10 things to do at London Design Festival

London Design Festival kicks off next week with over 400 events taking place in nine districts across the capital. We’ve rounded up 10 great things to see and do – from an exhibition of rare graphic works by Otl Aicher to a showcase of Indian design and a talk from Harry Potter designers MinaLima…

Enjoy a rare glimpse of Otl Aicher’s designs for Isny im Allgäu

Otl Aicher is best known for designing pictograms for the 1972 Munich Olympics and co-founding the Ulm School of Design. But a new exhibition at design studio dn&co shines a light on his remarkable graphic identity for Isny im Allgäu.

Aicher created around 120 pictograms for Isny im Allgäu (a small town in southern Germany) in the 1970s. “Over the course of ten years, [he] distilled images of town life — its church spires, grazing cows and the rolling foothills of the Alps — into to a series of square landscapes reminiscent of Polaroids, or even Instagram — everyday moments rendered entirely in black and white,” says dn&co.

The exhibition will showcase rare prints of Aicher’s pictograms and promises to be the most comprehensive collection of his work for Isny ever shown in the UK. The exhibition was born out of dn&co’s recent trip to the town to discover more about Aicher’s work. The studio has also published a limited edition book documenting the trip – you can pre-order copies here.

15 – 24 September 2017, Ground Floor Space, 3 Tyers Gate, London SE1 3HX

Opening times: 10.00 – 17.00 Admission: Free

See type talks, exhibitions and workshops at Bankside Design District

Logo pasteup for Emigre magazine from the Letterform Archive

Bankside Design District is hosting a series of type-related events during LDF. Take part in a signwriting, lettering or gilding workshops with Better Letters or visit The Better Letters Glowing Alphabet Peep Show – a collection of 27 original pieces of sign writing aglow in a “modern curiosity cabinet” at Hilton Bankside. See betterletters.co/ldf for details.

San Francisco’s Letterform Archive is also hosting an exhibition of typographic works at nearby Devonshire House. Graphic Design Process: Analog Artifects of Experimentation, Development & Production will showcase items from the Archive’s vast collection – including work by W.A. Dwiggins, Émigré Inc, Edward Johnston, Herbet Matter and Piet Zwart.

Guided tours will take place each afternoon and evening. On September 20, Letterform Archive founder Rob Saunders will join calligrapher Paul Antonio and Better Letters founder Sam Roberts to discuss the influence of hand lettering on modern design and how we can preserve lettering in a digital age. More info on talks, tours and the exhibition here.

Ponder multiculturalism with Yinka Ilori, Lakwena Maciver and Ruth Ossai 

Furniture designer Yinka Ilori, artist Lakwena Maciver, fashion designer Wale Adeyemi, photographer Ruth Ossai and creative director Grace Ladoja – who has directed videos for FKA Twigs and Skepta – will reflect on how multiculturalism has shaped London’s “design DNA” and how collaboration and exposure to different cultures can foster new ideas.

Ilori upcycles furniture to create colourful designs inspired by Nigerian parables and African fabrics while Maciver’s work draws on Afrofuturism and time spent living in Nairobi and Addis Ababa. Yorkshire-based Ossai’s work explores the African diaspora – she recently collaborated with Kenzo on a project documenting Nigerian youth.

The discussion takes place at NOW Gallery in Greenwich on September 21. There will also be live music from London singer Ojerime, a special late view of Camille Walala’s Walala x Play installation with a gallery talk by Walala and DJs from Brixton station Reprezent FM.

The event is free to attend – see nowgallery.co.uk for details on timings and how to RSVP.

Attend a talk at the Global Design Forum

Graphic art for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by MinaLima

Ever wondered what it’s like to design props for a Harry Potter film? Creative duo MinaLima (Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima) are giving a talk about their experience working on posters, newspapers and packaging designs for the much-loved franchise at the V&A on September 16. The pair will also discuss the art of telling stories through visuals and designing graphics for The Imitation Game and Sweeney Todd.

The talk is part of Global Design Forum – a week-long programme of ticketed talks taking place at the V&A during LDF. Each day of talks is based on a particular theme, from colour to radical technologies.

On September 21, Es Devlin – who has created incredible live shows for Kanye West, Adele and Beyonce – will give a talk on set design and illusion and Dominic Wilcox will discuss “reinventing normal”. Wilcox (the inventor of fantastical objects such as a stained glass car and toothbrush maracas) will explore how we can observe human behaviour to develop ideas for objects that surprise and delight and how experimenting with physical materials can spark new ideas.

Tickets for talks cost £15 or £10 if you’re buying three or more – see globaldesignforum.com to view the full programme and buy tickets.

Buy some new homeware or attend a talk at designjunction

designjunction venue Cubitt House

Trade fare meets pop-up emporium designjunction showcases furniture, prints and homeware from big labels and smaller indie brands.

designjunction is also hosting a series of talks on September 21 and 22. CR’s Patrick Burgoyne will host a discussion on how designers’ concepts, methods and approaches differ across disciplines on September 22 (speakers include Mark Eley of Eley Kishomoto), and Design Week’s Sarah Dawood will host a panel on creative education with speakers from Tech Will Save Us, the Saturday Club Trust and Plymouth College of Art. See thedesignjunction.co.uk for details.

See Camille Walala’s landmark installation Villa Walala 

Render of Camilla Walala’s Villa Walala installation

Camille Walala has applied her colourful, Memphis-inspired graphics to a pedestrian crossing, a houseboat and a multi-storey building in Shoreditch. This year she has created London Design Festival’s landmark project: a multi-coloured fun house in the middle of Clerkenwell.

Villa Walala is described as “a boisterously colourful and invitingly soft-touch structure made from ‘blocks’ of vinyl, sealed PVC inners and high-strength nylon, adorned with Walala’s characteristic digitally printed patterns”.

The installation will appear on September 16 at Exchange Square in Broadgate and will be on display until September 24.

Explore “spaces of tomorrow” at IKEA’s Space 10 pop-up

Shared Spaces: Central Saint Martins + Anton & Irene + SPACE10

Space10 is a research hub and exhibition space set up by IKEA to test product prototypes and explore future design concepts. The research hub was launched in Copenhagen but will be setting up shop at Protein Studios in Shoreditch for a week of events exploring how designers can create sustainable and affordable living spaces for the future.

Alastair Parvin will discuss open-source housing project the WikiHouse on September 21 (see our feature on the project here). Appear Here – which creates temporary retail pop-ups in empty spaces – will discuss its work in urban communities on September 22.

Space10 will also host an exhibition of work by architecture students at Central Saint Martins and an evening of events looking at the future of urban environments. See space10.io for more info.

See a showcase of Indian graphic design

Sudeepti Tucker for Design Fabric. Image: createculture.co.uk

Bold is an exhibition of graphic design at East London arts and culture venue Rich Mix. The exhibition is organised by Create Culture and promises “a visual feast of posters, zines, typography, films and digital works” showcasing “the vibrancy and diversity of work underway in India’s visual communications scene.”

Admission is free – see richmix.org.uk for opening times and visitor info.

Find out more about public sector design at The Design Museum

Get an insight into how the government’s 600 strong design team operates at a free public event at the Design Museum in Kensington on September 18.

The cross-government design meetup takes place from 1 to 5pm and there will be talks from Arup director Dan Hill and designers from across the public sector. It is free to attend but spaces are limited – you can find out more or register to attend here.

Meet South London’s creative community

Work by sign painter Archie Proudfoot

Brixton Design Trail’s LDF programme includes creative walks, workshops and outdoor installations. Herne Hill-based Studio HE will unveil an interactive playground at St Matthew’s Church on September 16. A disused passageway on Atlantic Road will be transformed in a week-long “creative takeover” with artists, designers and UAL students setting up kiosks to sell their wares. Brixton architecture practice Squire & Partners is opening its studio to the public for a week of talks and installations as well as hands-on making workshops and a “circus-themed design extravaganza”. More info at brixtondesigntrail.com 

Over in Southeast London, the Southeast Makers Club has curated a programme of events and exhibitions in Deptford, Peckham and Nunhead on September 23 and 24. There’s a designers’ pub quiz and a Makers’ Market in Peckham plus exhibitions from Sebastian Cox and IYA Studio in Deptford Market Yard. The Curzon Cinema Goldsmiths in New Cross is screening a series of short films on London makers, including sign painter Archie Proudfoot and wallpaper designer Daniel Heath, and London Terrariums is hosting workshops at its New Cross studio. See southeastmakersclub.co.uk for the full line-up.


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