King’s Cross Design District opens physical and virtual doors for LDF 2020

Posted: Monday 7th September 2020

Tom Dixon shop, King's Cross

King’s Cross welcomes London Design Festival 2020 as the destination becomes a leading LDF Design District for the second year running. As London’s newest creative quarter and retail destination, the King’s Cross Design District will see the area’s biggest design names open their physical and virtual doors to the public with a host of exhibitions, installations and activities, as well as festival exclusives from renowned international artists and designers.

Highlights of the KXDD include:

  • An interactive Festival Commission from French-born experimental designer Marlène Huissoud
  • The first-ever District Commission for King’s Cross, based on a series of arboraceous interventions from pioneering and provocative practice muf architecture / art
  • An immersive trip inside the mind of man and brand Tom Dixon
  • The eagerly awaited physical debut of Planted, the first contemporary design show aimed at reconnecting cities with nature
  • A hardware concept store from The Misused, co-founded by industrial designer Liang-Jung Chen.

The King’s Cross Design District programme is led by female designer-makers and studio leads, a commitment to sustainability and a dedication to elevating those voices coming through into the industry’s new generation.

The annual London Design Festival returns to the capital from 12 – 20 September 2020 as a symbol of London’s determination to maintain its creative and cultural leadership.




12-20 September

Mon – Sun 24 hours

King’s Cross, N1C



The first commission for the King’s Cross Design District. Pioneering London-based collective muf architecture/art and British structural engineers Atelier One have created a headliner installation which doubles as a thoughtful wayfinding trail around the King’s Cross site.

Mature trees will be transported into King’s Cross, carefully positioned in temporary resting places with their crowns pointing visitors on their way to the next destination, from King’s Cross station to Coal Drops Yard via Granary Square. Atelier One have designed bespoke street furniture which acts to both support and secure the trees, while also creating moments for visitors to rest and relax.

After serving as thoughtful landmarks and meeting points for the duration of the Festival, the trees will be brought together as a glade to create an outdoor classroom for The Grove school in Tottenham for students with autism, creating a space of lasting value in a permanent location.

muf architecture/art founding partner Liza Fior said: “Like so many well designed things waiting to be picked up, put on, used, trees without their roots in the ground are incomplete. Bringing these powerful yet vulnerable living things to Kings Cross, with Atelier One and Williby’s has provoked some great discussions.”



12-20 September

Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 12-6pm

Coal Drops Yard, N1C



Coal Drops Yard welcomes a Festival Commission by French designer Marlène Huissoud. ‘Unity’ is a one-off site-specific installation that emphasises the notion of unity and the importance of working together to reconsider our shared environments as we emerge from the pandemic.

Standing two metres apart, in a circle surrounding the installation, visitors use foot pumps to breathe life into the piece, slowly unveiling a new form as the installation grows, transforms, and reveals its potential. If no one is pumping, the installation will deflate. ‘Unity’ has an intention to send a message of optimism: by standing strong and working together, we have the tools and power to create something beautiful.



12-20 September

Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 12-6pm

The Coal Office, N1C



Renowned British Designer Tom Dixon unveils OCTAGON: the brand’s biggest exhibition to date.

Dixon’s Coal Drops Yard HQ The Coal Office will be divided into eight spaces for visitors to immerse themselves in the designer’s universe, accessible both virtually and physically, as events, activations and talks will be broadcast internationally.

Highlights include DISCO: An extraordinary lighting display of GLOBE, BURST chandelier and MELT, with elaborate speakers designed by music venue Spiritland and sound by Swedish synthesizer brand Teenage Engineering; S CHAIR MUSEUM, charting the evolution of Tom’s renowned S Chair which is celebrating its 30-year anniversary; and Coal Drop, a pop-up bar in the Coal Office’s Gallery space, where guests will have the opportunity to enjoy cocktails served in Tom’s latest barware collection, PUCK.

Tom says: “So many ideas! So many new stories, new partnerships and ways of making and also a few old ones that we would like to tell our new friends and partners about. We will launch the OCTAGON at the London Design Festival 2020. We will then compress and reshape it as a piece of small travelling architecture, with eight facets of our hyperactive, constantly evolving brand, that we will travel to a town near you in the very near future (as soon as the authorities allow).”



12-20 September

Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 12-6pm, Wed late night opening ‘til 10pm

118 Lower Stable Street, N1C



STORE STORE is an onsite design school and shop at Coal Drops Yard which helps local state school students get into the creative arts. Participants receive expert tutelage and access to innovative materials and processes to design and manufacture high quality products which are then sold with royalties going to the cause of the students’ choice.

For LDF 2020, STORE STORE will be holding a special launch of the printed edition of their Makers Manual alongside an accompanying exhibition of works created in after-school workshops.

The Makers Manual was conceived in the early days of lockdown as a way to continue the exploration of creativity and learning direct from designers in industry. STORE STORE commissioned 20 designers to create a series of free, downloadable manuals for objects to be made at home. The limited printed edition will include all 20 manuals, as well as a selection of imagery from participants.



Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm

108 Lower Stable Street, N1C



Industrial designer and co-founder of The Misused, Liang-Jung Chen turns Kiosk N1C into a hardware concept store, offering ideas of ‘misusing’ everyday objects and celebrating charm in the mundane.

The Misused project was founded in Taiwan on observations of the local often humorous but intentional misuse of objects observes. It repurposes hardware in a different country each year, each new object employing locally collected items that are not necessarily available elsewhere.

New for LDF2020 is a collection of ten objects using British hardware and made in collaboration with designer Will Laslett exploring alternative contexts for these semi-finished products.

Together with Kiosk N1C, a special edition product will be launched at KXDD, ‘misusing’ the stall clip that can be spotted everywhere in the markets of Coal Drops Yard. A series of events will also take place: a hardware repurposing design workshop with Blackhorse Workshop and a conversation on hardware observation with designer Emile Jones.



16-20 September, varying times

Granary Square, King’s Cross N1C



Planted, the first contemporary design show aimed at reconnecting cities with nature, will make its eagerly anticipated physical debut as part of London Design Festival from 16-20 September at King’s Cross.

Following hot on the heels of its critically acclaimed Planted Unearthed series, named one of Elle Decoration’s hottest virtual cultural design destinations for June, Planted Unplugged will be a light touch one-day talks series live from Granary Square in King’s Cross. Staged around a purpose-built outdoor studio set amongst the trees on Granary Square, the backdrop of the space will be a large-scale living plant wall from Biotecture, furnished with beautiful outdoor pieces from Vestre.

Led by biophilic design expert and television personality Oliver Heath and former Sunday Times journalist Sam Peters, Planted Unplugged will explore three topics: carbon capturing, the right to repair and blooming buildings with some of the leading experts in these fields. Planted Unplugged will be held on Friday 18 September 11am – 4.30pm.

Planted will continue to lead the conversation on how design, sustainability, food and nature can combine to create, cleaner, greener, healthier urban spaces.



Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm

Wolf & Badger, Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross N1C



Seven Days of Independent Design with Wolf & Badger will showcase a number of their sustainable British designers and independent ethical concessions. Highlights in store include: a dried flower bouquet workshop with florist Edie Rose, a stool-making how-to with craftsman Nick Kary, a marvellous marbling workshop with sustainable fashion designer Manimekala, and an insight into the work of James Otter, founder of Otter Surfboards, and his newly launched book: ‘Do Make: The power of your own two hands’.



12-20 September, Mon-Sun 24 hours

Online at



With the doors of Central Saint Martins closed during lockdown, graduating students were challenged like never before. From across the globe, they responded with determination and ingenuity. In this digital show, King’s Cross celebrates their ability to adapt in an uncertain, dislocated world and design new ways of living.


King’s Cross is an integral part of the London’s creative economy. It is home to architectural icons from practices such as Thomas Heatherwick and Alison Brooks, global brands from Nike to Google, and proudly supports some of the world’s most promising young creatives at Central Saint Martins. With this year’s CSM graduate show taking place entirely online, the King’s Cross Design District will be an important platform for some of the hottest ones-to-watch coming into the industry.

King’s Cross originally became a London Design Festival Design Route in 2018, before evolving to a Design District in 2019 and 2020. 

You can visit TFL’s website for the latest guidance on travelling safely around London. For the latest advice on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit the UK GovernmentNational Health Service or World Health Organisation websites.

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