London Design Festival 2012

This September sees the London Design Festival, one of the most important events on the global design calendar, mark its 10th anniversary. Conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans, the Festival was originally designed to pay tribute to the capital’s creativity and innovation; 10 years later, this aim has been achieved beyond all expectations. “It is especially exciting to be staging the 10th London Design Festival in September during the year of the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee,” says John Sorrell. “Over the last 10 years, we have grown the Festival across the world’s creative capital and this year, the Festival will be better than ever as we join in the celebrations and put the spotlight on design.”

Since 2003, the Festival has been responsible for showcasing a range of exciting and ambitious projects, from installations in London’s public spaces to commissioned projects, highlighting emerging talent, in museums and galleries. Year on year, the Festival has evolved and developed in terms of its partners and its audience with 2011 seeing over 300 separate events and projects in London as part of the 10-day celebration. From September 14 to 23, 2012, a year when the global spotlight is firmly on London, the Festival is delighted to present a program that will more than equal the quality, imagination and innovation that it has demonstrated for the last decade. “The London Design Festival continues to present design in new ways to an ever expanding audience. We stay ahead by being different and more relevant each year,” says Ben Evans, Director of London Design Festival.

With an audience of over 350,000 attending Festival events and more than 2 million people experiencing large-scale outdoor installations, the London Design Festival can now claim to have the world’s biggest audience for a design event, with visitors from over 50 countries recorded in 2011. Last year there were 65 shows and events at Festival’s central hub at the V&A and the Museum recorded a significant 60% increase in visitors during the Festival period.

The Global Design Forum will be an enlightening, stimulating and intensive one-day event to set the global agenda for design. Taking place in the brand new campus of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in Kings Cross, the event will encourage speakers and delegates alike to generate debate on the role of design today and in the future, and identify new ideas and new directions in design through a mix of keynote speeches, panel discussions and case-study presentations.

Townhouse, an exciting new feature this year, is a pioneering adventure in contemporary living curated by Jane Withers. Located in the heart of Belgravia within a stunning Georgian house originally designed by Thomas Cubitt, Townhouse will see a rich diversity of contemporary design set within the different rooms of the house, from the Gentleman’s Study to the Old Library. Withers, an internationally renowned curator, will bring together a mix of brands, designers, furniture and products, shown in a way that will intrigue and inspire visitors against a backdrop of classic 19th-century elegance.

A pivotal moment during the Festival is the awarding of the London Design Medal. This is presented to a designer who is considered by a panel of judges to have made a significant contribution to design and to London, with past recipients including Thomas Heatherwick, Zaha Hadid, Paul Smith, Marc Newson and Ron Arad. For the first time last year, Vidal Sassoon was

given an extra award for Lifetime Achievement. This year, the London Design Medal will comprise three additional categories: Lifetime Achievement, Emerging Talent, and Entrepreneur. The Awards will be announced at an exclusive ceremony on September 17th.

Another first this year will be the London Design Festival app, designed to help visitors negotiate the many events taking place throughout London. The app will provide a full guide to all the listed Festival events, searchable by category and location – even by the exact time of day. The app is designed to be fully browseable offline, so visitors from abroad can download it before they arrive in London and use it to find their way around the hundreds of Festival events across the city.

Trafalgar Square is undoubtedly one of London’s best known and best loved public spaces and has hosted a number of London Design Festival public design commissions in the past, including a giant chessboard created by Jaime Hayon. This year, BE OPEN and the London Design Festival are co-producing a project in Trafalgar Square that focuses on the idea of “design you can’t see.” Taking as its basis the idea of sound as the next frontier of design, the BE OPEN Sound Portal will be an immersive space in the centre of the square that will take visitors on an intriguing journey. Designed by Arup with Sound and Music, the Portal will give visitors varied experiences through a series of three-dimensional soundscapes created by leading musicians and sound designers. Sound and Music [] will be commissioning five quite different works that will present a range of vibrant sonic and musical responses to London’s most iconic public space. Confirmed artists include Jana Winderen and Ivan Pavlov. Designed as an alien black rubberized structure, the BE OPEN Sound Portal will be a mysterious and intriguing intervention in London’s central square.

Since it first established a hub at the V&A, the Festival has created a number of unforgettable exhibitions and installations, from a beautiful staircase created from picture frames by Stuart Haygarth to AL_A’s technically brilliant Timber Wave structure which cascaded in dramatic fashion over the front entrance. In 2012, the Festival is commissioning a broad ranging program of activity including a series of installations. These are spread throughout the museum and complemented by a program of events, workshops and talks, as befits the central hub of the Festival. Included are: Prism by Keiichi Matsuda, Mimicry Chairs by Nendo, Philips and Cinimod Studio’s series of temporary lighting interventions, Established & Sons’ series of one-off benches, SodaStream’s SodaBar, an installation by Rolf Sachs, and an exhibition by students from the Royal College of Art called Out of the Woods: The Lives and Loves of Hardwood Chairs.

Additionally, the V&A Museum will host a series of events as part of the London Design Festival, including a digital design hub at the Sackler Centre. A range of workshops and seminars will take place in the Centre as well as a press and information hub for the Festival as a whole.

Partner activity across London includes Design Destinations, focal points for conducting business during the festival and are often the place to spot new design talent and innovations on the market. The popular 100% Design takes place at Earls Court the same week, and 2012 heralds a new start for 100% Design. The UK’s largest contemporary design trade event is now under the ownership of event company Media 10 who are relaunching the event with a focus on both global and UK-based talent. A completely new layout for 100% Design will encompass four distinct areas: Interiors, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Office and Eco Design and Build – each with a dedicated industry hub and leading companies in the sector. International Pavilions, complemented by a series of live global debates from some of the most creative cities in the world, will build the momentum of 100% Design as the key business platform for design during the London Design Festival.

Decorex has been running for over 35 years to become one of the UK’s most established design and interiors shows. Located at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, the event will present new design from contemporary to classic, industrial to craft, from leading suppliers to the interior design world
. Exhibitors this year will include Rabih Hage, the Rug Company, Christopher Guy, Tissus d’Helene, Andrew Martin and Pinch Designs. Exhibitors are complemented with an array of features and talks.

Set within the impressive surrounds of a 1960s Sorting Office, designjunction will showcase the best in global design against an industrial backdrop, uniting creative and commercial design. This year designjunction will also incorporate the design show Tramshed into the event to create an even more spectacular showcase for design and culture. Three floors, across an impressive 120,000-square-foor space, will be devoted to international brands, smaller labels, pop-up shops, large-scale installations, temporary restaurants, bars and cafes, working flash factories, live entertainment, a leading seminar program and much more.

Now in its sixth year, Tent London will present over 200 exhibitors from 25 countries showing a diverse range of contemporary interior products. Big brands such as 3form, Ercol and Ngispen will exhibit their new collections, alongside undiscovered talent and established independents including Be+Have, Cox & Treanor, Erica Wakerly and Mini Moderns. Feature installations will punctuate each exhibition hall, as selected by a public vote. Country Pavilions will be a big part of Tent with the likes of 100% Norway taking over the Dray Walk Gallery, and showcases from Hungary, China, Taiwan and Japan.

Co-located directly below Tent London, Super Brands London has expanded in 2012 to become a stand-alone event to include over 40 global brands such as Erba Italia, Moroso, Prooff, Royal Mosa, Allermuir, Limited Edition, Lowinfo, Architonic, Materials Council and Fritz Hansen. Super Brands London will again host a captivating program of Super Talks, including seminars from Global Color Research and Mix Publications.

The Festival works closely with, and receives financial support directly from, the Mayor’s Office – having transferred support from the London Development Agency. The London Design Festival also receives support from Arts Council England, London as a Regularly Funded Organisation for 2011/12.

For more information, please visit