Over the course of four days, 12,478 visitors attended Design London’s inaugural event, the largest official destination for contemporary design at London Design Festival 2021. 


After months of extensive planning, the debut edition welcomed the architecture and design community to London’s new creative hub in North Greenwich with a remarkable first show held at Magazine London, a new striking venue situated on the banks of the River Thames.

Design London boasted a highly curated selection of cutting-edge furniture, lighting and contract interiors brands as well as emerging talent, high-end collaborations, and a diverse talks programme. The anticipation and excitement of unveiling Design London was present before and during the show, and the calibre of visitors matched the outstanding brands on display.

As an essential platform to source the latest and most innovative design pieces during London Design Festival, the four-day event featured a jam-packed programme for design, including a number of exclusive product launches from internationally design brands. The visitor experience was also enhanced by designer Campari bars, DJ’s and an array of delicious street food vendors who lined the outdoor space offering breathtaking views of Canary Wharf.

Jedd Barry, Marketing Manager, Design London comments: “After months of planning, we were delighted to open the doors to our first edition of Design London. This year we enjoyed a brand new venue located on the Greenwich Peninsula, one of London’s most exciting and rapidly expanding neighbourhoods, fuelled by creativity. This year’s show was full of originality, innovation and cutting-edge design from international brands as well as inspiring new works from the best British design has to offer. We are thrilled with the results of our first edition and very much look forward to planning next year’s event which will more than double in size.”

The striking venue housed a multitude of international brands including Dutch furniture producers Artifort, Bert Plantagie and Van Rossum, as well as new launches from South African Philosophy Furniture, bespoke Turkish furniture brand Fratelli, and esteemed Italian manufacturers Cinova, Natuzzi, Ethimo, Luceplan, TechnoGym and Artemide.

Sustainability was a key focus at this year’s event and was central to the work showcased by 11 Danish design brands on a stand curated by Lifestyle & Design Cluster and championed by the Danish Embassy offering solutions for positive environmental impact. London-based industrial designer Joe Slatter presented Veil Stool, created out of over 4,000 waste disposable face masks collected from the streets of London during the coronavirus pandemic. On collection, the face masks were disinfected with ozone spray and quarantined in sunlight for four weeks. The stool was the outcome of an experimental discovery where Slatter realised 3-ply face masks could be spun into a soft yarn as well as being melted into a dense polypropylene structure. &New, an emerging British-Finnish design duo consisting of Mirka Grohn and Jo Wilton also highlighted the practical use of waste materials with Jää, a fully-recyclable collection made from consumer plastic diverted from landfill which greeted visitors upon arrival at the venue.

Design London also featured a number of exhibition firsts, including the debut of a new contemporary lighting brand, Empty State, and the premiere of British fashion designer Henry Holland’s rug collection for FLOOR_STORY. Visitors were drawn to the psychedelic display of bold patterns and classic rave iconography, including smiley faces.

The rise of homegrown talent was also hot on the agenda – in addition to FLOOR_STORY, East London interior decor and lifestyle brand Quirk & Rescue’s floor-to-ceiling installation of bold wallpaper designs was standout. London-based furniture brand SECOLO presented brand new Pingu and Laghi designs alongside the curvaceous Tateyama Sofa in a never-before-seen configuration, and Christian Watson unveiled a minimal collection of statement pieces including the striking Severus lounger. Recent graduate Joe Ellwood of Six Dots Design captured attention with a customised arcade claw machine containing maquette models of his new furniture collection for people to win.

Lighting played a big role in the show with [d]arc room returning to London for its fifth year with a series of lighting talks led by industry experts and an established lighting area centred around the theme, ‘The Spectrum’.

Haberdashery London celebrated its 10th birthday as well as a permanent move to Greenwich with a new studio, workshop facility, and soon-to-open showroom. For Design London, Haberdashery created a dramatic sculptural composition of bespoke illuminated pendants, Flux. Innovator Artemide presented its new antiviral ultraviolet Integralis range alongside a lineup of design classics, and sculptural lighting company Cameron Design House celebrated a union of glass, brass and light with Kuulas, a bespoke chandelier and instant Instagrammable attraction.

Visitors to the fair also experienced 20+ compelling discussions held in Design London’s dedicated talks space, designed by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori and sponsored by Schneider Electric. Over the course of the festival, the space hosted a series of captivating headline talks, trend forecasts and panel discussions with leading designers and rising stars of the design world taking to the stage. Speakers included acclaimed product and fashion designer Henry Holland, colour-obsessed Yinka Ilori, industrial design duo PearsonLloyd, mixed media artist Robi Walters, purveyors of pattern Eley Kishimoto, and interior designer and career mentor Simon Hamilton.
Next year, Design London will return to Magazine London for its second edition from 21 – 24 September 2022.
Image Credit: Sam Frost Photos.

May 2023 issue

2023 A1 Buyers Guide