Design here, there and everywhere, the official slogan of this year's London Design Festival, is perhaps an apt way of describing the nature of the event which has been running for eleven years. For the next week the capital is overrun by designers and their creations, with stores and museums hosting special exhibitions, talks debates and workshops aimed at celebrating the profession's wide variety and engaging the public with an industry that often appears shrouded in mystery and minimalism.

With so much happening across the city it can be difficult, especially if this is to be your first time at the design festival, to know where to start. Fortunately, we've rustled together this little preview to show you some of the wonders on offer and hopefully help make things that tiny bit easier to navigate.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The V&A, which celebrates its fifth year as the London Design Festival's hub, is probably the best place to start. The world famous museum is host to number of Design Festival events and installations. These installations are key among the festival's publicity, and one of the V&A's major pieces this year is pretty hard to miss. Over the next week visitors to the museum (who use the main entrance off Cromwell Road) will be greeted by 28.280, a lighting sculpture created by Omer Arbel that reaches down 30 metres through the museum, crossing 6 levels. Long copper wires, decorated with individual lightbulbs twist, and in the main lobby, stretch out in all directions.

The other major installation at the V&A, God is in the Details, runs across the entire museum. For this piece 14 designers have been set a challenge on the theme of detail, they have each selected a piece within the museum and using specially made Swarovski lenses encourage us to view the art and design on display in a new way. This could be highlighting the texture of an artist's brushstroke, accentuating the detailed engraving on a teapot, or making us a part of the museum's collection.

Aside from the installations, the V&A are also playing host to a wide variety of talks. These are centred on a different theme each day. Monday 16th is future, Tuesday is materials, Wednesday is all about manufacturing. London itself is the focus of Thursday's talks, nature is the subject on Friday and the final weekend is devoted to digital design. There are also Moleskine Sketch Relays – if you've no idea what that is, then I suggest you head to the V&A and find out in person – and workshops aimed at giving visitors a chance to be taught a new skill, such as watch-making or typography, by a leading practitioner.

Endless Stairs

Over at the Tate Modern, you'll find this year's Landmark Project - an MC Escher style optical illusion that somehow exists in the real world. It's something to behold. This series of interlocking stairs offer people multiple routes through the installation and a couple of dead ends. The illusion is enhanced by the overlapping wooden slats that form the handrails of the walk-ways and resemble staircases themselves, albeit ones that would require the walker to defy gravity. Like the best parts of London Design Festival, this year and past, it's an installation that demands interaction from the public and for which they are rewarded, in this instance, with a new view of London from the Thames.

Design Districts

So you've explored the V&A, checked out the Endless Stairs, what's next? Well, although the festival encompasses the whole of London, the organisers have handily divided some of the key areas into what they term 'Design Districts'. There are five in total – Brompton Design District, Chelsea Design Quarter, Clerkenwell Design Quarter, Fitzrovia Now and Shoreditch Design Triangle. Each has its own unique character and sees local design stores and galleries throwing open their doors and hosting unique events.

Over in Brompton temporary exhibitions are to take place in vacant properties alongside product launches, whilst in neighbouring Chelsea internationally recognised interior designs offer a glimpse within their walls. Fitrovia Now focuses on local retailers and trade showrooms. Clerkenwell and Shoreditch offer even more variety with the former offering up fantastic furniture and lighting events and the latter showcasing the best local retailers, studios and galleries in pop-up events. Both events also include collaborations with the food scene, to show that design is capable of satisfying all senses.

Each district opens later this week and most are holding special launch nights bringing together the local design community and the general public.

The Wider Festival

Of course, as this year's slogan suggests, there are all manner of things to discover around London. Aside from the larger exhibitions and trade shows like Tent London, designjunction and 100% Design there are pop-up restaurants, product launches, sculptures and hundreds of other fascinating things. Tall red sign-posts have been dotted around the city to identify places hosting London Design Festival events and at each festival location you'll find friendly, informative volunteers who'll provide you with maps and advice to make the most of the time you've got – whether that's a few hours, a few days or an entire week.

If I can offer just one piece of advice, it is to go out, explore the city and maybe even get a little lost, because design is here, there and everywhere.

London Design Festival runs from the 14th to 22nd September. Full information along with a calendar of events can be found at londondesignfestival.com.

See also: Flickr of the Day: Mário Macedo