The 2019 London Design Festival is back, with topical installations from leading designers, highlighting Artificial Intelligence and tackling climate issues; so we’ve picked six of the projects we feel are unmissable.

Next week, the annual London Design Festival will get underway, with projects and installations from designers and architects dotted all over the city.

The citywide celebration draws together a global community of designers, artists, architects and the creative industries with a vision to celebrate and promote London as a major design capital.

So to help you navigate your way around the festival, which stretches out between 14th and 22nd September, we have picked out six of our favourite projects, which cleverly bring hot topics to the forefront of the mind.

All through great design and innovation.


Bamboo Ring / Kengo Kuma

Architect of the hour, Kengo Kuma, will feature in this year’s festival, with an installation in the V&A. Named Bamboo (竹) Ring: Weaving into Lightness, his project toys and experiments with the concept of weaving. The winding piece of bamboo is supposed to be a nod to Japanese architecture, whilst also acting as a symbol of unity amongst people.

Kuma worked in tandem with Ejiri Structural Engineers and the Kengo Kuma Laboratory at The University of Tokyo to create the project, which tests the boundaries of materials’ capabilities.

With his new V&A Dundee being revered as one of 2019’s key projects, he has also been heavily involved in preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, designing the new National Stadium for the Games.

So certainly worth a look!

It will be there from the 14th to 22nd September.

Kengo Kuma / London Design Festival 2019

Kengo Kuma / London Design Festival 2019


VOID / Dan Tobin Smith + The Experience Machine

A multi-sensory experience has been conjured up by designer Dan Tobin Smith and creative studio The Experience Machine. The installation at the Collins Music Hall in Islington combines rare minerals and gems from Gemfields mines in Mozambique and Zambia and brings them to life with photography of tiny microcosms magnified to become abstract, galaxy-like structures.

Accompanied with a score by female electronic drone choir NYX, the experience will surely be a surreal one.

Showing between 14th to 22nd September.


Disco Carbonara / Martino Gamper

Now HEKKTA feels we should go down and check this out just from it’s name alone! The fantastically labelled Disco Carbonara is “a false facade of a disco with a fresh take on traditional cladding from the Italian Alps”.

If you’re wondering, what on earth is that? We feel the same! But it has only made us more intrigued to get down to King’s Cross and check it out for ourselves.

Inspired by the concept of a Potemkin village, which comes from stories of a fake portable village built to impress Empress Catherine II by her lover Grigory Potemkin, in 1787, it is placed in Heatherwick’s new Coal Drops Yard, which a design feature in you can see two new projects in one!

Disco Carbonara will be present for the entirety of the festival, from 14-22nd.


Affinity in Autonomy / Sony Design

Wading into the territory of Artificial Intelligence, this installation at the V&A by Sony Design is an attempt to humanise robotics. Inside the pendulum are various lights and changing movements, which represents the robotics within interacting with the human’s behaviour inside.

Sony wanted the installation to show people how AI can develop in the future to be more integrated within intelligence, technology and creative design. Sony Design believes that the relationship between humans and technology will evolve through deeper understanding of AI and its ability to display feelings.

Terrifying or exciting, depending which side of the sofa you sit on, but one thing that cannot be denied, is AI is surely going to play a huge part of our future.

So a very fitting addition to the LDN Design Festival we think!

Affinity in Autonomy / London Design Festival 2019

Affinity in Autonomy / London Design Festival 2019


Avalanche / Matthew McCormick

This project is a very clever installation, thought up by Canadian designer Matthew McCormick. His idea was to make visitors suddently and ubruptly aware of human mortality, as a symbol of how climate change is slowly altering the planet.

Without the visitor’s awareness, they will find themselves passing through a space, which is lowly lit and small, bringing a sense of entrapment, which has no clear exits and gets progressively narrower and darker, with the human instinct of panic and danger kicking in.

It’s a very clever way of manipulating the human mind, and a very intriguing way of showing how climate change will creep up on us, as we live our lives unaware of the impending danger.

“Inspiration for this project was found in the role that human factors make in our decision-making on uncertain backcountry terrain,” says McCormick. “Avalanche can be seen as a poetic metaphor, meant to offer an opportunity for visitors to take pause between the darkness and the light – even for just a brief moment,” he adds. “We recognise that a critical mass is required to instigate societal change when it comes to the shifts in our environment – however this collective awareness has to start with the individual.”

You can find this project between 14-22nd, positioned on the landing of the V&A’s British Gallery. 


Sea Things / Sam Jacob

One of the landmark projects of this year’s festival is Sea Things by Sam Jacob, working in tandem with global giant SAP.

Keen to bring the global ocean plastics crisis into the public consciousness, but to approach it in a fresh manner, the installation will be placed within the grand entrance to the V&A, and Jacob is urging visitors to consider plastics’ full lifetime journey and to design future-use into every product.

‘The concept will take the form of a large scale two-way mirrored cube suspended above visitors with an animated motion graphic internally reflected to an infinity that seems both as wide as the ocean and as large as the challenges we face. The project has an aim to evoke a powerful sense of emotion, so visitors come away feeling empowered with a better understanding of their role alongside technology and design to make the world a more sustainable place.

Upon entering the space, the installation – which is both a digital and physical manifestation of the global single-use plastics crisis – has an intention to immediately impact visitors.’- V&A.

Collaborated and supporting the project is SAP, who are currently leading a worldwide project titled ‘Plastic Cloud’, which is attempting to turn the tide on ocean plastics with technology. As a software giant, it has the resources and scope to tackle the issue, but is keen to have a more ground-floor influence too, working adjacent with smaller designers like Sam Jacob, to engage the public’s minds in different ways.

Sea Things / London Design Festival 2019

Sea Things / London Design Festival 2019