The countdown begins for the London Design Festival, the week from 14 to 22 September that brings designers, creative professionals, artists, architects, entrepreneurs, investors, gurus and design lovers from all over the world to the city.
The festival invented in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans reaches its 17th edition and promises to beat last year’s record turnout of 588,000 visitors from over 75 countries.
“London has the biggest international creative economy, and design is a part of that,” says Ben Evans, director of the Festival.
“London Design Festival pays homage to design excellence in the city, in a moment in which demonstrating creativity is more important than ever.” The main features are all there, including 100% Design, designjunction, Focus/19 and London Design Fair and Design Destinations, places to discover highly acclaimed exhibitors and promising talents.
The 10 Design Districts scattered around the city are the same, with the exception of a new destination, the King’s Cross Design District, and Paddington Central as a new Design Route.
Many projects will enliven the streets and encourage people to play, experiment and explore. The festival celebrates its collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum, a bond that has continued for 11 years, with a program in which the spaces of the museum host original installations and initiatives.
One of them is Legacy, an ambitious project for which Sir John Sorrell, president of the Festival, has involved the leaders of London-based cultural institutions, who collaborate with designers to create a ‘Legacy’ piece of design, an object of personal or professional relevance to pass on to a member of the family or to the institutes in which they work. The pieces will be made in American red oak, a sustainable type of wood that is widespread in American forests.
Among those involved: Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A, who will work with Jasper Morrison, while Yana Peel, CEO of Serpentine Galleries, will be with Ed Barber and Jay Osgerby. Also at the V&A, Affinity in Autonomy is a project by Sony Design on artificial intelligence and robotics, and their increasing interaction with human creativity. Among the landmark projects, Please be seated at Finsbury Avenue Square, coordinated by the English designer Paul Cocksedge, makes use of wood to create seats and backs for relaxation in the financial district of Broadgate.
The City welcomes Camille Walala with the Walala Project, urban furniture in the designer’s inimitable and colorful style, to furnish streets as bright urban salons – on view at South Molton Street, in the West End. Finally, don’t miss Void by Dan Tobin Smith, and the Experience Machine, a multisensory happening at the Collins Theatre of Islington.