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What is the London Design Festival?

The London Design Festival was conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans. Their concept for the festival was to create an annual event that would promote London’s creativity, drawing in the country’s greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to deliver an unmissable celebration of design.

The first London Design Festival took place at Bloomberg on 25th march 2003. The festival received a huge show of support from design, education, government and London organisations and each year since then, every form of pioneering design has been celebrated. The festival programme is made up of over 350 events and exhibitions, staged by hundreds of partner organisations across the design spectrum and from around the world.

A major feature of the London Design Festival each year is the programme of installations known as the ‘Landmark Projects’. This programme was first introduced in 2007 where the world’s best designers and architects, as well as new talents, are commissioned to create something extraordinary using a variety of stimuli such as a particular material, a theme or a location.

These installations have appeared in some of London’s best-loved open spaces including the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Southbank Centre, Tate Modern and Trafalgar Square.If you wish to visit these spaces, either for the upcoming Design Festival or just for some sightseeing in the capital, the BEST WESTERN PLUS Park Grand London Heathrow hotel is far enough away from the hustle and bustle to offer calm in the city, but close enough to offer easy access to London’s highlights. It also a great place to stay for anyone flying into Heathrow for the Design Festival as it is located near Heathrow airport.

Over the last 13 years, a number of key design exhibitions have become an integral and vital part of the London Design Festival. Each of these exhibitions offer an exciting mix of designers, products, talks, installations and innovations housed under one roof. These destinations are hubs for conducting business during the festival, providing a focal point for international buyers, specifiers and the media.

The design destinations include Champagne Bar at Decorex International, 100% Design, designjuntion, Tent London & Super Brands London and Focus/15.

You will be able to see the latest design trends at the 2016 London Design Festival during the 9 day event from 17th – 25th September. Design enthusiasts should brace themselves for some thought-provoking works in the most unexpected of places.All of these places are easily accessible from Paddington Station, via London transport links; therefore the Park Grand London Paddington hotel is a great base for those wishing to visit the London Design Festival this year or in the future.

So how has the London Design Festival developed over the past 13 years?

2003 – The UK was ‘an ideas goldmine’. The London Design Festivals job was to show that off to the world.
2004 – The London Design Festival had already doubled in size.
2005 – The 3rd London Design Festival was well and truly part of London’s cultural calendar. Gordon Brown came along to praise it for “cradling the British genius”.
2006 – Opened by Sir Terence Conran, the festival was attended by around 300,000 people.
2007 – The festival commissions its first Landmark Projects, the inaugural London Design medal goes to Zaha Hadid and distinct ‘design districts’ begin to emerge.
2008 – Despite the economic turndown, interest in the festival shows no sign of slackening.
2009 – The identity for 2009s festival ‘Be bold. Make a Statement’ reflected the festivals stance that good design will always stand out.
2010 – Visitors had the opportunity to light-write in Trafalgar Square, spin at the South Bank and fill the V&A for the 2nd year running.
2011 – From St. Pauls Cathedral in East London to the V&A in West London, over 350,000 people flocked to over 300 events.
2012 – London Design Festival celebrated a decade of design.
2013 – Design is here there and everywhere!
2014 – Lose yourself in Design throughout the capital.
2015 – Last year saw the biggest London Design Festival to date. The Festival commissioned a major project with Alex Chinneck in the Greenwich Peninsula where Knight
Dragon is currently developing a new district for London with 15,000 new homes. ‘A Bullet from a Shooting Star’ takes the form of a regular electricity pylon, but given the structural feat it is performing, the design is far from conventional.

Visitors to the V&A during last year’s festival were greeted by ‘Zotem’, a bold and colourful installation conceived by London-based, Norwegian designer, Kim Thome.

Frida Escobedo, a Mexican Architect, created an installation in the V&As John Madelski Garden to mark the Year of Mexico in the United Kingdom.

Returning to the Design Festival in 2015 was boutique champagne house, Perrier-Jouet, and they brought with them the Austrian design team, Mischer’traxler. The new project designed by them, Curiosity Cloud, explores the transience of nature and the Art Nouveau movement.

Designers Laetitia de Allegri and Matteo Fogale collaborated with Johnson Tiles to create ‘Mise-en-Abyme’, a colourful and immersive installation for the bridge over the Medieval and Renaissance galleries in the V&A.

The Global Design Forum

The London Design Festival would not have become such a success without having the support of The Global Design Forum at its heart.

The Global Design Forum brings together a unique blend of people, all of whom discuss the events content and share their own ideas and concepts.

The audience demographic comprises a mix of London-based, national and international delegates. These include business owners, key decision makers, creative designers, directors and policy makers, all of whom network to establish new connections.

There are many benefits one can gain from attending the Global Design Forum including learning new insights from top designers, hearing about some of the brightest design ideas emerging onto the market and making new contacts with other delegates from other countries to expand horizons.

This post was written by

Fergus Brandon – who has written posts on All Here.


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