Every year in September, London Design Festival catapults Londoners and visitors alike out of our summer revery and back into the swing of our creative city. Our celebrated curator, Victoria Broackes, Director of London Design Biennale, reveals some of the highlights to expect this year.
Spirit of Place on The Strand is by Simone Brewster in collaboration with Amorim and it looks spectacular. 5 giant cork sculptural vessels, up to 2.5m high, will be placed around the public art site in the newly pedestrianised area of Aldwych, representing Amorim’s cork oak forest at Herdade de Rio Frio, in Portugal which has been created to promote sustainability, bio-diversity and conservation. I’ve always found the myriad properties of cork, the most natural of materials, – from insulating to acoustic – to be almost supernatural. So glad it’s made a comeback.
I’ll also be popping round to the Aram showroom in Drury Lane to see their new Eileen Gray carpets. Gray was a superlative Modernist and decorative artist and designer who also designed fabulous carpets. Many of the designs are in the V&A collections, but as far as I know, only one actual carpet. Aram has created three new carpets and they will be on show for the first time during LDF.
This journey hasn’t taken you very far from the hotel, so I recommend you have a look at the London Design Festival, choose an area to wander round or a few standout installations you want to see, and make the trip – or several. There are London Design Festival design districts in every direction, most of it’s free to view and starting from One Aldwych you are at the centre of it all. If Central or City are your preferred destinations you might want to combine with a Shakespeare or Bowie walking tour of the areas. At St Paul’s Cathedral, London Design Festival in association with Artichoke is presenting ‘Aura’ by Spanish artist Pablo Valbuena which also looks unmissable.