Faress, founder and director of Atelier Roc, to design customised cushions, rugs and tapestries for the hotel’s suites and lobby, which will remain as permanent pieces and an integral part of the hotel design. The hotel showcases an interior design which celebrates its Shoreditch location as a centre for craftspeople and makers, and the installation in collaboration with Atelier Roc underscores the concept.

The Art of Nature installation at Hart Shoreditch. by Atelier Roc

Image credit: Hart Shoreditch / Atelier Roc

With several districts around and about town putting on their designer shoes for the week, visitors were spoilt for choice. Not to be left out of the party, Clerkenwell studios and showrooms participated in the Clerkenwell Design Trail inviting visitors to explore new designs, product launches, installations and showrooms. From high-end furniture to lighting, kitchen and bathroom brands to material manufacturers; following those pink flags through Clerkenwell is always a journey of discovery and interior inspiration. The Morgan showroom, showcasing the curvy new Bilbao Collection got our attention and enticed us in, before heading off to the Atlas Concorde showroom for an exclusive Hotel Designs roundtable event exploring ideas around nature and surface design; a discussion that was fuelled by Atlas Concorde’s Boost Natural collection – but more about that later!

the Morgan showroom in London with furniture and graphic artwork

Image credit: London Design Festival / Morgan London

Moving from one end of the city to the other and getting our step count up, next on the list was Magazine London. It’s refreshing and apt for a major design destination within the festival to take place on the outskirts of the capital; soaking up all that is creative, new and different in a neighbourhood that is bursting at the seams with creativity and diverse thinking. Magazine London, with its spectacular vista over Canary Wharf, was indeed, the perfect setting for Design London, which made its triumphant (and colourful) return following its debut inside the venue last year.

Having caught our eye at Clerkenwell Design Week, the bright and organic logo on the façade was the work of Brighton-based artist Lois O’Hara whose installation explored movement in design and the positive impact colour has on people and places.

the facade of Design London with design by Lois O'Hara

Image credit: Design London / Sam Frost

The thread holding each pavilion of the show together was, to the surprise of nobody, sustainability and conscious design – whether that was the impressive Adidas installation highlighting ocean plastic in design or furniture, and lighting brands flexing their muscles with their own eco credentials and unique craftsmanship. Tasked to unapologetically put conscious creativity under the spotlight this year, and to challenge the design community’s pace to transform its methods, Editor Hamish Kilburn took this conversation to a new level on the Saturday. On the main stage, he moderated one of the stand-out panel discussions of the week. Joined by the founding members from Interior Design Declares, the panel discussion cut through the noise and realistically explored what designers can do in order to operate within a circular economy.

chairs on exhibition at Material Matters with green background

Image credit: London Design Festival / Material Matters

The new kid on the design block this year – arriving with passion and meaning – was Material Matters, which took place across five floors of the iconic Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf. The show, which was a massive hit with the audience of designers and architects who we spoke to, was an exciting and exhilarating exhibition that was teeming with designers, makers and manufacturers all exploring and pushing boundaries around the value of materials. Looking critically at waste and the need for circularity in design, this event was clearly just the start of a conversation which has an exciting future ahead of it.

Planted design event at Kings Cross London

Image credit: Planted

Finally, ending on a bright and biophilic note, was Planted, which put down roots in Kings Cross. With the aim of presenting us with ‘cleaner, greener, healthier spaces’, this event was based on, and explored the concept of biophilic design while connecting and showcasing brands, businesses and people seeking to restore nature’s balance and turn the tide on climate change.

What made this event particularly noteworthy, aside from the content and conversations it presented, is that it is the first zero-waste design show and is currently actively working towards B-Corp certification – which does feel like both a positive note on which to end this round-up and a fitting challenge to the design and event industry!

Main image credit: Design London / Sam Frost