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 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 17th edition of the Festival will take place from 14-22 September 2019.
Festival audiences are significant, with an estimated direct audience of over 580,000 people from over 75 countries in 2018. An additional passer-by audience of nearly 1 million people had the opportunity to see the five Landmark Projects.
Over 2,000 international design businesses took part in the 2018 London Design Festival including exhibitors at five Design Destinations: 100% Design, Decorex International, designjunction, Focus/18, and London Design Fair (previously known as Tent London).
In 2018, eleven Design Districts participated in the Festival - Bankside, Brompton, Clerkenwell, Fitzrovia, Marylebone, Mayfair, Pimlico Road, Regent St & St James's, Shoreditch, Victoria and West Kensington - offering a programme of events, exhibitions, talks, workshop and tours. Four Design Routes also joined including Brixton, Kings Cross, Mare Street and Paddington Central.
The V&A Museum is the official residency and hub of the Festival, with 2018 seeing the celebration of 10 years in partnership together.
Since 2009 the Victoria and Albert Museum has acted as the central hub location for the London Design Festival.
In 2018, London Design Festival helped drive a total of 161,250 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 2018 Global Design Forum drew 50 speakers from 13 countries, and 2,800 visitors.
Celebrating eleven years with the V&A as the official London Design Festival hub in 2019, 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. Past examples include Slave/Master in 2017, a contemporary ballet ‘pas de deux’ between two KUKA Robotics industrial robots and human dancers, choreographed by Rose Alice Larkings, the centrepiece of an installation highlighting the relationship between man and robots.
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: not just a big dinner that everyone has to buy tables for,” says Festival Director Ben Evans. “So we took the Nobel Prize route – there’s no shortlist, just a winner. So that means there’s no losers either.”
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 Neri Oxman, Hussein Chalayan, Grace Wales Bonner, Eva Jiricna, Es Devlin, Paul Priestman, Margaret Calvert, Julian Melchiorri, Sir David Adjaye, Sir 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.