Visit London Blog » british designers Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Shopping News: Westfield Stratford, Burberry, McQ and The Very Hungry Caterpillar Tue, 18 Sep 2012 11:00:48 +0000 Here’s this week’s top London shopping news stories:

Westfield Stratford Attracts a Record 47m Shoppers in its First Year

East London shopping centre Westfield Stratford City has marked its first birthday with record-breaking stats. The 1.9m square-foot shopping centre welcomed 47 million visitors in its opening year; one million within the first seven days of being open! Since then, the shopping centre has attracted around 800,000 shoppers each week. Westfield Stratford was also boosted during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as the centre was the gateway to the Olympic Park, meaning visits hit 8.5 million during London 2012. So, the Stratford shopping centre has a lot to celebrate. Between 21 and 23 September, there’ll be a whole host of fun events including circus-themed parties, free live entertainment, offers and prize giveaways. Look out for free cupcakes, cake pops, balloons and popcorn, as well as mime artists, magicians and jugglers. Happy 1st Birthday, Westfield Stratford!

Two New Designer Flagship Stores for London’s West End: Burberry and McQ

As London Fashion Week comes to a close, London is left with the legacy of two incredible new flagship stores. Burberry World opened late last week, in a beautiful 1820s building on Regent Street: the largest Burberry store in the world. The store aims to recreate all the elements found on the brand’s online shopping outlet. There are 500 speakers and 100 screens throughout the store, showing original films created in-house at Burberry. Some of the clothes are specially tagged: when you take them into a changing room or near certain screens, you’ll be shown catwalk footage or details about how the product was made. I can’t wait to try this out!

Over on Dover Street, the long-awaited McQ London flagship opened on Friday. The three-storey boutique features Alexander McQueen’s secondary, more affordable label, as well as some of the most spectacular designs from the brand’s former fashion shows. “We want to create a story and a home for McQ and the flagship on Dover Street is an extension of this world,” said Sarah Burton, creative director for the Alexander McQueen brand (and designer of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, you’ll remember). “The store will offer special catwalk pieces alongside ready-to-wear collections in a rich and immersive McQ environment.” According to Vogue, that means fancy shag pile carpets, suede-walled changing rooms and velvet chairs creating an intimate boudoir feel for the shop.

Meet The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Waterstone’s Piccadilly

 Finally, one for the kids: on Saturday, you can meet The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Waterstone’s Piccadilly. Between 11.30am and 3.30pm, there’ll be fun activities and story time in the bookstore. The Caterpillar himself will be making appearances every hour, and you can even help Waterstone’s make their very own Hungry Caterpillar in store. Call 0207 851 2400 to find out more.

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Kenneth Grange at the Design Museum Wed, 20 Jul 2011 13:16:55 +0000 Kenneth Grange, Adshell bench, 1972 Kenneth Grange, Wilkinson Protector, 1991 Kenneth Grange, Rural Postbox, 1996 Kenneth Grange, TX1, London Taxi, 1997 Kenneth Grange, Instamatic 33 Series, Kodak Kenneth Grange, Intercity 125, 1976

You might not have heard of veteran product designer Kenneth Grange but you’ll almost certainly be familiar with his designs.

These include Intercity 125 trains, rural post boxes, London black taxis, Wilkinson Protector razors, Parker pens and Kenwood food mixers.

A new retrospective at London’s Design Museum gives an insight into the development of Grange’s products over the past 50 years.

The exhibition includes drawings, photos, prototypes and finished products. Some of the most fascinating designs were never produced, including a proposed Channel Tunnel train.

I was amazed by the scope of Grange’s work, and the number of items designed by him that have become part of my daily life.

Once you’ve visited the show, you’ll never use a razor, jump into a taxi or pick up a pen again without thinking about all the work that’s gone into designing it.

Kenneth Grange: Making Britain Modern is at the Design Museum until 30 October 2011

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Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011 at London Design Museum Tue, 15 Feb 2011 13:34:42 +0000

This amazing installation will be on show from tomorrow at the Design Museum, as part of the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011 exhibition.

The digital wall takes a photo of your face, which then appears when you “throw” virtual paint at the wall. Originally designed for Nokia, the concept could be used anywhere from conferences to schools, according to designers Greyworld.

The Design Museum exhibition features some of the most interesting designs from the past year, including fashion, cars, architecture, furniture and even London’s “Boris bikes“.

Brit Insurance Designs of the Year is at the Design Museum from 16 February to 7 August 2011

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    We Make Christmas Art & Craft Show at Chelsea Town Hall Fri, 04 Dec 2009 09:00:54 +0000 Robin by Alexandra Ashby

    Fill your Christmas stockings with lovely hand-made gifts! Head to We Make Christmas at Chelsea Town Hall where London’s top designer/makers will be selling their work at this sparkling Christmas fair.

    Designers have been selected by the We Make London team who organise regular craft shows. Buying directly from designers is a lovely experience. You might even end up commissioning something special or falling in love with a new craft!

    You’ll find cards, art, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and more. There are also carol singers, craft demonstrations and other festive fun. Check out the We Make London website to for a taste of the treasures you’ll see at the show. London is blooming with talented artists and designers!

    London based artist Alexandra Ashby will be selling her cards and prints at We Make Christmas and loves to spend time drawing in London. We asked her where she goes for inspiration:

    “I’m currently preparing for my spring collection and I’ve been looking at the Kew Gardens hot houses. Kew is the best place to draw rare, pretty flowers and plants. Battersea Park and Victoria Park are very ‘old Victorian London’ which inspires me when I’m thinking about drawing in a new style. Walthamstow Marshes is also great, as it’s often full of highland cows, which I love drawing.

    The V&A has provided so much inspiration to me, especially seeing the botanical drawings in their archive which really triggered my interest in this type of drawing.

    My line drawings of people wouldn’t be possible without observing the frenetic life of Londoners every day. I once spent a week sitting in the Royal Festival Hall drawing people. I didn’t need to move as there was constantly something new to look at – tourists, families, students, business men!”

    We Make Christmas at Chelsea Town Hall, Saturday 5 December, 11am – 5pm, entry £2 for adults, free for children.

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    Design Museum Announces 2010 Exhibitions Fri, 25 Sep 2009 14:02:02 +0000 One Laptop Per Child by Yves Behar, Winner of The Brit Insurance Design Awards 2008

    The Design Museum today announced a wide-ranging schedule of exhibitions for 2010, covering all aspects of design, from architecture and products to photography and fashion.

    The first new show, Sustainable Futures – Can Design Save the World?, opens on 31 March, showcasing designs that could help us live more sustainable lives in the future.

    (If you’re interested in sustainable design, don’t miss the Royal College of Art’s current exhibition, Sunny Memories, where you can see prototypes of new solar powered products – from a glowing bench to a mobile charger for homeless people.)

    Back at the Design Museum, an exhibition of photos by David Adjaye also opens on 31 March, documenting the architect’s journey through Africa, and celebrating the continent’s rich diversity of culture, buildings and urban landscape.

    Next up is Illustrated Fashion, opening on 23 June, which features some of the world’s most recognised fashion drawings, including work by Chanel, Dior, Comme des Garcons and Victor & Rolf. The original drawings will be displayed alongside key garments from couture houses.

    Then on 22 September, British architect John Pawson  – whose commissions include the Cistercian Monastery of Novy Dvur in Bohemia, Calvin Klein’s flagship store in Manhattan, and the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – gets a chance to show his work.

    Although the contents of Pawson’s exhibition are still to be confirmed, you can expect touchable exhibits, walk-in buildings, large-scale photos of architecture, and a biographical account of how Pawson lives in his own home.

    Finally, two of the Design Museum’s regular shows return next year.

    Brit Insurance Designs of the Year opens on 17 February. Around 100 designs shortlisted for the prestigious prize will be on display at the museum, arranged in seven categories: architecture, transport, graphics, interactive, product, furniture and fashion.

    And from now until March 2010, the Designers in Residence scheme continues, with emerging designers invited to take over an area of the museum.

    With a possible move to a new location at London’s Commonwealth Institute in 2013, and a packed year ahead, these are exciting times for the Design Museum.

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    V&A Friday Talks in London: Celia Birtwell, Richard Mabey, Anna Pavord and Kew Gardens Tue, 15 Sep 2009 10:22:40 +0000 Illustration by Margaret Mee. Image Royal Botanical Gardens KewOn Friday nights, the V&A offers inspiring talks featuring some of the biggest names in art, design and culture.

    Last Friday’s talk celebrated the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. The theme was the inspiration of nature.

    The speakers were designer Celia Birtwell, naturalist Richard Mabey, journalist Anna Pavord and David Mabberley, the keeper of Kew’s Herbarium. (When there are portraits of Michelangelo, Holbein and Inigo Jones watching from the walls of the lecture theatre, you need an impressive line up like this!)

    Acclaimed designer Celia Birtwell was top of the bill. Celebrated for her hand-drawn floral print fabric, Celia revealed she created one of her famous prints while sketching at the V&A. Celia talked us through many of her famous designs, sharing the inspiration behind each piece.

    (If you’re wishing you had a designer budget to buy Celia’s work, she’s recently designed a purse-friendly new cover for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights!)

    Richard Mabey spoke about the devastation caused by the big storm of 1987. Kew lost many rare trees, but unexpectedly the damage wasn’t all bad, as it gave the scientists access to the roots and their underground world for the first time.

    Anna Pavord described the wild landscapes of Kazakhstan, Scotland and Cumbria. Anna’s eloquent thoughts about nature provided an enjoyable take on the way the natural world can inspire the written word.

    The Herbarium at Kew contains more than 7 million plant specimens and many paintings of plants. The drawings are stored by species so you’ll find all the cabbage paintings together. David Mabberley spoke about the illustration side of the collection and the way it inspires Kew’s conservation work.

    Did you know that the illustration of plants dates back to antiquity? That repeatedly drawing a plant from previous drawings over centuries creates a sort of Chinese whispers effect of changing and simplifying the information? David also told the audience a story about a drawing of a mythical Barnacle Goose Tree from the 1500s which convinced a few people that geese grow on trees.

    All that in just over an hour! You can book a ticket to a Friday night talk for £8 (£6 concessions) and it’s worth every penny. At the end, there’s usually a chance for you to ask questions and get books signed.

    Find out what’s coming up at the V&A’s Friday Talks here. Your favourite designers might be up next!

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    Giles Deacon: Fashion in Motion at the Victoria and Albert Museum Fri, 17 Jul 2009 15:58:22 +0000 Giles Deacon - Fashion in Motion at the Victoria and Albert Museum

    Today the Victoria and Albert Museum treated fashion fans to exclusive live catwalk shows by top British Designer Giles Deacon.

    The first Giles Deacon show of the day started a fashionable half-hour late with thunder, lightning and a fairytale floaty dress. This was followed by oversized knitwear, spiky jewelled felt frocks and giant furry helmets.
    Giles Deacon - Fashion in Motion at the Victoria and Albert Museum

    My favourite piece was a voluminous white dress with a hem that swooped up into a puffball skirt then up further to create a headdress that looked like floppy rabbit ears. I’d wear it.

    The show features a retrospective of his favourite designs from the last five years. It’s exciting to see Giles’ work up close and to see him take a quick bow at the end!

    Fashion designer Giles Deacon is best known for his bold geometric designs. Celebrities love his clothes (and so do trendy high street shoppers – Giles designs a special clothing range for men and women for New Look)

    The V&A stage catwalk shows by the biggest names in fashion as part of their Fashion in Motion series a couple of times a year and the best bit is that you can go for free! You need a ticket but the tickets are free and everyone can queue up and get one. (Be quick, there’s a limited number for each show.)

    Find out more about the V&A’s Fashion in Motion series.

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