King's Cross becomes London Design Festival's hottest district for design, innovation, culture and creativity

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King's Cross becomes London Design Festival's hottest district for design, innovation, culture and creativity
UAL x Super Nature Presents ‘Material Heroes’.

LONDON.- The King’s Cross Design District this year focuses on the future of design, from showcasing the ‘material heroes’ that could help address our urgent collective need to transition to a circular economy, to providing a platform for the next generation of design graduates. The district also hosts the world’s first Biophilic design show as well as exploring the future cities and digital design.

From 18-26 September, King’s Cross Design District hosts a jam-packed schedule of installations and events as the highly anticipated London Design Festival returns to the destination for a third year.

King’s Cross has become a melting pot of contemporary design, innovation, culture and creativity, giving visitors plenty to explore from interactive exhibitions and thought-provoking activations, to talks, workshops and events championing up-and-coming designers.

LDF coincides with King’s Cross’ new initiative, Super Nature, where public realm installations and activations are used to explore design, materials and production methods that have a positive impact on people and the planet. As part of the Super Nature programme, King’s Cross is shining a spotlight on the carbon negative wonder ingredient, hemp, and its many applications, from cosmetic to clothing and even building material.

Anthea Harries, Head of Assets at King’s Cross, comments: “We are thrilled to once again be a LDF design district and showcase a host of exciting outdoor activations. We hope to inspire visitors with the breadth of our contemporary design talent and innovative thinkers. Our new initiative, Super Nature, aims to unearth and celebrate ideas that have a positive impact on the planet, and which could inspire people to find new ways they can create a more sustainable future.”


smarin x Super Nature present 'Hemp - Clay - Lime: Urban Seating’

Commissioned by King’s Cross, this prototype ‘Hemp - Clay - Lime: Urban Seating’ has been created by smarin design studio. A further exploration of Material Heroes, this brings together the carbon sequestering materials hemp, clay and lime, and is the first test of this future large-scale public seating scheme.

Kiosk N1C x Super Nature present ‘Hemp Automat’ – a vending machine like no other

Continuing the exploration of the many uses of the miracle crop, hemp, King’s Cross has created a 24-hour vending machine like no other. The ‘Hemp Automat’ showcases some of the 100s of uses of this carbon negative wonder material, from clothing to cosmetics to building material samples, all dispensed from the COVID-safe contactless machine. The fully automated 24/7 retail, COVID-safe, contactless Hemp Automat will stock products from Margent Farm, Kvadrat, BUAISOU, HempWood, HOLM and many more brands.

Film director and founder of Margent Farm, Steve Barron, says: “Just planting the hemp crop can quickly sequester tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Its long, deep roots help to de-compact the soil and it acts as a strong break crop. The cellulose content within (60-70%) means it is a great, natural alternative for many materials - including a bioplastic that can decompose, protecting our oceans. More recently millions of people have become aware of the nutritional value in the seeds, and its remarkable cannabidiol (CBD) content that can be extracted from the leaves and flowers.”

CASA ESTUDIO seating installation

London-based designers CASA ESTUDIO presents a never-before-seen King’s Cross seating installation made from Richlite, an FSC-certified recycled paper composite. Despite being made from paper, KX Seating is weather resistant and durable enough for a busy public realm. Made specifically for King’s Cross, the construction method references the site’s industrial history while its curved edges and exaggerated joins are reminiscent of children’s construction toys.

The Illuminated Garden, featuring Super Nature TV

Lighting up Coal Drops Yard is the return and reinvention of the popular ‘Space Frames’ installation. This year the clever reusable modular design, by Studio Mieke Meijer, transforms into an Illuminated Garden which will be home to Super Nature TV - a series of films, curated by Modern Design Review, from designers, institutions and brands which tell a story related to circularity, reuse and sustainable systems. Experience the illuminated garden and be inspired by craftspeople involved in hyper local production, architects dreaming of the urban spaces of the future to artists working with waste.

UAL x Super Nature Presents ‘Material Heroes’

From hemp to HTML, UAL students pick their ‘Material Heroes’ in an exhibition taking over the ‘Outside Art Project’.

The UAL Climate Emergency Network have invited graduating students to highlight a material ‘hero’ – whether microscopic or macro, the selected works address cultural and environmental sustainability. Visitors can learn more about each project through QR codes linked to the UAL Graduate Showcase.

The Unboxing Show by Peter Marigold

A LDF Festival Commission, British designer Peter Marigold will hero cardboard, perhaps the most primary material of consumer waste. Transforming it into design items of value, established designers and makers have been invited to create an object made from waste cardboard at Kiosk N1C in Coal Drops Yard. These designs will be available for the public to build for free at the exhibition, offering visitors insight into the great potential of this humble material whilst also walking away with an original collectible object that they have invested their time into making. The pieces made on-site will be stamped and numbered while the plans will remain online for all to download and create at home.

King's Cross Designpost by Alba Elezi, American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and Benchmark

Each of the 10 design districts are being celebrated with a unique sculptural waymarker to welcome visitors and communicate the distinctive character of the district. Gasholder Bench is the Graduate designer, Alba Elezi’s, tribute to King's Cross.

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