7 Must-See London Sights for Designers

Without a doubt, London is a culture capital in its own right. Of course, the city has Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, but if you want something besides the same-old sights, be sure to check out these museums and design-worthy hotspots across the city.

1. Design Museum

Set in the Kensington district facing the Thames River, this sprawling museum is devoted to all things design, from graphic to industrial, furniture and architecture. Directed by Deyan Sudjic, this museum is 29 years old, but it recently saw a renovation from its initial modernist building to an old former bank. Be sure to check out their temporary exhibitions, which change up every few months, their hyperbolic paraboloid roof and an auditorium, which seats 200 people for design talks, seminars and debates. http://designmuseum.org

2. Serpentine Galleries

Spearheaded by famed German curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, this space is really one gallery with a plural name. It was founded in 1970, has shown over 2,000 artists over the past four decades and is known for its cutting edge programming—especially with exhibitions featuring architects. While you’re here, also pick up a copy of the gallery’s namesake magazine and take a peek at all the fabulous in-house design work. www.serpentinegalleries.org 

Enter the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards or your chance at prizes like these:

• a free Big Ticket to HOW Design Live 2019
• a main-stage trophy presentation
• a lunch date with a HOW Design Live speaker
• an invite to the HOW Live Speaker Reception with industry leaders
• a spot in a gorgeous, all-new hardcover book from HOW+PRINT

Deadline to enter is April 9!

3. TATE Modern

Probably the most famous of all museums in London, the Tate is the must-see hub for contemporary art. With free entry, why not give it a shot? Expect to see everything from paintings by Pablo Picasso to Jeff Koons and Young British Artists Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin, as well as American icons like Jenny Holzer. Their conference and film programming shines, they host everything from talks on gender to experimental films from Japan. http://tate.org.uk

4. Saatchi Gallery

It’s much more than just a gallery in Chelsea, it’s an institution and a brand founded by advertising industry guru Charles Saatchi in 1985. Known for supporting artists like Damien Hirst and has a knack for courting controversy in the media—they’ve shown provocative images of Princess Diana by Stella Vine and recently had a Pussy Riot-themed exhibition, which was much like an Escape Room. Best to see it for yourself and how one advertising mastermind created the most buzzed-about gallery in London. www.saatchigallery.com

5. Secret Cinema

This film theatre in London is anything but. It’s more like a meetup. So if you’re looking to watch an unusual film—usually o the independent variety—why not check this place out? From Hollywood films from the 1960s to Marx Brothers films and London classics, sign up to the newsletter on their website, where they release the films they screen and the dates. Last minute, they send you the secret location. Past screenings have taken place in warehouses, old embassies and parks. This is the place to escape the crowds and delve into a blast from the past with an adventurous approach, so get yourself a bag of popcorn and pull up. http://secretcinema.org 

6. Snap Store

If you have some extra room left for carry on, do stop by this East London concept shop. While they bill themselves as a card and gift shop, it’s so much more. They have indie design products that one could never dream of, from metallic pouches to beanies by the local Fairfield Apparel and stationary from Cosmos design. Their silkscreen artist prints are also a gem, especially the cartoon ones. Worth stopping by to find inspiration for your next set of greeting cards, but also check out their indie selection of books, toys (even stuffed dinosaurs) and label-makers to satisfy your inner crafter. http://snap-store.com

 Installation by Flynn Talbot

Installation by Camille Walala

by Ross Lovegrove

7. London Design Festival

Looking for the peak design time to visit London? The London Design Festival celebrates and promotes Londonas the design capital of the world and their annual festival returns to venues across the city from the September 15-23, 2018. Last year, they had over 400,000 visitors from over 75 countries over the course of their nine-day festival, from public art projects, a global design forum and new commissions, not to mention over 300 partner events. It’s more than just your usual categories, too, there was a blow-up castle covered in abstract patterns, a light sculpture and events hosted by Pantone. Definitely worth the trip, but book your hotel early. www.londondesignfestival.com

Stay tuned for a look at five London design agencies that are kicking ass in the industry!

One thought on “7 Must-See London Sights for Designers

  1. vincent007

    These are the kind of place, where designers can learn something new and see something new which they aren’t experienced before. Very nice places for designer.