London Design Festival

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The 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 programme 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 its own projects and produces a Guide every year, containing information about all activity.

Festival audiences are significant, with an estimated direct audience of over 450,000 people from over 75 countries in 2017.[1]

Over 2,000 international design businesses took part in the 2017 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 ten Design Districts will participate in the Festival - Bankside, Brompton, Clerkenwell, Fitzrovia, Marylebone, Mayfair, Pimlico Road, Regent St & St James's, Shoreditch and West Kensington - offering a programme of events, exhibitions, talks and tours.

The V&A Museum is the official residency and hub of the Festival, with 2018 seeing the celebration of 10 years in partnership together.


'You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well As By Reflection' at the V&A, 2015.

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

In 2017, London Design Festival helped drive a total of 173,250 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. Flynn Talbot’s Reflection Room and Ross Lovegrove’s Transmission installations were particularly popular.

For the nine days of the Festival, visitors to the V&A will explore a range of special displays and installations throughout the museum, complemented by an extensive programme of events, daily tours, and workshops from Global Design Forum, which in 2017 drew 45 speakers from 13 countries, and 2,800 visitors.

Celebrating ten years with the V&A as the official London Design Festival hub, 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 Festival Landmark Projects and Commissioning Programme[edit]

'A Bullet from a Shooting Star' installation at Greenwich Peninsula, 2015.

Since 2007, London Design Festival has been commissioning leading designers and architects to create installations in London’s public spaces during the Festival. Locations for these installations have included Trafalgar Square, the Southbank Centre, the V&A, Somerset House, Covent Garden, St Paul's Cathedral and Greenwich Peninsula.

  • 2007 – "Urban Nebula", Zaha Hadid; "Prototile", Amanda Levete
  • 2008 – "Sclera", David Adjaye; "Portrait," Fredrickson Stallard
  • 2009 – "Supercell", Marc Newson; "Paper Tower", Shigeru Ban; "Tournament", Jaime Hayón
  • 2010 – "Framed", Stuart Haygarth; "Drop", Paul Cocksedge; "Outrace", Kram/Weisshaar; "Blow & Roll", Oskar Zieta; "Vermiculated Ashlar", Max Lamb
  • 2011 – "Perspectives", John Pawson; "Textile Field", Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec; "Two Lines", "David Chipperfield"; "Timber Wave", AL_A
  • 2012 – "BE OPEN Sound Portal", BE OPEN Foundation; "Bench Years", Various Designers; "Prism", Keiichi Matsuda; "Mimicry Chairs", Nendo
  • 2013 – “Endless Stair”, Alex de Rijke
  • 2014 – “A Place Called Home”, Airbnb; “Double Space for BMW – Precision & Poetry in Motion” Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby
  • 2015 – “A Bullet From A Shooting Star”, Alex Chinneck; “You Know You Cannot See Yourself So Well As By Reflection”, Frida Escobedo; “The Ogham Wall”, Grafton Architects & Graphic Relief; “Mise-En-Abyme”, Laetitia De Allegri & Matteo Fogale; “Curiosity Cloud”, Mischer’Traxler; “Zotem”, Kim Thomé; “Works in Wood”, Robin Day Foundation; “The Cloakroom”, Faye Toogood
  • 2016 – "The Smile", Alison Brooks; "Forests", Asif Khan with MINI LIVING; "Foil", Benjamin Hubert, "The Green Room", Glithero; "Beloved", Tabanlioglu; "Liquid Marble", Mathieu Lehanneur
  • 2017 – "Villa Walala", Camille Walala; "Urban Cabin", Sam Jacob Studio with MINI LIVING; "Reflection Room", Flynn Talbot; "Transmission", Ross Lovegrove


Winners of the British Land Celebration of Design 2015.

Each year a Jury composed of established designers, industry commentators and previous winners choose recipients of The British Land Celebration of Design 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:

  • Panerai 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.”[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 include 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 the London Design Festival 2015". London Design Festival. London Design Festival.
  2. ^ Evans, Ben. "British Land Celebration of Design". Archived from the original on 2016-03-17.

External links[edit]