I take the time every year during London Design Festival to visit Islington, I love Angel and wish I had more business that brought me to the area. Dotted just off the bustling main high street are lots of tasty eateries and independent showrooms and boutiques. It makes for the perfect place for an afternoon wander, especially with the weather in your favour and if you are wearing a pair of comfy shoes.
The Islington Design District is made up of 15 stops around Angel, all with their own design offering whether through the introduction of a new collection or a pop up artist in residence to transform the shop space with a new look. I recommend starting at Amwell Street and working your way north, then once you are done you can collect your rewards on your way back to the underground. So lets start from the end and work our way back:
57 Amwell Street EC1R 1UR
Andrew Corrie has a great design ethic behind his home-wares, building from a blank slate he creates lines that suit both an urban or country environment. Inspired by handcrafted objects often for a particular purpose there is something for everyones table.
Curiousa & Blackpop
39 Amwell Street EC1R 1UR
I am very familiar with Curiousa & Curiousa hand-blown glass lighting, the memorable british designs come in wonderful impactful arrangements that ooze colourful impact. Their display looked stunning against Blackpop’s new historical inspired wallpapers and textiles.
63 Amwell Street EC1r 1ur
Timorous Beasties was a delight to explore. Premium contemporary wallpapers that positively glow, literally in the case of the new Ruskin collection’s digital damask and floral patterns.
37 AMWELL STREET EC1R 1ur
Quill is stationary heaven. A little haven away from the hustle, I spent a delightful time sat making a paper blossom to add to their window installation, Hydrangea. They offer a selection of quality papers, inks, tapes etc. as well as workshops in-store.
24 Lloyd baker street WC1x 9AZ
Another one of these shops I usually walk past but never venture inside, which is a shame. Wallace Sewell are known for their combination of colour and structure making their yarn pieces striking and bold. The process starts on a hand loom in London with the designers themselves then moves up to be produced at a family run mill in whatever quantity is needed.
18C river street ec1r 1xn
Known for their combination of classic twentieth century design with contemporary ideas. Producing some of the best design-led furniture, lighting and accessories with great context to each piece.
Present & Correct
23 Arlington Way ec1r 1uy
Present & Correct is the brain child of designers who have a long term obsession with stationary. Their shop is full of all things paper and office related, with plenty of nostalgia for the glory days of school, homework, libraries and even the post office.
the mall n1 0pd
Sofa.com is all about great products with no need for a hard sell, just great customer service. Their showroom in Angel is the most divine building and allows for furniture browsing in a relaxed way we could all dream of.
Home & Pantry
114 Islington high street n1 8eg
Re-branded under the new banner of Haygen, this little life-style store is always a treasure trouve of coveted homeware, fashion & gifts.
13 camden passage n1 8ea
SMUG is the beautiful brainchild of Lizzie Evans that is at the centre of IDD, and the heart of historical Camden Passage. With lots of exclusive products some designers by Lizzie herself, including these new patterns just for LDF.
21 camden passage n1 8ea
Kamilla Ruberg brings her Danish roots to Angel, alongside architect Kaja Skytte for IDD she designed an intricate window display of plant planets and spherical jewellery.
9 Cloudesley road n1 0Fh
A new face to the area and pulling double duty during LDF both here in their new showroom and at Decorex this contemporary lighting brand have some wow factor designs on offer.
111 Essex road n1 2sl
One of my favourite stops of the day, this little persons shop became a magical ocean wonderland full of oversized plushies. Everyone needs a little fun in their lives, BigStuffed brought some all the way from Paris hand crafted by designer Dana Muskat.
Adventures in Furniture
281 Upper street n1 2tz
Always a clever place to go when needing a furniture solution, Adventure does some very clever things with wooden furniture that doesn’t compromise on quality.
Barnsbury Hall Barnsbury street n1 1pn
The last stop is the church of design, Aria, known for its collaborations with local independent designers and out of hours approach to shopping, its the details that count here.
The lovely Lizzie from SMUG is the women behind the trail and does a great job of curating the partners involved and I am sure does a lot of leg work during LDF itself. I make it in to a photo walk of sorts and give myself the chance to get to know the architecture of the area better. You can knock it out in a day or keep coming back for more during the week, but either way its not to be missed.