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In addition to the Design Districts, London Design Festival introduced Design Routes in 2017 to recognise smaller clusters of design activity in London. As a Route, participating partners are located within walking distance of one another. Together, the partners greatly expand the range of activities and events which take place within the Festival as a whole, ensuring that the route represents all areas of London and its creative and design communities.

Maker Mile Design Route

The Maker Mile Design Route is a creative cluster of fabricators, studios and workshops in east London. The area is one mile in radius and centres on the point where Mare Street crosses the old industrial transport hub of the Regent’s Canal, which denotes the boundary line between the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

Maker Mile returned to London Design Festival for its third year, but as an official Design Route. Some of the area’s most innovative spaces showcased projects, installations and exhibitions for the Festival, all within a short walk of one another. Many spaces were open for the whole festival, events were happening on Saturday when nearby Broadway Market was buzzing, visitors explored the creative area during the late night opening on Monday 18 September.

Events included the immersive installation BUILD by contemporary visual artist Lisa Traxler at Surface Matter’s material studio; an open studio and pop-up shop with 3D printing and postmodern furniture at Taylor Hawkes Design; an examination of studio processes with prototypes, maquettes and finished editions at Studio Trevelyan; an exciting installation curated by Unique Style Platform and Surface Matter showing the latest developments in colour and materiality; and Machines Room show on pioneering new ways of making by the masses.

Notting Hill Design Route

Some of the finest design shops and studios in London came together in 2017 to form the Notting Hill Design Route. The Route offered a diverse array of art, craft and design events on every day of the Festival.

Heal’s hosted craft classes with Eloise Renouf and Emily Dawe at its Westbourne Grove shop throughout the week, in line with the new AW17 collections which launched during the Festival. Additionally, visitors could try their hand at a new skill with hands-on workshops from Farrow and Ball, and a loom weaving masterclass at Graham & Green Bayswater. BoConcept ran a free interior design service, and Pentagram presented an installation of typography by Domenic Lippa following his success at LDF 2016. Goldfinger Factory, sponsored by Heal’s, hosted an evening of sustainability-focused talks and factory tours.

South East Makers Club Design Route

Following on from the success of 2016, South East Makers Club returned for a second year more determined than ever to show the design community that South East London deserves a place on the design map. They invited all design enthusiasts to head south and explore the creative streets and studios of this part of London. Home to many of the very best Makers in the country, the trail celebrated work by local designers and makers and included an exciting host of open studios, talks and workshops. 

There were exhibitions with local, national and international designers represented, there were installations, film screenings and finally, to round off the SEMC weekend (and back by popular demand) the Sunday night designer pub quiz returned. South East Makers Club took place on the final weekend of London Design Festival-23rd-24th September and spanned across Deptford, Brockley, New Cross, Peckham and Nunhead.

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