10 things to see & do at designjunction 2016
London Design Festival is almost upon us and the city is gearing up for the busiest week in its design calendar. This year's event, which coincides with the design biennale at Somerset House, promises to be bigger than ever.
With so much to see and do, finding your way around everything is impossible, so I always try to plan ahead and do a little research. In previous years I've found that picking out two or three different areas I want to focus on is the most manageable approach, and this year I'm particularly excited to explore the new Kings Cross creative quarter. designjunction is relocating to its new long term home there and there have been exciting redevelopments in and around the area in the past couple of years.
The theme for designjunction 2016 is 'Immersed in Design', and a curated programme of installations, events, workshops and design exhibitions will take place across four main sites, alongside design-led retail spaces and places to eat and drink
Cubitt House, a custom built two floor pavilion in Lewis Cubitt Square - a new civic square located on Stable Street just moments from Granary Square - will be the main trade destination for the event. Contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories from leading brands will be on show behind a façade designed by Satellite Architects alongside Icons of Denmark, featuring over 4,000 lightweight GRID modules designed by Peter J. Lassen.
Granary Square will be home to some of the headline projects and conceptual installations while The Crossing - running through Central Saint Martins - will house specially commissioned projects and immersive installations too. There will also be retail pop-ups at The Canopy.
Here are some of the highlights.
1. Cycle Tours
Tokyo Bikes will be hosting specially curated London Design Festival bike tours from designjunction, offering visitors the chance to see the highlights by bike.
Led by design industry experts, each tour will visit London Design Festival events, including showrooms, studios, stores and one-off installations, while also taking in some of London's architectural highlights.
2. the Monopoly Houses
At Granary Square, the main hub of the event, eight giant Monopoly style houses will be taken over by brands from different design disciplines and filled with conceptual installations, creative projects and live activities.
3. The Dornbracht Water Experience
Kitchen and bathroom manufacturere Dornbracht will create an ambitious immersive waterfall installation that will trigger two of the permanent fountains on Granary Square to produce a wave effect. The experience, which will be accompanied by a soundtrack by Wave Studios, will be designed to recreate the feeling of standing by the sea within the heart of urban London. There'll be a daily string quartet performance too.
4. 'Who's Casper' charity project
Leading designers, artists and architects including Sir Kenneth Grange, Tom Dixon and Ross Lovegrove will be collaborating with British furniture company Modus to raise funds for refugees.
Each designer has been challenged to customise one of Michael Sodeau's Casper stools. The playful design of this stool incorporates two finger-sized holes, giving it an unexpectedly anthropomorphic character. This makes it an appropriate metaphor for the project, which seeks to draw attention to the anonymity and dehumanisation of refugees.
The resulting designs will be on display at designjunction with the identity of the designer remaining secret. The aim is to challenge our tendency to put an emphasis on known name and reaffirm the equal value of a nameless person.
The stools will be sold in an online auction to raise funds for the charity Movement on the Ground, which supports refugees at the forefront of the European migration crisis.
Swedish design company Bolon will be showing their latest collection Bolon by You - a flooring collection that can be custom designed using an interactive web tool that allows you to personally select the pattern as well as the colour of the warp and weft before requesting a sample.
I'm also looking forward to seeing the new Optical Illusion collection from London based rug brand Cavalcanti who have collaborated with photographer Hendrik Schneider to develop a series of images of designer Natasha Phillips camouflaged in the optical patterns of the rugs that surround her.
6. Design led home technology
Sony will be showcasing two new premium design led products that utilise light, sound and visuals in unexpected ways to harmoniously remove the barrier between technology and interior design.
designjunction will see the UK launch of their Glass Sound Speaker - a lightweight, portable speaker that connects to smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth, delivering crystal clear audio with soft, dimmable LED lighting in an elegant minimal lantern design.
Also launching at designjunction is the Ultra Short Throw Projector - a battery powered portable projector with built in speakers that casts content directly onto surfaces, turning walls, tables or even floors into a screen.
Both are part of a new concept from Sony - a series of design led products designed to blend seamlessly into the home while at the same time offering new ways to transform your living space.
Exhibiting at designjunction for the first time, Design House Stockholm will be showing a number of their latest products for 2016 including their new Nest sofa. Another Country will be celebrating their fifth anniversary with a new chair designed by David Irwin, and Isokon will be presenting products including the Portsmouth bench designed by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby.
I'll also be looking out for String Furniture, who always have the most exquisite, and instagrammable, styling.
Also new to designjunction, Danish brand Vita Copenhagen will have a mobile showroom on Granary Square. The VITA Van, which will feature iconic styles such as the EOS, will allow visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Danish design.
More than 70 design-led retail brands will be housed in The Canopy - a temporary pop up venue that will offer products including ceramics, stationery, fashion accessories, technology and textiles.
I'll be keeping an eye out for the new collection from Welsh woollen mill Melin Tregwynt, covetable timepieces from VOID watches and simple, functional, thoughtfully designed homeware and furniture from Oggetto.
10. Eating and Drinking
After all of the above I'll definitely be in need of refuelling.
At Cubitt House a secret garden featuring a pop-up café furnished with furniture from the new Deadgood collection will provide a space in which to relax or network alongside an array of plants and flowers, while upstairs there's the Isokon café operated by La Marzoco and a stylish bar run by the East London Liquor Company and furnished by Arper.
designjunction will also see the launch of the Kings Cross Creative Quarter (KXCQ) initiative celebrating creative and cultural destinations in Kings Cross. Some of the best local restaurants and hotels, including The Gilbert Scott at the St Pancras Hotel will have exclusive offers for visitors to enjoy and Vinoteca will be offering free wine tastings. Full details here.
This post is supported by Sony. All views & opinions my own.