London Design Festival was created in 2003 by design gurus Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans. Their plan was for an annual event, which would bring together world-class design thinkers
What to see at the London Design Festival
Could London be the design capital of the world? The organisers of London Design Festival certainly think so. For a week each September, the festival celebrates and promotes the UK’s creative industries with instillations, exhibitions and pop-up happenings right across the city.
This year, the London Design Festival runs from 14 to 22 September. With climate change at the centre of national debate, many installations take the environment their theme; making use of sustainable, recycled and reclaimed materials.
History of the London Design Festival
London Design Festival was created in 2003 by design gurus Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans. Their plan was for an annual event, which would bring together world-class design thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to demonstrate London’s wealth of creativity and innovation. Last year’s festival drew almost 600,000 visitors from 75 countries.
Backing the festival is London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. He said: “London Design Festival is a fantastic event which brings together designers from across the globe and demonstrates the capital’s position as a powerhouse for the creative industries. London is known for its creativity and continues to attract the best companies and talent from around the world. I’m delighted to support London Design Festival, which shows that London is open to great ideas, innovation and people from all backgrounds.”
Collaboration with the V&A
For the past 11 years, the V&A museum has been the festival’s key partner, as well as a hub for many events and performances – fitting given the V&A’s status as a world-leading museum of the history of art and design.
This year five artworks will be displayed in the museum during the festival. They include a huge woven bamboo structure by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, which will sit on the pool in the museum’s central garden. Falling Sky, by Matthew Mc Cormick, a Canadian designer working with light, uses aluminium clusters suspended from the ceiling like frost formations. A dramatic piece of work, its aim is to encourage viewers to pause and reflect on the impact of climate change on the planet.
Among hundreds of events look out for:
Each year the festival commissions special landmark projects. This year’s is Please Be Seated by Paul Cocksedge; a vast, bold public space installation at Finsbury Avenue Square, Broadgate. Cocksedge will create huge swirling curves from recycled floorboards and scaffolding planks. You can view, sit on or walk under the piece, which aims to respond to the changing rhythm of community life.
Designer Dan Tobin Smith creates an immersive experience, designed to blur the boundaries of nature and design. Surround yourself with the galaxy-like forms of microscopic particles that make up rare gemstones. You can see it at the Collins Theatre, Islington.
French designer Camille Walala brings her flair to Mayfair’s South Molton Street; creating a series of benches in her trademark bold, geometric designs.
Read more about the festival on its website