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Sophie Cain

Sophie Cain is Design Curator of Coin Street.



The clocks have gone back and the weather is getting gloomier which means that Christmas is around the corner. At the time of year when traditions are sacred and it’s all about friends and family coming together, what will the festive season look like in 2020, the year of uncertainty?

During lockdown we all got a little more familiar with our local area, high streets and the people running the businesses and services that kept us going at the height of the pandemic. Now, on the run up to Christmas where the temptation to sit at home and tick off your gift list with a few clicks and unsettlingly quick delivery might be lurking, let’s remember those small businesses and independent retailers fighting for survival.

On the Coin Street site this means finding special treats and treasures lovingly made by our community of designer-makers and small businesses based at Oxo Tower Wharf and Gabriel’s Wharf. If a wintery walk along the South Bank is one your festive traditions, add in some visits to these independent shops to warm up and find the perfect gift for a loved one.

For more shopping from talented independents, The Garden Museum in Lambeth is bringing together a carefully curated selection of designers, artists and makers for the Beautiful and Useful Craft Fair on 4-6 December.

To discover more design brands, you can experience Decorex entirely online this year (for the first time in the show’s 42-year history) from 17-19 November. As well as an extensive range of hand-picked designers, there will be an engaging programme of talks including ‘Sustainable Sourcing for Interior Designers: Cutting Through the Greenwash’ and ‘Encouraging Diversity in Design’.

Open now until 28 March 2021, this year’s Beazley’s Design of the Year at the Design Museum showcases the best moments in design from January 2019 to the moment global attention shifted to COVID-19 in late January 2020. This year’s curator Emily King describes the show as ‘a vital chance to recap where we were when the virus took hold’. From technology for health and sanitisation to projects tackling inequality and racism, the exhibition offers the chance to reminisce on 2019 and the world as we knew it, through its key design moments.

Highlights of this month’s calendar of webinars and online talks includes the ‘Recycled Architecture’ series from environmental management company Bee’ah with Ammar Kalo on Turning Waste into Design on 4 Nov. Asif Khan and Hara Kenya will be in conversation on 6 Nov to discuss Khan’s contribution to Kenya’s playful and prestigious Architecture for Dogs project which is currently on show at Japan House.

The last recommendation comes in the form of The Festival of Place, which takes place online from 2-13 November with inspiring talks and dynamic workshops for city-shapers, placemakers, planners, developers, architects and investors. Speakers include Cat Drew, Chief Design Officer at Design Council and Sir David Chipperfield and many more.



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