With its incredible buzz and countless cultural hotspots, London has established itself as a kind of heaven for culture seekers around the world.
We've picked out five design destinations that prove there’s so much more to Londonthan historic palaces and royal parks:
1. Design Museum
London is renowned for its world-class museums, including the Design Museum. Located in the former Commonwealth Institute, this unique destination is dedicated to contemporary design in every form and it’s worth visiting for the John Pawson-designed interiors alone.
The minimalist designer transformed the grade II-listed building to make way for a permanent gallery, two galleries for temporary exhibitions, a restaurant, library, archive, shop, studios for its residency programme and an auditorium. Beautifully engineered woodwork and concealed lighting link everything to the museum’s vast atrium, where stepped seating encourages visitors to linger.
The Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High Street, Kensington, London, designmuseum.org
2. Sans Pere
Set in the heart of Shoreditch, this one-of-a-kind lifestyle destination combines a restaurant, in-house patisserie kitchen, speciality coffee and tea bar, homewares store, architectural studio and real estate agent. The open-plan space was designed by London-based Atelier Baulier to make guests feel at home, with a palette of muted greens and greys that wouldn’t look out of place in a Wes Anderson film.
Drop in for freshly baked pastries by Alain Ducasse alum Jordan Duclaut with coffee brewed from Cornwall’s Origin Coffee Roasters. You might find yourself sticking around to plan and design your dream home.
Sans Pere, 84 Great Eastern St, London, sanspere.com
3. The Mandrake
Given it shares its name with a plant known for its hallucinogenic properties, one should expect nothing short of a theatrical sensory overload at this boutique hotel. Lavish hedonism comes to mind when walking through the property, where 30 rooms and suites—draped in sumptuous fabrics and filled with an eclectic collection of art and design pieces—rise from a lush central courtyard.
The restaurant is none other than Hong Kong’s Serge et le Phoque, winning Londoners and visitors over with its seasonal, modern French fare and—of course—the dacquoise dessert. The hotel, in Fitzrovia, has already hosted new Vogue editor Edward Enninful’s London Fashion Week party, so expect a see-and-be-seen crowd.
The Mandrake, 20-21 Newman St, Fitzrovia, London, themandrake.com
Located in the Mondrian London hotel, Dandelyan was officially crowned the World’s Best Cocktail Bar at the 2017 Spirited Awards, but Londoners and frequent visitors have long known of the multi-award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana, also known as Mr Lyan.
Complementing Mr Lyan’s creative tipples are art deco-inspired interiors by Tom Dixon, who also designed the rest of the hotel. Pink banquettes and velour armchairs unexpectedly work alongside the centrepiece—a bar cut from one piece of dark-green marble and embellished with gold and brass accents.
If you find the colour palette to be a bit over the top and you’d rather focus on the drinks, head to Dandelyan’s newer sister bar, Super Lyan, in Hoxton.
Dandelyan, 20 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PD; mrlyan.com
5. The New Craftsmen
The term “best of British” has been bandied about so much that it’s lost its intended meaning, but if there were ever a design gallery that was worthy of that designation, it would be The New Craftsmen.
The Mayfair gallery curates and sells unique objects that are rooted in craftsmanship—a range that is sourced from a network of over 100 artisans across the UK. They include ceramicists, carpenters and furniture makers, lighting designers, glassblowers, textile designers, basket makers and jewellers, all with a story to tell.
The New Craftsmen, 34 North Row, Mayfair, London, thenewcraftsmen.com