All you need to know about London Design Festival

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

First staged in 2003, the London Design Festival is one of the world’s most important annual design events. The Festival programme is made up of over 400 events and exhibitions staged by hundreds of Partner organisations across the design spectrum and from around the world.


“The London Design Festival is the most vivid possible proof that London is the hub of the creative industries in the world.” Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.

The London Design Festival is an annual event, held ‘to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world, and as the gateway to the International creative community.’

Over nine days in September 2014, the London Design Festival featured hundreds of events which took place across London, showcasing the city’s pivotal role in global design.

A centerpiece of the Festival is our commissions, the Landmark Projects, created with the help of our generous supporters. For the Landmark Projects we commission some of the world’s greatest architects and designers to create pieces of work in some of London’s best-loved public spaces.


Then there are the Partner events; if anything is evidence of this city’s vitality, it’s the sheer scope and quality of the Festival events programmed by their Partners. From established businesses to emerging practices, from entrepreneurs to educators, from manufacturers to retailers, their Partners represent the heart of London’s design culture.

The Festival is both a cultural and a commercial event. The programme ranges from major international exhibitions to trade events, installations to talks and seminars, from product launches to receptions, private views and parties. The majority of events are free of charge – enabling visitors to participate, listen, learn, commission and make purchases.

The Festival is funded through a combination of public and private sources. The Mayor of London’s office provides grant funding for the

Festival; Arts Council England have been long term supporters of the Festival. Private funding (approx 60%) is raised through sponsorship of Festival projects alongside a small range of London Design Festival products and services delivered throughout the year.


Festival audiences are significant, with an estimated direct audience of over 350,000 people from over 75 countries, with a wider audience of over 1m people coming into contact with the major public commissions in 2014. Audiences at the V&A totaled 106,929 – which is 1.5 the number for the preceding week (30 August – 7 September). The Festival had a programme of 395 projects and events staged by 270 partner organisations.


Global Design Forum

Debating Designs on our Future will take place on 20-25 September 2015 at Victoria and Albert Museum in London.


Celebration of Design

Over the last twelve years, a number of key design exhibitions have become an integral and vital part of the London Design Festival, each offering 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.


2015 British Land Celebration of Design

Every year an illustrious selection committee comprising established designers, industry commentators and previous winners sit down and debate possible recipients of The British Land Celebration of Design Awards across four categories. The eventual winners are chosen from a wide range of design disciplines and awarded for their exceptional contribution to their field.

The 2015 British Land Celebration of Design Awards Ceremony will take place in Canada House in Trafalgar Square on the 23rd of September.


Every year an illustrious selection committee comprising established designers, industry commentators and previous winners sit down and debate possible recipients of The British Land Celebration of Design Awards across four categories. The eventual winners are chosen from a wide range of design disciplines and awarded for their exceptional contribution to their field.

“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 Medal itself is designed by esteemed jewellery designer Hannah Martin and represents the once ubiquitous London bird, the Cockney Sparrow, in flight.

The eminent panel of judges come to their decisionentirely independently, with Festival Chairman Sir John Sorrell only getting the casting vote in the event of a tie. “In 2011 there was a big debate as Thomas Heatherwick was arguing strongly for Vidal Sassoon,” recalls Evans. “Ron Arad ended up winning that year,but we decided there and then to invent a LifetimeAchievement award. That particular year it was a stunning evening at St Paul’s, and Vidal Sassoonflew over especially from California despite being in ill health. He spoke in the most eloquent way

about the fact that he had countless hairdressing awards but had never been given recognition by the design community before, and talked about how he’d always wanted to be an architect when he was growing up. The room was full of these legends from the design world and many of them were moved to tears.”my-design-week-london-design-festival-1
“Since then, we have integrated extra award categories to recognise individuals at different stages of their careers. The winners are announced in our Awards dinner; in 2014 it was at the top of the new Leadenhall Building with spectacular views across London.”


The 2015 British Land Celebration of Design awards ceremony will take place in Canada House in Trafalgar Square on 23 September. The building, which would later become known as Canada House, was built between 1824 and 1827 to designs by Sir Robert Smirke, architect of the British Museum.


The judging of the British Land Celebration of Design took place in May. This year’s winners will be announced during the London Design Festival in September.


The panel included David Adjaye, Architect, Tony Chambers, Editor of Wallpaper*, Sheridan Coakley of SCP, Dominic Lippa, Partner, Pentagram, Marek Reichman, Design Director of Aston Martin, Raoul Shah, Founder, Exposure, Joff Sharpe, Head of Operations, British Land, Justine Simons, Head of Culture at the Mayor’s Office, Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board, Sarah Thomas, Director Thomas.Matthews, Paul Thompson, Rector of the RCA and Jane Withers, Design Strategy Consultant.


Events : All events

If anything is evidence of this city’s vitality, it’s the sheer scope and quality of the Festival events programmed by our Partners. From established businesses to emerging practices, from entrepreneurs to educators, from manufacturers to retailers, our Partners represent the heart of London’s design culture. In 2014 the Festival had a programme of 395 projects and events staged by 270 partner organisations. Check out the events HERE.


Navigating the Festival

Navigating all the Festival activity can appear daunting at first. With over 400 events in total, there’s more than any single person could see so we suggest you take time to browse the Visit page for tips on planning. The GPS-enhanced itinerary tool ‘My Festival’ can be used in conjunction with the new events search to save your own personalized diary of events.


The London Design Festival programme is made up of over 300 events across the city. 19-27 September 2015.

To ease the process of planning your visit to the London Design Festival 2013, they created the new My Festival tool which will be improved even further for our 2014 Festival. Simply click the My Festival pin icon on events that you would like to attend and they will automatically be pinned to your own personalized map, then download your itinerary and share your plans with friends.

To see the broad range of activities that the Festival offers, view our events online or download the 2013 guide and map above.


Still wondering where to start? The London Design Festival residency at the Victoria and Albert Museum began in 2009 and is a great place to begin. Known as the Festival Hub, the V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design and features a range of Landmark Projects, talks and workshops.

London’s design communities gravitate to different districts creating distinct clusters of activity.

Brompton Design District is situated close to the V&A in west London, heading east, in the centre of London, Fitzrovia Now promote a cluster of shows in the Covent Garden and Fitzrovia areas and in the East End head to the Shoreditch Design Triangle’s network of design venues. Keep an eye on the Design Districts page for more information on activities taking place in each area.


Check out all the Projects HERE !

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London Design Festival at the V&A

A unique collaboration between the world’s leading museum of art and design and London’s foremost contemporary design festival. Over the past six years, the London Design Festival at the V&A has gone from strength to strength. This year’s programme will once again fill the museum with an extraordinary range of design installations large and small, intricate and majestic.

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In 2009 the relationship between the V&A and the London Design Festival began and it continues to grow stronger by the year, producing a programme of installations and events bigger and more daring than ever before.

“The London Design Festival is a vibrant think tank which annually presents some of the most interesting contemporary work being created in the world. As an organisation that aims to inspire creativity in everyone, the V&A is proud to partner once again with the Festival. During the 9-day period visitors will be able to see a series of exciting and beautiful installations interacting with our world-renowned collections and historic spaces, take part in innovative design workshops and hear from the best international designers working today to motivate, provoke and discover new creative ideas.”

Dr. Martin Roth

Director of the V&A


The Victoria and Albert Museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and is a charity exempt from registration under the Charities Act of 1993. It operates at arm’s length from the Government and is governed by a board of Trustees appointed by the Prime Minister.


As the world’s leading museum of art and design, the V&A enriches people’s lives by promoting the practice of design and increasing knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world.

Somerset House

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Somerset House, one of London’s most important centers for arts and culture, is this year a major new destination for the London Design Festival and will showcase a series of exciting exhibitions, installation and events during the Festival.

Within the historic setting will be exhibitions showcasing collaborations between internationally-renowned designers and brands, a presentation of the winning entries from a competition with Twitter, an exploration of how an ancient tree can continue to have a function even after being felled and a display showing the work of four winners of the British Land Celebration of Design Awards.


“Somerset House embraces a broad range of cultural activity including music, fashion, film and photography and design is a very important part of this mix. As well as being both a stimulating environment in which many designers and makers work, we also are an important public platform for the best in contemporary design through our exhibitions and events. With strong links to the design community, we are pleased to present a number of projects as part of the Design Festival and look forward to working with them over the upcoming year to create new opportunities to bring design in all its manifestations to the heart of London and to a new audience.”


Jonathan Reekie CBE

Director of Somerset House Trust


A unique part of the London cultural scene, Somerset House is an historic building where surprising and original work comes to life. From its 18th century origins, Somerset House has been a center for debate and discussion – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation.

Somerset House is today a key cultural destination in London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum – an environment that is relaxed, welcoming to all and inspirational to visit while providing a stimulating workplace for the cultural and creative industries. Since its opening in 2000, Somerset House has built up a distinctive outdoor public programme including Skate, concerts, an open-air film season and a diverse range of temporary exhibitions throughout the site focusing on contemporary culture, with an extensive learning programme attached. It is probably the biggest community of creative organizations in London including the The Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art, King’s College London Cultural Institute and over 100 other creative businesses. We currently attract approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.

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Design Destinations

A number of large group-shows will take place across the city where new and established exhibitors from the UK and around the world will debut their designs. These ‘Design Destinations’ are crucial for designers and manufacturers wanting to reach new markets and provide excellent platforms for new and emerging designers and makers to present their products and innovations.

100% Design at Olympia

23 – 26 September 2015

This September, 100% Design, the UK’s largest design trade show celebrates its 21st edition in a brand new home, Olympia London. Staged in the dramatic Grand and West Halls, the show will take place across two levels and benefit from natural light, enhanced facilities and five distinct sections including Interiors, Design & Build, Kitchens & Bathrooms, Workplace and Emerging Brands.

Based upon the central theme ‘Design in Colour’, 100% Design 2015 has collaborated closely with trend forecasters WGSN among many others to bring to life the visual and sensual experience of using colour across interiors and the build environment. This is supported by specially commissioned and thought-provoking editorial features, world-leading seminars and live content, alongside over 400 exhibitors.

The top colour trends for 2016 will thread throughout the show as a means to demonstrate the importance of colour and to navigate the show. To complement this, the award-winning 100% Design website fully embraces colour, providing an opportunity to search exhibitor products in each of the selected colours.

More information:

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Decorex International 2015 at Syon Park

20 – 23 September 2015

Returning to the prestigious location of Syon Park, Decorex International opens alongside the 2015 London Design Festival. This year Decorex explores the future of luxury through a series of interactive feature installations and focused seminar discourse.

Leading applied arts and design critic, Corinne Julius, curates the eagerly anticipated sequel to Future Heritage, an exciting feature of people to commission and the names to collect in contemporary British craft and design. Renowned designer, Russell Sage, will be creating the highly anticipated Champagne Bar this year and The New Craftsmen – luxury handmade craft from over 75 British makers – will be designing the VIP lounge in association with House & Garden. Throughout the four days, visitors will be the first to see new collections from more than 400 design brands and experience inspirational and enlightening talks as part of the popular seminar programme. A pop-up food market will offer visitors the chance to indulge in luxury street food from some of London’s rising stars, while the on-site restaurant will provide fine dining with views of historic Syon Park.

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designjunction at Central Saint Martins and Victoria House

24 – 27 September 2015

designjunction is delighted to announce that this year’s London flagship show will be held at two stunning new locations for the London Design Festival 2015. Renowned for taking on challenging industrial spaces across the globe, designjunction2015 will see the transformation of the spectacular, character-filled former Central Saint Martin’s college and nearby Victoria House.

In a move which will result in a major collaborative show for London, the former Central Saint Martin’s College building will house designjunction’s leading trade- focused brands and live content, whilst across the road, Victoria House will present the show’s largest ever retail offering of premium high-end design brands.

designjunction2015 will host more than 180 cutting-edge design brands, over 50 design-led pop-up shops, the largest ever edition of lightjunction, a stellar seminar programme, interactive flash factories and a wealth of culinary delights – all spread across two historic venues.

Focus/15 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

20 – 25 September 2015

At Focus/15 connect, converse, create. A comprehensive collective of over 500 leading international brands runs the gamut from classic contemporary to cutting- edge.The dynamic programme brings together creative minds for an exciting exchange of ideas and collection launches. Global names share their expertise

at ‘Conversations in Design’ sessions while ‘Access All Areas’ sees tremendous growth with over 100 events bringing new insights at workshops, talks and forums. Add to this specially commissioned installations and pop-ups, it is the perfect mix of style, innovation and directional design.

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Tent London & Super Brands London at the Old Truman Brewery


24 – 27 September 2015

Tent & Super Brands, London have rapidly become the host fairs for national pavilions during the Festival, with 450 exhibitors from 29 countries. Some pavilions will be themed around a design discipline such as the Czech Republic’s 2014 Glass Mania by Umprum academy, or will be a cross-disciplinary selection by producers such as Fulgen for 100% Norway 2015. Other confirmed Pavilions will include the spectacular and updated Consistency & Change in Korean Craft exhibition, Swedish Design Pavilion & Café in Super Brands (curated and designed by Cate&Nelson with brands including Offecct, Bla Station etc.) and The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland exhibition celebrating Irish Design 2015. Taste Taiwan celebrates World Design Capital 2016 with a dining experience, the Italian Trade Commission will present 250sqm of Italian brands, KADK NOW! (Danish selection as seen in Milan), Finland presents Finnish Form for the first time alongside the Australian Furniture Association (curated by Tent London) and returning with a new line-up is Hand Made Japan.

New brands showing in Super Brands will include Neo Craft from Germany and Yask from Switzerland. Visitors will also be able to enjoy a colour experience by Dulux and a talks programme that will reflect the country pavilions line-up.

For the first time, Tent will present a feature area called “Techable Home” for tech enabled design for the home. Techable Home will be paired with a Tech Meets Design talks programme at Second Home – London’s newest Tech community space on Hanbury Street, E1.


Design Districts

In 2015, there will be seven official Design Districts spread across the capital during the Festival. Design Districts are areas where there are distinct concentrations of design activity and events that can be traversed easily on foot. Each District is organised locally and independently under the umbrella of the London Design Festival. This year will see a new Design District, Bankside, take part in the Festival.

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Bankside Design District


Bankside will this year be the first London Design Festival Design District located south of the river.

Bankside has seen ongoing transformation since Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge launched in 2000. Today the area has become a creative hub, home to many galleries, design studios, architectural practices and creative agencies.

The Bankside Design District spans from Borough Market to the Oxo Tower and a number of exciting events and activities are lined up to showcase the creative industry within the area, from workshops to walking tours, exhibitions and outdoor installations.

Highlights include Better Letters, who will host a pop-up Sign School at Borough Market, in keeping with the market’s heritage of painted signage. Local calligrapher Paul Antonio Scribe will run a series of calligraphy masterclasses in his studio as well as a fascinating talk on the history of the alphabet. Jerwood Visual Arts will once again be exhibiting the works of prestigious Jerwood Drawing Prize artists.

Late night opening on Wednesday 23 September.

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Brompton Design District


Brompton Design District is a partnership of leading international brands, much loved independent retailers and cultural institutions, which hosts a renowned pop up programme, curated by the respected Jane Withers.

With around thirty exhibitions in the district, including the festival hub at the V&A, visitors can wander through the wide streets, and take pit stops at the notable cafes and restaurants such as Fernandez & Wells, Brompton Food Market or Bibendum in the landmark Michelin building.

Partners include Mint, Skandium, Squint, The Conran Shop, to the Italian brands B&B Italia, Boffi and Cassina. And, from the pop ups, highlights include Dzek, Marion Friedman Gallery, OYUNA, Pia Wustenberg, and new talent from the RCA curated by Sarah van Gameren and Philippe Malouin.

Late night opening on Thursday 24 September.

Late night opening on Thursday 24 September.

Chelsea Design Quarter


The Chelsea Design Quarter is one of London’s freshest and most eclectic interior design hubs where classic and contemporary sit cheek by jowl. With the largest and most diverse selection of established interiors specialists concentrated in one area, this Quarter is located in and around the southern end of King’s Road running along Lots Road to Imperial Wharf.

Participating Partners will be staging a range of special events ranging from demonstrations and workshops, talks and debates, new product launches and exhibitions throughout the week, with a specific programme of events taking place in various showrooms on Monday 21 September.

Late night opening on Monday 21 September.

Clerkenwell Design Quarter


Clerkenwell is one of London’s oldest boroughs, and now home to some of the most established furniture brands in the world. With a long and glorious tradition of royalty, religion and revolution, Clerkenwell is now the beating heart of British architecture and design.

During this year’s Festival visitors will be able to enjoy brands and showrooms and see hundreds of new products from some of the leading names in design.

Late night opening on Tuesday 22 September.


Islington Design District

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The Islington Design District returns for its second year, bringing together a growing collection of design-led shops, showrooms and cafes in the Islington area including SMUG, Aria, twentytwentyone, Present & Correct and Folklore.

Visitors will be able to walk the Islington Design District Trail from Amwell Street south of Angel, through to Camden Passage and along Upper Street, to discover new designers, special product launches and one-off exhibitions and events.

Late night opening on Tuesday 22 September.


Queen’s Park Design District


A long-established hub of creativity and international design talent, the Queen’s Park Design District event will encompass a series of open studios, live design events, art installations, and workshops centred around Lonsdale Road, Salusbury Road and Kimberley Road.

The relaxed ambience of the Queen’s Park area comes hand in hand with a vibrant spirit and an innovative attitude. The Queen’s Park creative community is committed to maintaining the most desirable work/life district in the capital.

This year we welcome new partners into the district along with established names – exhibitors include Bill Amberg Studio, The Interior Design School, Some Ideas London, Claridge Architects, Hub Architects, Theo Williams, and Rupert Bevan.

Late night opening on Thursday 24 September, daytime event and open studios on Sunday 27 September.

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Shoreditch Design Triangle


The Shoreditch Design Triangle 2015 will be one of the most coherent street- by-street event during this year’s London Design Festival. Now in its seventh consecutive year, the event brings together a collection of designers, stores, galleries, studios, cafés, bars, brands and one-off events for a week of design-led festivities. The Ace Hotel on Shoreditch High Street will provide a hub for people to meet, relax and gather information.

Truly collaborative and harking back to the days when the Hoxton and Shoreditch area was re-invigorated by the Young British Artist movement, the event revels in the true spirit of London, a place that bursts with new ideas, historical places and spaces, and the colourful characters who have strode the East End for many a year.

Late night opening on Tuesday 22 September.

Check out as well : 100% DESIGN EMERGING BRANDS


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Official Hotel Supporter 2015

Radisson Blu Edwardian

The London Design Festival are working with Radisson Blu Edwardian as the Official Hotel Partner for 2015. With a selection of hotels conveniently located near exhibitions and events, they are ideal for your visit to London during the Festival.

During The London Design Festival, customers can enjoy a 10% saving on stays and a complimentary room upgrade from 17th – 30th September at Radisson Blu Edwardian (11)

A collection of individual hotels in great London, Manchester and Guildford locations, the Radisson Blu Edwardian, London hotels range from bijou boutique to large-scale luxe. Think contemporary design that doesn’t compromise on comfort, complimentary wi-fi throughout and great seasonal British food, with service that anticipates but never assumes. It’s an experience that relaxes and stimulates in equal measure.

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CitizenM a new breed of hotel located in London’s buzzing Bankside district—minutes from the Tate Modern and easy tube access to London Bridge—192 luxury rooms await with free Wi-Fi, free movies, and tablet MoodPad to control every detail; Vitra living room spaces with stunning art, a MENDO bookstore, and canteenM’s 24/7 eatery and bar.

Citizen M are offering a 15% discount during the London Design Festival 19-27 September 2015*

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There is other Design Weeks happening right now don’t miss Paris Design Week!





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