What to see and do at LDF 2022 © Jason Hynes
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What to see and do at LDF 2022

London Design Festival (LDF 2022) returns this week (Saturday 17-Sunday 25 September) for its 20th year, bringing over 300 events, exhibitions, and installations to 12 Design Districts across the Capital.

Good design is always important, but at times like these, its role is crucial. As we face the realities of a lingering pandemic, looming recession, cost-of-living crisis, and climate change, this year’s LDF focuses on the role of the creative industries to support health and well-being, improve cities, reduce waste and generally improve people’s lives.

Caro has been involved in LDF since the start – we’ve hosted events, curated exhibitions, coordinated showrooms and launched products every year for two decades..this year is no different! Here are some of our top choices for this year’s festival.

1. Colour

Is this the most multi-hued LDF ever?

Caro client VitrA London hosts an immersive colour experience by design duo Carnovsky throughout the week at their Clerkenwell showroom.

In Shoreditch, Bethan Laura Wood shows the prototype CF Editions rug ‘Jelly Salad’, in collaboration with Christopher Farr, a joyous gathering of abstracted vegetables suspended in a sea of jelly.

Over in west London, artist and designer (and Caro-favourite), Yinka Ilori offers an unprecedented insight into his colourful world at the Design Museum, for Parables of Happiness.

2. Sustainability

At Design London, the largest destination for contemporary design, Thailand’s Sustainable Design stand will showcase a portfolio of 12 homeware, furniture and lifestyle pieces that demonstrate creative solutions coming out of Thailand to meet the rising global demand for environmentally conscious products.

Istituto Marangoni London will host its inaugural Design Graduate Show – The Red Thread – during this year’s festival, highlighting well-considered and thought-provoking design solutions for a shifting future.

At the V&A the Regenerative Futures Exhibition by Arup’s Foresight team explores what a truly regenerative future society might look like, featuring companies including Krill Design, a design studio specialising in circular and sustainable processes.

On Carnaby Street, design collective Are You Mad are collecting waste from their neighbours to create the world’s first high street plastic recycling studio.

At the V&A, DesignSingapore Council, National Design Centre (SG), by Hans Tan Studio and Jane Withers Studio, present R for Repair: London x Singapore exhibition, shining a spotlight on waste by showing how broken objects can be given new meaning.

Grant Gibson, co-founder of Material Matters, (22-25 September) notes a desire amongst makers and designers ‘to change the perception of materials that are usually perceived as waste’.

Gibson writes ‘SolidWool, combines wool and bio-resin to create a beautiful, smooth material that the manufacturer compares to fibreglass.

The wool comes from the Herdwick sheep found primarily in the Lake District around Coniston. It is wiry, and dark, and was traditionally used by the UK carpet industry but has fallen out of favour.

At one stage, prices had fallen so low that it cost farmers more to shear the sheep than to sell the wool so some had taken to burning the fleeces instead.

Seeing the potential in the low-value material, the company’s elegant, Eames-like, Hembury chair is made by a skilful, knowledgeable team in Devon and uses an entire fleece, rescuing something that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Spared is a start-up, born of a desire to support brands to reuse the waste they create – including food, electrical services and construction detritus. It’s a creative service that turns waste into beautiful objects, sparing it from landfill.

Nature Squared creates tiles from eggshells, HaganHinderdael use 3D printed sawdust to make COCOON a new table light and BC Joshua uses newspaper pulp to make his furniture… frankly the list goes on.’

See the full list of exhibitors

3. Materials

Experience live weaving by Carl Hansen & Søn’s master craftsman Bruno at the new Clerkenwell showroom, and explore talks, new products and workshops throughout the week.

The One Tree project at SCP sees the repurposing of a dying ash tree from Sheridan Coakley’s garden, into a range of different objects by Max Bainbridge, Poppy Booth, Oscar Coakley, Sebastian Cox, Sarah Kay, Matthew Hilton, Peter Marigold, Moe Redish, Wilkinson & Rivera, and Faye Toogood.

If we understand more about materials, then we understand more about how the products we use on a day-to-day basis are made and, therefore, we understand more about how the world works. Subsequently, we might be more careful about the things we purchase and how we use (and, of course, dispose of) them.

Grant Gibson’s Material Matters returns to the Oxo Tower Wharf – we spoke to Grant about the project and what it means in the current context of design – read more on Instagram.

The Wood Awards will be presenting its shortlist at gallery@oxo as part of Material Matters – the list includes our client Richard Parr Associates, nominated for the Buildings Award for the Buggy Store at the Farmyard at the Newt.

4. Equality in design

Our client ExploreStation, commissioned by Network Rail and led by Design Council, hosts an afternoon of free talks at the V&A on Wednesday 21 September. Talks include Democratising the Design Process with Sahar Fikouhi (Darf Design), Simon Blakeney (Epic Games), Torange Khonsari (London Metropolitan University) and Suhair Khan (Open-Ended Design).

Visitors can also try an immersive virtual reality experience by Digital Urban exploring the design for future small and medium-sized stations across the UK.

Lady Ashley Adjaye (The World Reimagined – a groundbreaking new public art initiative), Foday Dumbuya (Labrum London), Thomas J Price and Christine Checinska (V&A Museum) will discuss Art and Equity in Public Space on Friday 23 September.

On Sunday 18 September, We Are Here takes over the Rio Cinema in Dalston. Co-curated by Spandana Gopal, Manijeh Verghese and Debika Ray to celebrate immigrant voices in the urban and cultural realm, the day features Chila Kumari Burman, Supakino with Sound Advice and a host of speakers and DJs.

5. Home comforts

Curated by Jane Withers, the Brompton Design District returns for its 15th year with the theme Make Yourself at Home.

Scandinavian design company, and Caro client, Offecct celebrates the launch of new collections by international designers – including Teruhiro Yanagihara, Ronja Reuber and the late Pauline Deltour by taking over the ground floor of the Flokk showroom in Clerkenwell.

Tastes and desires collide when two households combine to become one. Designer James Shaw and writer Lou Stoppard explore themes around moving in together at Two Kettles No Sofa, all week at Cromwell Place.

See the full list of what’s on and where on the London Design Festival website.