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London Design Festival 2017 Highlights

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If you're in the market for interior inspiration and a little creative swooning, then the annual London Design Festival is the place of your darkest design dreams. Every year the capital becomes a heady hub of design, installations, trends and new product launches - from Broadgate to Brixton, and all us design-lovers run around town in trendy trainers ogling and Instagramming the best in show. 

It's one of those festivals that makes you feel like the world has the potential to be a pretty awesome place - designers and artists from all around the world come to share their work in a collaborative way and bring the global creative community together. It's forward-facing and progressive, with designers and artists thinking about their work in the current context - it's the sort of event that reminds you of the power of aesthetics. Are we getting over excited again? Sorry.

As always, we were a little selective about the design districts we visited because we know what we're like when we get chatting to our creative kin, so below is a snapshot of our favourite bits from Shoreditch Design Triangle, London Design Fair and designjunction.

Villa Walala

Camille Walala is just what we all need at the moment. With her signature positive prints and playful use of popping colour, her work draws on influences from the Memphis Movement, the Ndebele tribe and Victor Vasarely - it can't help but raise a smile.  

Originally a textiles designer, she's bounced from medium to medium, now turning her hand to a huge inflatable sculpture to cheer up gloomy Broadgate, called 'Villa Walala'. We headed over to join the throng of City workers taking a little time out of their busy days to eat lunch under an inflatable rainbow. And just look at those Camille Walala deckchairs made in collaboration with British Land PLC, punchy as heck.

Villa Walala - Broadgate - Camille Walala - London Design Festival 2017

Estate Playground by Yinka Ilori 

This city needs more seesaws! We loved this installation outside citizenM in Shoreditch by one of our favourite designers Yinka Ilori. Yinka's work draws influence from the Nigerian parables he encountered as a child, the colours and patterns of Nigerian textiles, and the social issues he observes around the world. Remember when we got obsessed with his upcycled vintage furniture at London Design Festival last year? 

His 'Estate Playground' installation was full of colour and nostalgia, inspired by the playground on the North London council estate he grew up on. Yinka reminded us that collective space, even in the busy capital, is all important, and brings the community together bound by freedom and friendship. 

We spotted on his Instagram that this playground has now been donated to an Inner London school - yes Yinka!

Yinka Ilori Estate Playground London Design Festival 2017

London Design Fair

Formerly known as Tent London and Superbrands, this four-day trade show presents the very best new designs, brands and craftsmanship from around the world, against the gritty backdrop of East London’s Old Truman Brewery.

While last year’s fair saw India chosen as its first annual guest country pavilion, this time the fair focused on the design scene in the US. 

The use of colour, pattern and texture was an absolute assault on the senses. We loved these pieces below, from left clockwise: Cole and Son, Craig Narramore, Paris Essex and Finsa. 

London Design Fair 2017

designjunction

designjunction in Kings Cross is always a complete winner for finding out about new trends and techniques in the design world. This year visitors entered through four four-meter high ceramic tiled archways designed by Adam Nathaniel Furman in collaboration with Turkish Ceramics. The fountains of Granary Square were temporarily turned off leaving a playful puddle that the gates reflected into in a completely mesmerising way. Each gateway was designed to evoke the aesthetic of a different place and era - so much colour, so much contemporary play on traditional Turkish craftsmanship - we couldn't stop staring at those glorious gates.

turkishceramics' vibrant gateways welcome visitors to designjunction at London Design Festival

UAL: Creative Unions Exhibition at Lethaby Gallery

We cannot recommend checking out exhibitions at the Lethaby Gallery enough if you find yourself in King's Cross with twenty minutes to spare. We always leave exhibitions at Central St Martins with our eyes wide and feeling like we should almost certainly be signing up to protest against about 10 things, and 'Creative Unions' was no different. Showcasing the work of this year’s graduating Central Saint Martins students, the exhibition celebrated the power of designers to challenge isolationism and respond to current contexts and social issues.

Our personal favourite was the exhibit from Ruby Parker (below top left) who presented some seriously upper crust Swarovski studded loafs to raise awareness that in the UK, 24 million slices of bread are discarded daily. Also below: Laughing Magpie Chair by Jiahui Liang.

Creative Unions Lethaby Gallery London Design Festival

We were struck by the use of both crazy colour and striking monochrome at London Design Festival 2017 - it seemed that this year's festival was dedicated to thought-provoking, visually arresting, flat-out fun design. A far cry from the leafy, natural world-inspired installations and designs of last year's festival, but maybe just what we need as the UK weather takes a turn for the grey?

Photographs: Postcards Home

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