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London Design Festival 2019: Trends & highlights

London’s lively creative scene is a pioneering force in the worlds of fashion, lifestyle and design. This year, the British capital once again cemented its status as a world design leader at the London Design Festival 2019, which was held in the city from 14 to 22 September. We traversed the city’s exhibitions to pick out the highlights for our readers – starting in the impressive Victoria & Albert Museum, one of the main exhibition venues for the event.

London Design Festival 2019: Sustainability affects us all

As soon as we entered the foyer of the V&A Museum, we found ourselves pondering the serious message of the first exhibit: In “Sea Things” by artist Sam Jacob, a large-scale two-way mirrored cube suspended above visitors shows animated graphics of sea creatures and plants.

Gradually, the surface becomes flooded with plastic bottles and bags.

This memorable installation symbolises one of the most significant problems of our era: The impact of plastic waste on our planet’s oceans. The piece certainly left its mark on us, and we hope on many other visitors too. The artist masterfully combined design, technology and environmental awareness to get his message across, earning this exhibit a well-deserved place among our 2019 highlights.

The work from Sam Jacobs to the London design festival 2019.

Design is everywhere: The city as a gallery

After perusing the V&A Museum, we moved on to London’s latest hip new district: Coal Drops Yard by Kings Cross station. This old industrial site has been converted, and its old red-brick buildings now house trendy shops, restaurants and bars, firmly establishing the area as a popular up-and-coming destination since its opening in 2018. Kings Cross is just one of the eleven official design districts transformed into exhibition space for the London Design Festival 2019, all of which showcased new products and fascinating installations.

Well-known lighting designer Tom Dixon has his London showroom, studio and restaurant in this area.

For the event, he invited visitors to get up close and personal with his designs as part of a unique exhibition concept: Each room in “Look! – Touchy Feely – Smelly –– Noisy – Tasty” was dedicated to a specific sense.

From perfumes and scented candles to original lamp designs and soft and sumptuous cushions and blankets: This inspiring exhibition was designed to appeal to all of the senses. This year, Dixon was also awarded a London Design Medal 2019 for his originality and his work to date. Check out the video below to learn more about the designer’s career and to see more of Coal Drops Yard.

Designer Tom Dixon. Source: London Design Festival / YouTube

100% design: A forum for up-and-coming talent and interior design and material trends

In addition to the countless exhibitions and installations to be found all over the city during the London Design Festival, the international specialist trade event 100% Design also attracted hordes of design fans. The show is held each year at Olympia London in the west of the city, and focuses its efforts on creating a platform for young talent. The sheer scope of this event is what makes it so special: The show includes not only the latest designs and trends from the worlds of interior and furniture design, but also fixtures and fittings such as windows, doors and socket outlets.

Sustainability was also a hot topic at 100% Design. Even though the environment wasn’t an official theme of the event, it clearly influenced many of the concepts and designs on show.

Sustainability was a definite decisive factor in terms of material choices for the furniture on display, with light wood dominating the exhibition landscape: British label Grain, for example, only produces environmentally friendly furniture from wood that is long-lasting and durable – so that it looks and works like new even if assembled and disassembled multiple times. And there’s yet another benefit to Grain’s designs: The company can produce its pieces to suit the customer’s specific requirements and measurements. The designs showcased by Benchmark, too, focused on the use of natural and sustainable materials. The new Sage collection, developed by designer David Rockwell, includes height-adjustable desks, tables, sofas and sideboards. We loved the combination of sleek modern design and light colours, underpinned by solidly sustainable design principles.

Sustainable furniture is one of the biggest topics of the London Design Festival 2019.
Furniture of the London design festival 2019.
A lounge area on the London design festival 2019.

The unusual lamps by MatchiMatchi also caught our eye. With their deep colours, unique shapes and soft velvet exterior, these lamps are a statement choice for any room. We couldn’t get enough of the huge range of different designs.

Once again, the London Design Festival 2019 proved that design really is everywhere – and there are no limits to human creativity.

There’s so much going on during the London Design Festival that it’s impossible to see everything, but what we did see certainly left a lasting impression and made us think. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing more G-Pulse articles on other new products we discovered on our trip.

Which trends or exhibits would you like to learn more about? Let us know in the comments!

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