What is London Design Festival?

16 years of promoting London as a capital of creativity

By London Design Festival

Snohetta at Paddington Central Design Route (2018)London Design Festival

London Design Festival was conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans in 2003. Building on London’s existing design activity, their concept was to create an annual event that would promote the city’s creativity, drawing in the country’s greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to a deliver an unmissable celebration of design. The launch of the first festival took place on 25 March 2003.

Liz West at Paddington Central Design Route (2018)London Design Festival

Sir John Sorrell, is chairman and co-founder of London Design Festival:

“Since its launch in 2003, it has been an exciting journey for London Design Festival. Now embedded in the international cultural calendar as the world’s leading design event, the festival has been replicated in more than 100 cities. This is a sign perhaps of the growing global importance of design and creativity to communities, cities and nations everywhere...

LDF co-founder Sir John SorrellLondon Design Festival

...London Design Festival is a unique opportunity to discover what the international design community is thinking and pioneering. For nine days, across the capital, visitors can engage with cutting-edge design ideas and some of the world’s most influential artists, designers and architects. Whatever design discipline you are interested in, London Design Festival will present you with something new and exciting. And where better than London, the design capital of the world, for all this to take place.”
- Sir John Sorrell

Alphabet by Kellenberger-WhiteLondon Design Festival

Landmark Projects

What the LDF calls its Landmark Projects are major installations, first introduced in 2007, which involve commissioning the world's best designers, artists and architects, as well as exciting new talents, to create something extraordinary in response to a variety of stimuli such as a particular material, a theme or a location.

Over the years, projects have appeared in some of London's most prominent and best-loved spaces such as the V&A, Southbank Centre, St Paul's Cathedral, Tate Modern and Trafalgar Square.

MultiPly by Waugh Thistleton ArchitectsLondon Design Festival

...As one of the 2018 Landmark projects, Waugh Thistleton Architects and Arup have collaborated with the American Hardwood Export Council to create MultiPly, an interactive modular maze-like installation in The Sackler Courtyard at the V&A.

The Onion Farm by Henrik VibskovLondon Design Festival

V&A Projects

As the home and central hub of LDF, the V&A museum sits at the heart of festival activity across the city.

It is a unique collaboration with the world’s leading museum of art and design, and London’s foremost contemporary design festival. London Design Festival at the V&A fills the museum each September with an extraordinary range of design installations large and small, intricate, and majestic. This year will see the festival and V&A celebrate ten years together as the official LDF hub.

Everybody Razzle DazzleLondon Design Festival

Seminal projects from the V&A at the 2018 festival:

Dazzle, a collaboration between 14-18Now and Pentagram

The idea of Dazzle, a camouflage painted on to the surface of ships, was pioneered by British artist Norman Wilkinson, who prepared numerous designs for vessels, including US merchant ships, targeted by enemy U-boats. Drawing on avant-garde artistic movements such as Cubism and Vorticism, as well as animal camouflage, these bewildering shapes and angles were designed to confuse the enemy as they struggled to make out the dazzle ships against shifting waves and clouds.

Memory & Light by Arvo and ArupLondon Design Festival

Memory & Light by Arvo Pärt and Arup

Also at the V&A, composer Arvo Pärt and Arup present Memory & Light, curated by Clare Farrow, in the V&A’s Norfolk House Music Room: a unique meeting of music and design, inspired by Arvo Pärt’s words.

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