5 design events, fairs and festivals to visit in 2024


Whether it’s inspiration for a new interiors project or just a trip to inspire your design soul, these are the design events to catch in 2024

written by Owen O’Leary

As spring brings an air of possibility into our homes, it’s time to embrace opportunities to refresh spaces and explore new ideas.

The best way to do this is by visiting the many design fairs and festivals showcasing new designs, materials and approaches. Whether it’s the inspiration for a new interiors project or just a trip to inspire your design soul, these are the events to catch in 2024.

Salone del Mobile Milano one of the biggest design events in the calendar
Pedrali Back to Nature at Salone del Mobile Milano 2023. Photo by Ruggero Scardigno

Salone del Mobile Milano & Milan Design Week, Milan

When: 16-21 April

Where: Fiera Milano Rho (Salone) & citywide

One of the biggest design events on the international calendar, the Milan Furniture Fair is the world’s largest furniture fair.

Over 1900 exhibitors welcome 300,000 visitors from 180 countries. Held in the Fiera Milano Rho, Salone has become more than just a trade fair as related events pop up across the city known as the Furiosalone.

These include ALCOVA, the design research led showcase that transforms historic city spaces into a platform for a selection of forward thinking designers shaping the future of design today.

Districts across the city host their own programmes of events with leading Italian design brands taking the opportunity to turn their flagship stores into immersive experiences.

At the main fair, the dedicated kitchens showcase EuroCucina returns and as part of a special series of commissions, acclaimed filmmaker David Lynch has created two ‘Thinking Rooms’.

Imagined as the threshold to an immersive, meditative realm, these spaces are conceived as symbolic doors that must be entered in order to truly experience the Fair. The opportunity to see so much design, in dedicated installations as well as an exhibition context, makes a trip to Milan for Salone hugely rewarding.

Discover new trends, be inspired by innovative materials and technology and see the finest designers in the world experiment and play with design.

Book tickets at salonemilano.it

Clerkenwell Design Week, one of the biggest design events in London
Curiousa Lighting Design at Light, Clerkenwell Design Week. Image by Sam Frost

Clerkenwell Design Week

When: 21-23 May

Where: Various exhibition spaces 

Now in its 15th year, this festival of design in North London’s Clerkenwell District hosts over 600 events and 300 exhibitors in a neighbourhood home to 160 design and furniture showrooms. Site-specific installations, workshops and a talks programme bring the district to life.

Venues dedicated to everything from lighting, international contemporary furniture, luxury interiors, emerging design talent, are joined by three new spaces for 2024. Contract and Work on Clerkenwell Green and a pop-up space at The Goldsmiths’ Centre are both showcasing the latest designs for commercial and workplace interiors.

The Edit in Bourne and Hollingsworth will feature some of the world’s leading contemporary design brands. Head to Clerkenwell Green to see acclaimed brands including Geberit, Albion Stone, Texaa, Material Bank, Universal Fibers and Bert Frank.

Other highlights include Paxton Locher House hosting a selection of Danish design brands, Brewhouse Yard showcasing the best of Ukrainian design, and the crypt of St James’ Church hosting the British Collection, including the Tom Dixon furnished Vestry.

To book, head to clerkenwelldesignweek.com

3 Days of Design, one of the biggest design events in Copenhagen
Michael Anastassiades x Anker & Co. and Dansk Møbelkunst at 3 Days of Design Copenhagen. Photo by Kristian Hjalmar Pedersen

3 Days of Design Copenhagen

When: 12-14 June

Where: Citywide

Any excuse to head north for summer should be jumped at and the experience of seeing Nordic design in the Danish capital is a treat for the senses.

See new takes on classic designs in showrooms around the city by leading brands including Carl Hansen & Son, Ferm Living and HAY, as well as design experiments in pop-up venues.

Part of the reward for exploring the city is finding installations in iconic neoclassical apartments, harbourfront warehouses or historic locations. Of course, big brand showrooms, museums and design centres (including The Danish Design Museum) are must-sees, but the beauty of exploring Copenhagen during 3 Days of Design is the discovery of unexpected surprises across the city.

This year’s theme Dare to Dream celebrates designers’ imagination and curiosity as boundaries are pushed to their limits.

With over 250 brands exhibiting at the festival and more than 500 events expected this year, it’s wise to follow the locals and get on your bike.

Book here 3daysofdesign.dk

“Spirit of Place” by Simone Brewster with Amorim at London Design Festival 2023. Photo by Ed Reeve

London Design Festival 

When: 14 – 22 September

Where: Citywide

Spread across 13 Design Districts, London Design Festival is as much a celebration of the city’s thriving design industry as a festival of events.

Large-scale public design commissions animate the city as each District hosts pop-up exhibitions, product launches, talks and events. Start at the festival’s longest running district Brompton Design District; check out a curated programme of temporary exhibitions alongside new product launches from international luxury interior design brands, before exploring the latest exhibitions at the V&A.

Visit East London’s buzzing design talent at Shoreditch Design Triangle. Must-sees include Vitra’s Tramshed Showroom, SCP’s showroom on Curtain Road and TOAST’s showcase of Maker collaborations.

For material innovation you can’t beat Material Matters (based on the excellent podcast of the same name) in the Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf, curated by Grant Gibson. Five floors are filled with products, site-specific installations, a marketplace, a learning area and an extensive talks programme.

Material Matters highlights the importance of materials intelligence and investigates how the design industry can address issues around the circular economy.

Find out more at londondesignfestival.com

The Future of Home by Local Heroes. Photo by Reuben Paris

Dundee Design Festival

When: 23-29 September

Where: Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc

Closer to home, Dundee Design Festival returns celebrating the city’s 10th anniversary as the UK’s only UNESCO City of Design.

The DDF has been curated by Dr Stacey Hunter, whose Local Heroes design exhibitions have championed Scotland-based design talent since 2016.

This year’s ambitious programme will take over 10,000 sq metres of space at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc hosting a week of exhibitions, activities and immersive installations.

The former factory will be home to work by over 100 designers, each celebrating local, national and international design prowess. Showcasing the diversity of design, the festival will recognise the multiplicity of ways that designers and makers contribute to our world.

Powered by clean and renewable energy, the festival’s ambition is to be one of the world’s most sustainable design events — not only in its staging but by sharing new ideas and innovations in sustainability from designers working in Scotland and beyond.

Highlights include Hyper-Local: Objects from the UNESCO Design Cities Network, showing international design objects deeply connected to the places they are from.

Book tickets at dundeedesignfestival.com



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