So it’s almost that time  of year again. The time when London will unveil their latest………. drum roll ……chair!

Chair examples at VitraHaus
Chair examples at VitraHaus

Well actually joking aside there will no doubt be some amazing chairs on show at London Design Festival 2014. But what I’m interested in is how the design on show round London can inspire and contribute to the progression and permeation of sustainable products, processes, materials and theories. Are designers further recognising their responsibilities and consequences of their designs?

If you’re interested in this area and don’t have much time to trawl through the design brochure or online, then here’s a compilation of a few that I’ve noted to try and have a look at during the week:

(Disclaimer here, I haven’t had loads of time myself so apologies in advance if i’ve missed any great examples to go to. Also please suggest and add to),

Recycling/ Upcycling/ Resources

  • At the V&A Ella Doran and Galapogos designs have teamed up to explore what a Great Recovery
    Love your Laptop
    Love your Laptop

    Chair would look like inspired by the Circular Economy, deconstructed and reconstructed in ‘Haute-Design‘. On show 13th to 21st with a special talk on the 17th.

  • From the 18th Sept to 3rd of October The Sustain Show and awards from the RCA will be showcasing their usual wide ranging responses to sustainability issues around  the world through the lens of different disciplines across the Royal College of Art.
  • On the 17th SUGRU and The Restart Project hold a ‘Love your Stuff party‘ at Look Mum no Hands on Mare street Hackney, (also part of Waste Less, Live more week). So unplug your toaster and go and celebrate its birthday!
  • Restart will also be at the V&A on the 20th and 21st for Digital Design weekend 
  • Alternatively you can head to Birmingham on the 16th for RWM – Resource Efficiency and Waste Management 3 day conference and exhibitions.


  • Material Consequences is a collaboration of 4 designers exploring and celebrating the properties of different natural materials and their uses in a pop-up shop.
  • It’s all about wood for ARUP where they look to celebrate its use through their structure in Fingers Crossed.
  • Italian duo Alcarol can be found in the Mint Gallery in west London with their fascinating pieces preserving wood and moss in resin.

Social, Urban and Outdoors

  • Early on, on the 15th, the V&A host the RSA in a discussion on Design for Social Impact looking at the role of design for the Health and wellbeing of our communities
  • Roca explores water and Urban Swimming in Urban Plunge – New Designs for Natural Swimming in our Cities

    Urban water canal - Hope Is Beautiful
    Urban water canal – Hope Is Beautiful
  • On the 18th The Design Council host a summit on Active by design looking at how designers, architects and public health experts can contribute through design to helping people live fitter, healthier lives.
  • In SpitalFields an installation from Cecil Balmond – H_Edge encourages a space to contemplate and reflect in a city.
  • The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the RCA will also be opening its new exhibition – Breaking ThroughAlways taking thoughtful and imaginative approaches to solving some difficult and very worthwhile problems and challenges.

Tent London – 18th to 21st Old Truman Brewery

A firm favourite of mine usually due it’s strong representation of designers and makers considering ecological  issues. It also hosts the excellent  Super Talks, of which there are a number sustainable related:

Here are a few designers in the Tent that have caught my eye:

  • Slow design brings a little bit of Tuscany to London, merging glass with wood.
  • Nooks, Niches and Crannies – The Materials Council gets to take over corners and tell a story about different architectural materials including Trash glass
  • Crea-Re mixes creativity and recycled materials (says it in the name ) handmade and self-designed
  • CUBO Gallery looks to stock fun and quirky designs from downtown Madrid.
  • Dan Hoolahan takes a chunky self assembly approach to furniture, celebrating their joins and craftsmanship
  • Re-wish mixes paper recycling with onion and grapefruit skins for handmade greetings card designs. Also anti-radiation?!?
  • Firm favourite Zoe Murphy will also be there showing the furniture she brings  individuality and bursting back to life
  • Swedish Lithlithlundin focuses on local quality, aiming to source from a circle radius of 50km from their workshop aiming to justify their role as a production enterprise in a world already overflowing with stuff!

100% Design – 17th to 20th  Earls Court

The section i’ll be heading to in 100% is their Eco, Design and Build Area to take a look at the different materials and finishing as well as one of the nature inspired approaches from Samsung STARON (not quite who you’d expect) looking at wildlife for inspiration in electronic product design.

They also have a number of talks on throughout the days including:

  • Wed 17th – 13:30 Chance Encounters: recycling
  • Thur 18th – 13:30 Chance Encounters: process
  • Fri 19th – 13:30 Chance Encounters: community and open-source design, featuring Goldfinger Factory

Global Design Forum

Additional Event highlighted by Sustain RCA – In conjunction with the week the Global Design Forum – Debating Designs on our Future takes place with ticketed talks all around London.

  • Including an afternoon hosted by SustainRCA on Friday 19 September, exploring some of the brightest ideas in their exhibition – Ideas to kickstart a sustainable economyticketed

There are of course loads of other design, art related events on around London, not necessarily as part of LDF14.So keep an eye out and get involved.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red - Tower of London
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – Tower of London

Have a great week filled with design and hopefully sustainable inspiration. Will need a sit down after all of this!

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