I had the great opportunity of visiting the London Design Festival 2016, and travelled the breadth of London in search of inspiring ideas to take me through to the next year.

One of my trips that I was looking forward to was hitting the urban delight of Shoreditch. If you haven’t been yet, this is how I would describe it. 

Photo via The Decorum Shop

An area that has developed in the last few years into an urban cool place with an explosion of independent shops, bars and restaurants. With artists and designers setting up studios there, with the likes of Rob Ryan and Lee Broom, (the lighting extraordinaire), it has a vibrant feel to it. The whole place feels alive whatever time of day you seem to be there.

I arrived at the tube stop High Street and as soon as I hit the street, I was hit by the cleverly designed Box Park. This opened in 2011 and is a unique set of pop-up spaces that has been designed by using stripped refitted shipping containers. It has its own blog and a website, showing you all the cool places to eat, drink, as well as the retail independent shops that delight as you head further into the high street.

I really loved the pop-up shop Decorum, as had an industrial feel to it, had some really lovely interior pieces I would buy. I especially loved the Concrete clock that was £65.00 available on the website too, decorum-shop.co.uk and I loved the totally on trend Marston round Mirror which was £49.00 and would add style to any wall.

Heading down to Lee Broom’s studio, there was a slight queue to get in, but you weren’t waiting very long and it was well worth the visit. I never thought lighting displayed in such a way would lift your soul so much, but it did. Very clever and gave lots of ideas for using groups of lights to create a bigger impact. The effect of ‘Opticality’ was created by using lots of mirrors, reflections and gave so much light and illusion. 

Feeling quite tired, well I had been walking since 9am and was now 5.30pm, I decided I needed a stop off somewhere to just relax. I ventured onto Old Street into the heart of Shoreditch with a cool sign that said Cocktails 2 for 1. Sounded good to me, as I ventured in I was blown away first of all by the building, then by the interiors, then by the bikes! Yes, I just said BIKES. 

I had ventured into the Bike Shed, a 12’000 square feet, Restaurant, Bar, Cafe, and bike shop covering four renovated railway arches. Completely dedicated to motorbike culture and lifestyle. It has space for 60 bikes to park up while the owners go and chill, be with fellow bikers to have a relaxing time, eat and drink. P.S you don’t need to be a biker to go in there.It started out as a blog in 2011 and had loyal followers, the founder Anthony Dutch Van Someren, or Dutch as everyone calls him, wanted a motorbike club where he could talk about his love of custom motorbikes. It turned into this fab permanent spot in 2015.

This venue has an industrial edge with brickwork and a huge space. The decor is industrial, eclectic and very stylish, just up my street yay! With old beaten up chesterfield sofas dotted about the place and a gallery space for art. It has a relaxed, cool but very inviting feel and I loved being there, can’t wait to go back! 

I had two lovely cocktails and a bowl of olives and sat looking at the stunning custom motorbikes for sale. 

Next stop was a walk down Old Street to capture the Installations, designed by Asif Khan. The idea was to create ways to introduce intercity functional urban spaces. Offering visitors a chance to relax, be inspired. As part of London Design week, 3 installations were created offering different experiences to visitors. 

One would allow people to feel relaxed, interact and connect surrounded by plants. Another would create a peaceful area to inspire visitors to write, work, draw. The last one, the smallest, would be an elevated green room secluded from the outside and offer a peaceful place to gather one’s thoughts.

I loved all of them, but especially loved the elevated room, where on such a busy hectic street outside on a Friday night, was just heavenly and I am sure that wasn’t the cocktails I just had! 

Last stop was the Amathus store, a shop with the biggest collection of whisky, beer, artisan gins, wine, basically anything alcoholic! I love Jameson’s Redbreast Whiskey and they had all of the collection in stock. They also had every whisky my hubby would want me to buy, they gave great recommendations of whisky I hadn’t tried based on what I had said I already liked. Also, there was a huge selection of artisan gins and I had the pleasure of meeting Oscar Dodd from Bimber Distillery in London, who gave me a few tasters of their gin and vodka. I fell in love with the award winning oak aged vodka, definitely one to try. I finished off my evening by having a miniature of Halland’s Flader, a Swedish elderflower liqueur recommended by one of the staff which was a perfect end to a lovely time in Shoreditch. After purchasing a few beers for my hubby, I ventured back to my hotel.

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