What’s on in February: the best art events, textiles shows and design exhibitions happening in London this month

1. Surface Design Show

Feb 11-13, Business Design Centre, Upper St, N1. 

Now in its 15th year, this show is mainly for professionals, such as architects and interior designers, but our readers also get free entry — just show this paper in print or on a screen.

Notable among the 180 exhibitors is Lignosi with its eco-sound panels, £189.99 each, and Paula Nerlich with vegan compostable bioplastics and foams from industrial and household food waste.

The opening night debate is hosted by RIBA Journal executive editor Eleanor Young from 6:30-7:30pm.

Architect Chris Dyson will steer the Pecha Kucha on Feb 12, 6:30-8pm, themed “Close to Home…Locally Sourced”.

2. The Stitch Festival

Feb 27-March 1, Business Design Centre, Upper Street, N1 (thestitchfestival.co.uk).

Tickets: £15 in advance, £18 on the door.

Reader offer: two for one when you show this paper or on a screen.


For lovers of textile crafts this is a new version of the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show.

Browse 200 stands selling new and old ideas for knitting, crochet, embroidery, dressmaking, patchwork and more.

3. Tectonics

Feb 26-April 9, The Old Boathouse, 1 White Hart Lane, SW13 (sarahmyerscough.com; closed Sundays and Mondays).


Respected London curator Sarah Myerscough has a reputation for melding craft, art and design.

She set up her own gallery in 1998, moving it to a renovated boathouse in Barnes last summer.

Her new show is shaped by rock, clay and salt, the materials of its six international artists.

Roxane Lahidji makes tables using salt to mimic marble, while vessels by ceramicist Fernando Casasempere express the landscape from which their clay is sourced.

4. Out of the Blue: Fifty Years of Designers Guild

Feb 14-June 14, Fashion and Textile Museum, SE1.

Tickets: £9.90


Tricia Guild OBE has been shaping London interiors for 50 years, and here is a show to celebrate.

Guild sold “lifestyle” before we ever had that word, through her collections — at least two a year — or her numerous books, with a new one accompanying this show.

Here are the secrets of her patterns, paints, textures and art, told through drawings, archives, materials and interiors. 

The title is apt: “I design intuitively,” she once said, “but blue is always somewhere in my home.”

Meet Tricia Guild on show opening day at 1pm, tickets £12, or £42 including the book.

5. Filthy Lucre: Whistler’s Peacock Room Reimagined

Until May 3, Porter Gallery, V&A, SW7 (vam.ac.uk)​.

Tickets: admission free


When the artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler painted peacocks over a room in 1876-77 in Princes Gate, SW7, the rich client was horrified.

He had simply commissioned a touch-up to some ancient Spanish painted panels.

“I just painted on — forgot everything in my joy of it,” Whistler said, adding later: “My work will live when you are forgotten.” 

Now the room is owned by the Freer Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington DC but this V&A extravaganza is a startling new version of the Peacock Room by American artist Darren Waterston, expressing “the tension between art and money, ego and patronage”.

Its magnificence is in dramatic decay with stalactites, barnacles, moss, broken vessels and puddles of gold, accompanied by mournful music and muffled voices.

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