18-26 September All Over London
In its eighth year, The London Design Festival is a nine-day celebration of design in the world’s creative capital, London! The Festival is a platform for the widest spectrum of design disciplines, brought together as a unique and accessible programme. It is an internationally renowned annual festival opening this Saturday, 18th running through the 26 September. Last year was a big one: over 200 commissioned installations and exhibitions, more than 150 launches, private views and parties…Confirming our position as a creative capital to be envied Mayor of London, Boris Johnson stated: “The London Design Festival offers an outstanding showcase of some of most exciting design anywhere in the world. Amidst international competition and as we move out of the downturn, it is imperative we continue to support design and celebrate its importance to our city.”
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in design, and the London Design Festival is hosting several new digital design studios. Trafalgar Square will be transformed by Outrace (above), an interactive installation by the award-winning duo Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram. The pair has created software that will allow visitors to send SMS text messages to the mechanical tentacles of six industrial robotic arms borrowed from the production line of the car-maker (and installation sponsor) Audi. The synchronised robots will then write the messages in light traces that will be recorded using specialist high-definition video equipment and published online. Until September 26.
The London Design Festival celebrates the vast creativity of London for a wide audience to appreciate. At this year’s festival in September Design Bridge will express the vicinity of Clerkenwell through the senses, creating a sense trail of the area: our ‘Feelosophy’. Everyone at Design Bridge has been tasked with collecting ‘Feeled notes’ in a Moleskin booklet, contributing to the final installation.
The diversity of world-class design talent in – and attracted to – London is one of the key strengths of the city over other global design centres; the London Design Festival brings this talent to the fore every year to connect with others, explore issues, do business, exchange ideas, and have fun.
The Festival is both a cultural and a commercial event. The programme ranges from major international exhibitions to trade events, installations to talks and seminars, from product launches to receptions, private views and parties. The majority of events are free of charge – enabling visitors to participate, listen, learn, commission and make purchases.The Festival is funded through a combination of public and private sources. The London Development Agency has provided grant funding for the Festival since it was first staged. The London Design Festival Ltd is also an Arts Council ‘regularly funded organisation’. Private funding (approx 60%) is raised through sponsorship of Festival projects alongside a small range of London Design Festival products and services delivered throughout the year. Festival audiences are significant, with an estimated 300,000 direct visitors to events listed as part of the Festival in 2009. Visitors tend to be from four broad groups: consumers / public, design professionals, students and overseas visitors (with official visits from 22 countries recorded last year. The Festival also attracts substantial press coverage, with 918 separate pieces in the UK press alone, valued at over £2.7m.
Visit the LDF
The London Design Festival is made up of programme of over 200 events, taking place 18-26 September 2010. There is a broad range of activities on offer, most of which are free to enter. The London Design Festival Guide is available at all Festival venues. Download a PDF of The Guide.
Before planning your visit check individual event details on the event listing section of the website. Not all exhibitions run for the duration of the Festival, and some events require booking. The My Festival tool helps you plan your Festival experience by tagging events you’re interested in attending.
A number of destinations in the city have a large number of Festival events taking place in relatively small areas. These Festival hubs are often good places to head, enabling you to take in the atmosphere of the Festival and to sample a wide-range of activity in one place, such as the Brompton Design District or Shoreditch. You can search by hubs in the event section of the website.
Frequently asked questions
What is the London Design Festival?
The London Design Festival is a citywide celebration of design that takes place over nine days. The next Festival takes place 18-26 September 2010.
Where is the London Design Festival?
Festival events are staged in up to 150 different venues across the city. Check individual event listings for details. The Festival’s hub is at the V&A Museum, Which provides a good starting point from which to explore the Festival.
Where can I get a ticket for a Festival event?
Most Festival events are free to enter. Ticketed events are managed by host / organising venues. Check listing and contact details for each event you’re interested in.
Where are the Festival events I’m interested in?
The Festival website has complete details of all events taking place. Use the search function and tag clouds to identify particular events and activities.
How can I take part in the London Design Festival?
The Festival is inclusive, and is made up of events and activities staged by a range of organisations, or partners. If you’re interested in putting on an event, click here for further information.
The Tramshed: Tucked just off Old Street, this former power station has been converted into a showroom for some 25 designers, and also host a series of debates and even a pop-up restaurant. The organisers are positing it as the “premier destination” for LDF.
‘Drop’ by Paul Cocksedge: This sculpture beside Southbank Centre is conceived as “an outsize coin
Which has fallen to Earth from a giant’s palm”. The coin has been magnetised, and passers-by are encouraged to attach their own pennies to it, with each penny added turned into a charity-bound pound by Barnardo’s at the end of the festival.
Hel Yes! Punny title aside, this is a pop-up restaurant and exhibition inspired by all things Finnish. Housed in a dilapidated warehouse just off the Regent’s Canal, it brings together a smörgåsbord (isn’t that Swedish? Eds.) Have Finn design and cuisine.
Skyroom: A temporary structure on the roof of the Architecture Foundation. There are some talks scheduled, which might be a little dry for the uninitiated, but it’ll be worth visiting for the views.
Framed, by Stuart Haygarth: As you’d expect, the V&A is hosting plenty of events, amongst them this installation which uses cut-off pieces of picture frames to redecorate the gallery’s main marble staircase.
London Design Festival, 18th – 26th September, various venues. And don’t forget the Anti Design Festival, which runs concurrently