Dezeen Magazine

Five trends to look out for at the London Design Festival 2016

London Design Festival 2016: the London Design Festival has officially begun. With hundreds of events, installations and talks scheduled over the course of the nine days, we've picked out five key trends already emerging from the event.

Creating calm


Following on from this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, which featured a meditation space by Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia in its centre, and talk of stress being the big health risk of our time, LDF's installation designers have relaxation on the brain.

Architect Asif Khan has created temporary pavilions thick with plants (pictured) to give the harried London public space to relax, while Benjamin Hubert's darkened Foil installation encourages visitors to slow down and enjoy the quiet.

Over at Viaduct, the Bare Minimum exhibition is partly about clearing out "mental clutter" along with the physical.



Marquetry is a traditional technique that dates as far back as the 16th century. It involves inlaying pieces of wood, solid brass, shells or other materials into a base.

We're expecting to see a resurgence of the craft during LDF, where Bethan Gray is presenting brass-inlaid furniture (pictured) modelled after Omani architecture, Giles Miller has made a marquetry system using natural stone and Alessandro Zambelli is showing the Marque' Console collection inlaid with oxidised metal plates.

Experimental workplace design


With the nature of workplaces evolving to suit changing technology and no shortage of surveys documenting the downsides of open-plan set-ups, designers are taking up the challenge of designing entirely new types of office furniture.

Continuing the experimental office furniture trend we observed during Milan design week, LDF sees designers presenting a number of hybrid pieces. Vitra is opening a pop-up office featuring the Stool-Tool, a design study developed together with Konstantin Grcic.

KI is exhibiting work by RCA and Imperial College students centred on workplace innovation. And at 100% Design, brands are presenting new products like Swoosh by Silverline (pictured), which combines soundproofing, zone-creating and storage functions into one.

Brexit uncertainty


This is the first LDF since June's Brexit decision, and talk about the country's future has dominated industry discussion in the last few months. Dezeen held a Brexit design summit in July, from which grew the Brexit Design Manifesto, a document outlining the importance of the sector and how the government can help it thrive post-Brexit.

Expect to see our list of signatories – which includes Terence Conran, Richard Rogers, Marc Newson and Patrik Schumacher – grow over the course of the week.

The discussion continues at 100% Design, where a panel will feature some of the UK's top architectural practices talking about how the process will affect their businesses.

Oxidised metal


Furniture and accessories have developed a patina during the London Design Festival. Included in the Matter of Stuff exhibition, Alessandro Zambelli's Marque Collection (pictured) uses both marquetry and oxidised metal to achieve its puzzle-like finish. It is inlaid with metal pieces that have oxidised in different, complementary ways.

The technique also features in small details, like Bergen-based designers Pedersen & Leszinski's metal-lidded vessels, on display at the 100% Norway exhibition.

Its largest application must be the one at wallpaper manufacturer NLXL Lab, where Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek has created an oxidised copper paper based on a 10-metre-long installation he built in his factory.