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A First Look at LDF22

This year, London Design Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary, returning to the capital from 17-25 September 2022 with a thought-provoking programme of events, exhibitions and installations.

On 30 June 2022 we hosted a live session on Instagram to offer a First Look into LDF22, the 20th anniversary edition of London Design Festival. Watch here.

The Festival will once again provide a platform for designers and creative businesses to showcase their work, and will invite a global audience to discover the breadth and diversity of talent found in London and across the UK.

Since its initiation in 2003, the Festival’s vision has been to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world. It has played a key role in the growth of the design industry, bolstering London’s position as a global destination for business, culture and tourism, and contributed to the UK’s reputation as a creative powerhouse. As one of the world’s leading design events, the Festival has also served as the blueprint for design weeks and festivals globally and continues to be a key moment on the cultural calendar.

A truly democratic event, the Festival is predominantly free and audiences have increased year-on-year with the 2019 Festival reaching 1.1 million visits by 600,000 visitors, with more than one third of them from overseas, representing 75 countries. In addition, the 2019 Festival contributed an estimated £118 million in GVA to the London economy, 2,992 FTE jobs and a much needed platform for over 2,500 businesses by delivering audiences directly to the doors of both small and established creative businesses.

'We consciously founded the London Design Festival to be public spirited. Different from other design events, we not only aim to support designers by helping them showcase their work and generate business, but importantly to create an understanding and appreciation for the creative industries by as wide an audience as possible. Over the last 20 years, the Festival has had incredible depth of penetration and success in bringing people together and distilling new ideas.' - Sir John Sorrell CBE, London Design Festival Chairman

With one of the largest creative economies of any city in the world, London’s design reputation is internationally renowned. One in six people work in the creative industries and it has been the fastest growing sector of the economy in recent years, but the impact of the pandemic, Brexit, and cost of living crisis is set to disproportionately affect the creative industries, causing a catastrophic setback to the sector. Against this backdrop, London Design Festival’s 20th anniversary comes at a crucial time and with a determination to maintain the city’s creative and cultural leadership.

The 2022 Festival will once again shine a bold new light on the city, and make the familiar fresh through its programme of sensational, must-experience installations; museum exhibits; the Design Districts which highlight clusters of creative activity across the capital; and the Global Design Forum, the Festival’s thought leadership programme which will bring together creative leaders to exchange ideas and solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time.

'The design and creative sector in London and the UK has enjoyed a golden period this century. An extraordinary rush of ideas fed by a steady migration of world class talent made London the global capital it now is. The London Design Festival both benefited from and helped enable that reputation. On our 20th anniversary we want to take stock and move forward to ensure the Festival continues to support the design community, commissions and showcases new ideas, and reflects on the key issues from technology to sustainability to wellbeing so that the next 20 years are as fruitful as the past 20.' - Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival Director

As the political, social and economic context continues to evolve, the Festival must evolve too. Design is now understood to be fundamental to enterprise, supporting health and wellbeing, and managing our cities and societies. At a time when climate change, pollution and resource depletion intensifies, there is also a need to drive towards a circular and more sustainable economy. With that in mind, this year’s Festival will seek to platform new thinking and creative concepts that demonstrate the crucial role of design today.

To continue its commitment to improving accessibility and diversity in the creative sector, particularly during the current economic climate, this year’s Festival will also offer a 30% discount to new initiatives; ethnic minority-led activities; schools and universities, disability-led design and charitable projects, while students and recent graduates will receive a 50% discount on participation.

'London Design Festival is a highlight of the cultural calendar in our city. This 20th anniversary edition is more important than ever, inviting audiences locally and internationally to experience the festival’s dynamic programme at the many districts that span the capital. I am looking forward to seeing design thinking and innovation come to life in September.' - Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, London

Landmark Projects

Sony Design will present INTO SIGHT at Cromwell Place, a life-sized media platform, which plays on sensorial effects that transform simple boundary surfaces into an infinite vista through shifting light, colour and sound. Stepping into the installation unleashes a unique response; as audiences venture further inside, they will become more aware of unexpected visual and audio dimensions that continuously evolve through their interactions. This project aims to capture and discover new insights regarding the coexistence of physical and meta realities.

Rotterdam-based designer Sabine Marcelis will be creating an outdoor installation in central London. This project will invite the public to gather, celebrating the Brutalist form of Centre Point and the wider multifaceted architecture of London.

Festival Commission

LSI Stone will work with Stanton Williams and Webb Yates in collaboration with experimentadesign to realise Henge, a project in Greenwich Peninsula inspired by the Neolithic stone structures that "create a space separate from the outside world". The circular form will create a focused gathering space with a clear identity. Within the context of the Design District, Henge will be seen as a participatory sculptural form that invites those who work, live and visit the area to engage with it creatively.

The intention is to create an attractive, welcoming gathering place for relaxing and contemplation and will feature music and sound design. The installation will also encourage spontaneous performances, music and poetry readings within and around the structure. The pavilion itself will be made of 150 million year old Jurassic limestone and marble, a zero carbon, recyclable material. Light will accentuate the form and play against its rich, textured surfaces.

Festival Hub

London Design Festival at the V&A, is a unique collaboration between the world's leading museum of art, design and performance, and London's foremost contemporary design festival. Now entering the 13th year together as the official Festival Hub, this collaboration will see iconic spaces within the Museum transformed by an extraordinary collection of specially-commissioned installations and displays by international contemporary designers.

This year's projects will be linked by the idea of transformation: from the transformation of molecules and materials, to the creative renewal of household objects, to the regeneration of the planet itself. Projects include:

In R for Repair, a project being led by DesignSingapore Council and National Design Centre (Singapore), broken household objects, often with deep sentimental attachment, are handed over to designers to be not just repaired, but creatively renewed. Co-curated by Hans Tan Studio (SG) and Jane Withers Studio (UK), the exhibition will feature Singaporean designers repairing UK objects, and UK designers repairing objects from Singapore, in a cross-cultural exchange bound to provoke new interpretations of our everyday items.

Plasticity will be a monumental sculpture, designed by Niccolo Casas, 3D-printed by Nagami, and made with Ocean Plastic®, marine plastic waste intercepted by the collaboration network Parley for the Oceans. The project explores the possibility of turning a harmful waste material into new uses, while highlighting the work of the organisation in cleaning up the world's beaches, islands and coastal communities.

In a live glass-blowing demonstration and display, vessels by the Canadian artist Omer Arbel will be produced on site, in which molten copper interacts with blown- glass to create a series of shapes and forms largely determined by the material itself.

The Lebanese House: saving a home, saving a city is an installation at the V&A installed for London Festival of Architecture by Annabel Karim Kassar that explores the reconstruction of Beirut after the 2020 explosion. This project will be transformed for the Festival with new design elements developing the narrative of the effects of this disaster on the city’s cultural identity.

Design Districts

From North to South, East to West, the Design Districts are a key component of the Festival makeup. Each District has its own unique personality that reflects the local community and enables visitors to explore events a short walking distance from each other. There will be 12 Design Districts as part of this year’s Festival: Brompton Design District, Clerkenwell Design Trail, Islington Design District, King’s Cross Design District, Mayfair Design District, Shoreditch Design Triangle, Southwark South Design District, William Morris Design Line, returning after a successful debut last year Greenwich Peninsula and Park Royal Design District, and relaunched for 2022, Bankside Design District and Pimlico Road Design District.

Design Fairs

As part of the Festival programme, London Design Festival stages major trade shows, formerly known as Design Destinations. These are the commercial pillars of the Festival and are key meeting places for designers, manufacturers, buyers, specifiers, the media and design enthusiasts to discover new product releases and identify current trends.

Design London returns to North Greenwich for its second edition between 21-24 September 2022. Following its debut in 2021, the destination for contemporary design is set to double its floor space this year, where architects and interior designers can source cutting-edge furniture, kitchens and bathrooms, lighting and architectural fittings all under one roof. Alongside a multitude of product showcases, visitors will also have the opportunity to explore a curated selection of international pavilions from countries including Denmark, Korea, Portugal, Sweden and Thailand. The show also welcomes the second edition of Discussions at Design London, a thought provoking talks programme that comprises headline keynotes, trend forecasts and panel discussions with a range of high-profile industry experts, influencers and thought leaders.

Global Design Forum

Global Design Forum is London Design Festival’s curated thought leadership programme, celebrating design and the minds shaping its future. This year the Festival is excited to be partnering with Arup Foresight, ExploreStation led by Design Council on behalf of Network Rail, in partnership with Commonplace, Digital Urban, and The GlassHouse Community Led Design and Tétris Design and Build.

The programme for 2022 will span a range of topics questioning how design is evolving to respond to the urgent needs facing our environment and society at large. There will be a specific focus on sustainable and regenerative design; opportunities and challenges that arise from new technologies and platforms; diversity and

inclusion across the industry; opening up the design process and material innovation. Speakers from all corners of the global design community will share new perspectives on how design can be more accessible, inclusive and sustainable and at the forefront of change.

Graphic Identity by Pentagram

Since 2007, world-renowned creative agency Pentagram, have produced an annual graphic identity for each iteration of the Festival - responding to, and anticipating trends in design and typography.

While the Festival’s colour theme of white on red has been consistent, Pentagram has adapted each brief to produce distinctive visual identities to ensure that each edition of the Festival is unique. Domenic Lippa, Partner at Pentagram, has led the creative direction of the branding and visual design for the Festival since its inception.

Domenic Lippa, Partner at Pentagram, said: "Every year we develop a graphic theme to reflect the ambitions and vision of the Festival. This year, as it’s the 20th anniversary, we wanted to celebrate this milestone with a solution that supports its success. The idea that the Festival is the sum of its parts became strong and powerful. It literally represents dozens of individual design disciplines - large and small - and this coming together allows our identity to ebb and flow itself. Very much in keeping with the experience of the 10 days - A flock of designers weaving through London!”

Further information for this year’s programme as well as details of the Global Design Forum, London Design Festival’s curated thought leadership programme, and this year’s London Design Medal winners will be announced over the summer.