London Design Festival

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London Design Festival (LDF) is a citywide design event that takes place over nine days every September. Conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans CBE in 2003, the concept was to create an annual event to promote the city's creativity, drawing in the country's thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to a deliver a diverse celebration of design.


London Design Festival's vision is to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world. The Festival is made up of over 400 events and exhibitions staged by over 300 partner organisations across the design spectrum and from around the world. The Festival also commissions and curates its own programme of Landmark Projects, Projects at the V&A, and Special Commissions throughout the city. The 18th edition of the Festival will take place from 12 to 20 September 2020.

Festival audiences are significant, with an estimated direct audience of over 600,000 people from over 75 countries in 2019.[1] An additional passer-by audience of over 1 million people had the opportunity to see the Landmark and Festival Commissioned Projects.

Over 2,000 international design businesses took part in the 2019 London Design Festival including exhibitors at the Design Destinations: 100% Design, Decorex International, designjunction, Focus, and London Design Fair (previously known as Tent London).

In 2019, eleven Design Districts participated in the Festival and a Design Route - Bankside, Brompton, Chelsea, Clerkenwell, King's Cross, Marylebone, Mayfair, Paddington Central, Pimlico Road, Shoreditch, Victoria and West Kensington - offering a programme of events, exhibitions, talks, workshop and tours.

The V&A Museum is the official residency and hub of the Festival, with 2020 seeing the celebration of 12 years in partnership together.


'MultiPly", Waugh Thistleton Architects at the V&A, 2018

Since 2009 the Victoria and Albert Museum has acted as the central hub location for the London Design Festival.

In 2019, London Design Festival helped drive a total of 120,000 visits to the V&A over the Festival period with 22% of those surveyed saying they had never visited the Museum before and were driven there by the Festival.

For the nine days of the Festival, visitors to the V&A each year explore a range of special displays and installations throughout the museum, complemented by an extensive programme of events, talks, keynotes, daily tours, and workshops. In 2019 Global Design Forum drew 50 speakers from 18 countries, and 2,800 visitors.

Celebrating twelve years with the V&A as the official London Design Festival hub in 2020, this unique collaboration sees iconic spaces within the Museum transformed each year by an extraordinary collection of specially-commissioned installations and displays by international contemporary designers.


London Design Medal Winners 2018: Hussein Chalayan, Eva Jiricna and Grace Wales Bonner pictured with London Design Festival Co-Founders Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans. Not pictured is Neri Oxman.

Each year a Jury composed of established designers, industry commentators and previous winners choose recipients of The London Design Medals across four categories. Winners are chosen from a wide range of design disciplines and awards for their exceptional contribution to their field.

The London Design Medal categories include:

  • London Design Medal
  • Design Innovation Medal
  • Emerging Talent Medal
  • Lifetime Achievement Medal

“While there are no shortage of design awards, we wanted to do it differently.” says Festival Director Ben Evans CBE. “So we took the Nobel Prize route – there’s no shortlist, just a winner. So that means there’s no losers either.”[2]

The London Design Medal is designed each year by jewellery designer Hannah Martin. The Medals feature a London bird, the Cockney Sparrow, in flight.

Previous winners are Dame Vivienne Westwood, Tom Dixon, Daniel Charny, Ross Atkin, Neri Oxman, Hussein Chalayan, Grace Wales Bonner, Eva Jiricna, Es Devlin, Paul Priestman, Margaret Calvert, Julian Melchiorri, Sir David Adjaye, Kenneth Grange, Bethan Laura Wood, Daan Roosegaard, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Marjan Van Aubel, Peter Brewin and Will Crawford, the Bourellec brothers, Nicolas Roope, Roland Lamb, Lord Richard Rogers, Daniel Rybakken, Dieter Rams, David Constantine, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, Rosario Hurtado and Roberto Feo, Vidal Sassoon, Sir Ken Adam, Peter Saville, Marc Newson, Sir Paul Smith, Dame Zaha Hadid, Thomas Heatherwick, Sir Terence Conran, and Ron Arad.


  1. ^ "Facts and Figures from London Design Festival". London Design Festival. London Design Festival.
  2. ^ Evans, Ben. "British Land Celebration of Design". Archived from the original on 2016-03-17.

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