An intro to the Brixton Design Trail

For those still here since last September you might remember my extensive coverage of the London Design Festival. It’s like a design equivalent of Christmas in my calendar and it turns the city in to an (even more) thriving hub of conversation and creativity. I am always spoilt for choice over what to see and run out of time and daylight every year trying to catch as much as possible.

Making it on to my schedule for the first time last year and in the LDF guide too, was the Brixton Design Trail as an official design district. I have some great memories of exploring Brixton so was excited to see they had managed to organise something to show off the creative talent the area holds. If you want a reminder of what they got up to last year >> Check this out <<

If you are dying to know what they are going to be getting up to for their return this year, keep reading.

This years trail is larger than ever with over 40 venues to stop at offering everything from large 3-D installations, store front displays and interactive opportunities. Check out the full line up at Here are some of the interesting stories I have had the great opportunity to watch grow on the build up to the festival.

AWMA is creating a mirrored slat structure inspired by a minarets architecture and a metaphor for it’s ability to bring people together. Whether you stand inside for personal reflection or are touched by the visual call of it’s exterior it will be a beacon for this years trail.

Location: Windrush Square SW2 1EF – Open all week – #lovethehubb

Jo Gibbs is returning this year with another mirrored self-reflection installation this time a single ransom styled typographic piece with her own patterns. Etched lace patterns spelling out Hypernormalisation influenced by the Adam Curtis documentary. Re-flections Brixton holds up a mirror to reflect behaviour and environment it’s in. A through the looking glass perspective that I can’t wait to experience.

LOCATION: BRIXTON STATION ROAD, opposite pop brixton – OPEN ALL WEEK – #reflections_brixton

Very excited by this trail inside our trail, and another of our installations on the streets of Brixton. Deborah Bowness wallpapers are interactive designs of everyday objects creating fun but subtle interior style. She takes her domestic images in to public spaces bringing ‘love’ to the overlooked.

location: need to hunt them down, treasure hunt! – open all week – #papertrailbrixton

The second home of BDT is in the shiny and new Squire & Partners building, the biggest corporate partner of the trail is putting on an entire week of  – talks, workshops, fairs and even the launch party. My top not to miss: the tour of the breath taking detail driven architectural diamond that is their building  tour (TUE evening) tickets through eventbright.

location: ferndale road SW9 8FR – open mon – SUN 11am / 5pm

Bharat & Jean is another creative team who have made their home in Pop Brixton and for BDT designed a colourful pastiche of the heavily debated Brixton railway arches. The tunnel mutes sounds as you walk through to pay tribute to the past and act as a reminder of the essential supporting role of the community.

location: ATLANTIC ROAD HUB, SW9 8HX – open all week – #silentarch

These lovely designers are celebrating their third decade in Brixton & their continuing contributing to the vibrant London borough. For the duration of the festival their showrooms and outdoor space is open and filled with work from each of their artists. The venue is just as nice to the work and pretty unique in the Brixton landscape.

LOCATION: Saltoun Road SW2 1EN – OPEN ALL WEEK 10am / 6pm

Crafty Fox Market is making the ultimate partnership with the lovely Emy from Brixi to curate a ‘Design Circus’. A craft fair with all its usual amazing products and makers but with the added entertainment of artworks, live demonstrations, dressing up, palm readers. For all we know if Emy could get an elephant down there she might try.

LOCATION: FERNDALE ROAD Sw9 8FR – Sat 23 & sun 24 11am / 5pm

This is another of the stunning returners to BDT, Sam’s We can be Heroes origami installation was a huge engaging success at Pop Brixton last year, thus year Untranslation is going to grace the rafters of Brixton Village Market. Replacing the global flags flying with his and Toni’s own designs and a selection of untranslatable words with fantastic meanings. It celebrates the many languages you hear on Brixton’s streets and will be a cultural design dictionary for all to enjoy.

LOCATION: Brixton Village & market row – open all week – #untranslation

It was really hard to choose just a few from the huge line up on offer and to be honest those were just some of the more explainable events and installations. What makes BDT stand out from the rest of LDF for me is the lasting impact pieces created by the designers that live there & work there have.

There are more flash crossings by dolman-bowles and Eley Kishimoto that made such a statement last year, an amazing street art mural by Dreph redecorating the market entrance on Popes Road and the crowning achievement of all getting TFL to clean up the station entrance to allow Obsessive Interests to populate the space. Each piece of the trail involves the community in some way in a hope to better it through creative and good design. It’s a wonderful legacy for them and hope it promotes more creative careers, design used as a helpful tool and the continued growth of LDF.