How to curate a design trail along the King’s Road

“We went for a long walk,” says designer Tetsuo Mukai and writer and curator Anna Stewart about how they started working on the ‘Daydreaming on the King’s Road’ design trail for LDF23. Made up of 14 stops, the trail looks at cultural touchpoints in history from this area of west london.

Like most areas of London, people may have their preconceptions of this enclave of Chelsea, but dig a little, and you can discover intriguing and eclectic stories. This is what drew Stewart and Mukai into the project. “What we have in common is that we like to find out things that go deeper than the surface,” says Mukai.

The research led to them understanding there were multiple layers to this area. “We were keen to show different periods of history,” says Stewart. From Sloane Square to the Vivienne Westwood store, the two kilometre stretch of the trail is packed with rich narratives. From design stores like the David Mellor shop and the area’s rural past at Wright’s Dairy, to when Francis Bacon lived nearby and unexpected modernist houses nearby, the trail is filled with surprises along the way.

“There is a Philip Webb-designed house on Glebe Road which I had no idea about, even though I studied him a bit at university,” says Stewart about their own discoveries during their research. “The Chelsea Potter is a pub I’ve gone past many times,” Stewart remarks, but after learning more, she found out there has been many different potteries in Chelsea over the years.

Stewart and Mukai expect people who take on the trail will “pick what they are interested in or don’t know about,” says Stewart. Part of the fun is the speculative stories from the past – Mukai says, “there are different rabbit holes people can go into if they are specifically into something.”