A colour lovers guide to London Design Festival – our top 5

It’s September and for the design obsessed – particularly the UK dwelling one – this can mean only one thing. It’s time for the London Design Festival. In fact the now enormous 15-year-old show – 394 events this year and counting – draws visitors from all around the world to the week-long event (16th – 24th September) and it’s become impossible to cover off every listed part of it, no matter how much you try. We won’t even attempt to give you a comprehensive guide but rather our suspected highlights focused on our favourite subject – colour. Get your map and red pen ready (if you’re still analogue) and make the following part of your route.

Adam Nathaniel Furmen at Sir John Soane’s Museum

Held at one of our favourite London venues, The Roman Singularity exhibition by architectural designer Adam Nathaniel Furman looks like a must-see for colour critics. A former student of the Architectural Association, Adam makes playful 3D ceramic busts and in this exhibition celebrates Rome as a pilgrimage site in the most colour-attuned way. A pastel pink Rome with hot red, yellow, green and blue accents is a delicious sight and – we predict – in the tranquil surrounds of Sir John Soane’s old house, will make a welcome and uplifting sanctuary during the busy fair.

Reflection Room at the V&A

Billed as an immersive coloured light experience the V&A’s Reflection Room by Flynn Talbot turns the 35m long vaulted Prince Consort Gallery into a kaleidoscope with blue, orange and black at its basis. 56 custom-made gloss black panels are woven with LED lights that bring the other two colours into play, creating a sort of futuristic textile that nods to the history of the room – it formerly housed a huge archive of textile samples. “I wanted to add my story on top of the beautiful existing architecture but not to take it over. With all of my work, I want to create new experiences using light that builds a connection between people and place,” says Flynn Talbot. The V&A is home to several installations at LDF, so make sure you allow some extra time when you visit.

Villa Walala at Broadgate

We’ve long followed the work of Camille Walala who has, over the years, applied her trademark Memphis-inspired graphic patterns to all from paper coffee cups to Shoreditch building fronts. For Villa Walala in partnership with British Land the designer has created a playground of colour, pattern and geometric shape in the heart of London’s financial district complete with stress-relieving squeezy balls aimed, surely, as much at the busy LDF visitor as the local inhabitants working nearby.

Farrow & Ball + Joel Parks at Islington (plus others!)

Farrow & Ball has commissioned a series of design installations and creative workshops at four of their London showrooms for LDF. At the Islington site there’s an exhibition by sculptor, artist and wood-worker Joel Parkes who lives in the woods in West Dorset and carves elegant wooden vessels by hand from a single piece of timber – the scale of it frequently too large for conventional processing machines to be employed.

If you’re heading west then take to Marylebone for a striking installation curated by trompe l’oeil artist Michael Angove and to Chelsea and Hampstead for free screen print workshops in partnership with Print Club London.

Conscious Colour trend event at London Fields

Ever wondered how trend forecasters know which colours you’re going to be into and how that information trickles down into actual production and design? Well then book a ticket (here) to this evening event held by forecasting company Unique Style Platform and material specialists Surface Matter. The collaborators are creating an installation that explores the latest innovations in colour and surface for A/W 18/19 that should leave you feeling inspired and ahead of the curve. Expect to see a trend film and inspirational speakers – we’ll see you there.

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist