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The Debrief: London Design Festival 2023

An organically grown plant-based textile / Source: Anett Papp

Jessica Mairs & Yasmin Ahmed

As London Design Festival wraps for another year, we take stock of the new materials and design thinking pushing back against the plastic-centric status quo. 

A heartening shift away from the use of virgin materials emerged across the eight-day festival, while a concerted effort to embrace circular design and a host of next-gen materials spotlighted the changing sentiment of the industry. 

We scoured exhibition halls and pop-ups across the capital, from Material Matters and London Design Fair, to the V&A and Atelier100, talking to the most innovative change-makers and visionaries of the future, not to mention our very own Time is Running Out installation at 100 Shoreditch, which gets to grips with what it’s really like to design with bio-materials. 

The Circular Design Series talks at the V&A encapsulated the ethos that permeated this year's festival. Introducing a mini-lecture on circular production, Darren West, the lead for SAP's Circular Economy solutions, said: "I see design as an enabler for systems change."

Discover five key trends from the event below, with spotlights on makers and materials illuminating a path towards a more sustainable, conscientious design landscape.


We’ve selected the world’s most INNOVATIVE makers of plastic free materials to work with us. Connect with global brands and designers to CREATE WHAT’S NEXT.