September was always standing for new beginnings, even more than the first calendar day of the year.
Coming back from summer holidays, and with suitcases loaded with resolutions for new habits and targets, got back to London, the city that attracts all the highlights in the creative arts and will always remind me this city is the hub where everything starts from and ends to. London Design Festival, Open House and London Fashion Week take place these coming weekends of September under one united prism ‘sustainability and the environment’.
I have now pulled together all these events one cannot miss in a mini guide to the arts, fashion architecture and design.
London Design Festival (14-22 September)
Sam Jacob at the V&A: The Sam Jacob architect studio with an art installation hanging over the guests entering the V&A museum, highlights the need to re-visit and re-think the lifecycle of plastics and embrace the use of more sustainable and eco-friendly products.
This overwhelming in size piece that performs with animation, in conjunction with many other pieces and installations in the indoor and outdoor spaces of the museum, form an art and design hub in the very well visited establishment, being a very good reason for someone to pay a visit anyway.
The V&A curators and everyone behind the exhibitions here are always in the frontline and their work always makes a statement and reassures us that the world of arts is endless, always having something new to demonstrate and send a message to the world.
Martino Gamper at Coal Drops Yard: The Italian designer is responsible for the festival’s curation in general at the coolest area in London, the Coal Drops Yard, with various immersive art installations and events. However, his collaboration with Samsung stands out , where he exhibits his ‘Idiosincratico’,an exhibition of his creative practice and his distinctive and playful approach to dissembling and reinventing familiar domestic objects.
‘A second life’ at sketch in Mayfair: Mayfair’s Sketch has always been and will always be a destination for everyone as is still the same, yet not very same. This year again it hosts some art installations and gives space to young creatives to dress up the infamous bar/restaurant of Conduit Street, with an exhibition called ‘A second life’.
The artists give a second chance in life to the materials destined to recycling and they turn them into mesmerising sculptures in the entrance and the different rooms.
Conran Shop at Marylebone: The Marylebone Conran Shop has always got a selection of the finest everyday objects and essentials and contemporary and modern design furniture, signed by famous established designers and other progressive and artists.
During the London Design festival, limited edition and rare collaborations are being exhibited by artists of the Hauser&Wirth gallery roaster. It will be super interesting to see ways to match pieces of art with everyday gadgets and furniture around home.
Open House London (21-22 September)
The Open House term has firstly launched in London in 1992 and since then runs every single year, proving the examples of the finest architecture and design are endless in the british capital.
The new US Embassy at Nine Elms: The new US Embassy has moved south of the river and brought opportunities for regeneration to an area far from any hub of public transport.
The building was designed by the American Kieran Timberlake and its modern design adopts the latest techniques and energy saving technologies, been awarded for exemplary sustainable design with amazing 65 metres tall facades.
Balfron Tower: Balfron Tower is one of the last Brutalist landmarks in the UK. Designed in 1962 by Erno Goldfinger the designer got inspired by his studies in Paris and the work of Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret.
The communal areas evoke a strong sense of community which is one the main characteristics of the residential development of that era. The communal sense forms the response to the introvert houses from the Victorian and Georgian years dominating the housing layout till then in the Great Britain.
Roca London Gallery: A bathroom brand had not interested us as much ever before. With its main element, the water, its nature, its forms and shapes in the space, Zaha Hadid has designed a flexible space combining a meeting room, café bar, library, multi-media wall, reception and video screens, where peope can meet, interact and exchange creative ideas so visitors feel they are in an active design centre and in just a showroom.
Royal College of Physicians:If you ever wondered what’s this total white cube balancing on a fragile podium while strolling around Regents Park, your chance to actually visit it is now. The Royal College of Physicians is inspired by le Corbusier and its dramatic interior spaces with the white mosaic exteriors is one of the most important post-war buildings in London. The shapes and forms will impress you with its distinct modernist lines.
Isokon Building: In 2019, Bauhaus celebrates its 100th anniversary and a sample of this movement in architecture could not have been part of our Open House agenda. The Isokon building is a 32 flats block in Hampstead. When it was firstly designed in 1934 by Wells Coates, home to many architects, designers and intellectuals. The flats are rather small but well equipped, promoting the idea to ‘concentrate on living rather than being burdened with domestic chores’.
The services provided included cleaning, bed making and cooked meals every day in the communal dining area on the ground floor of the building, the Isobar. The Isobar, the inhouse dining room and club on the ground floor, also attracted many interesting people allowing theemergence of an avant-garde, idealistic and open-minded community of free thinkers to bond and grow.
The building got renovated in 2005 and all the new flats are now sold to people admiring the architecture and the values that the Bauhaus movement represents.
London fashion week (13-17 September)
The London Fashion Week every year presents the most progressive and contemporary fashion that Great Britain has to offer. For many, the London Fashion Week is not as glamorous as the Paris or the Milan is, but we could easily say that London Fashion Week is all about its people and its street fashion, that is not limited in just a week’s time but creates trends and fashion all year long.
Apart from the famous designers shows, parties and events that attract the flash, trends just don’t wait to appear on the magazines papers and covers, but they are already online, real time, around the globe.
This time, and for the first time in the Fashion Weeks history, the agenda is structured in a way that facilitates two audiences. ‘The trade audience will attend on schedule catwalk shows and presentations. The public audience will be able to purchase a ticket and have access to an immersive London Fashion Week experience, that will include a selection of designers, creative installations, industry-led talk panels from experts, the DiscoveryLAB, an experiential space where fashion meets art, technology and music and a brand-new Designer Exhibition, where the creative work of progressive designers explores the most compelling stories around sustainability, community and ethics. ’Alexa Chang, the House of Holland and Self Portrait will present their shows during the weekend of 14th-15th September at The Store at Strand, in one of the very last events before the building starts getting its renovation to host the new establishment of the Soho House Group.