From the sculpture of a head dominating a pier to a live demonstration of drones building houses to a celestial furniture collection, London is calling in very creative ways. Next week, the entire city becomes the center of the design universe. Running September 15 to 23, the 16th edition of the London Design Festival has even more programming than last year, which drew a record 450,000 visitors from over 75 countries. Yes, there are endless furniture designs, lighting, and objects to lust after, but much of the excitement surrounds the who—big-deal designers in relaxed, conversational settings—and the what—killer installations, exhibitions, and concepts that push convention out of the way.
From the big players like Decorex, 100% Design, London Design Fair, the London Design Biennale, and Designjunction to dozens of scattered venues around the city, you’d be hard pressed not to find something inspiring over the next 10 days, but we’re here to help anyway. Here are eight highlights you shouldn’t miss—the last one is reserved for that transcendental moment when you actually get to sit down.