In September, as the fashion world begins to pack up and leave town, the international world of design focuses its rather more earnest gaze on the grey streets of London. The London Design Festival runs from 14th-22nd September. London's streets, alleyways, warehouses, showrooms and exhibition spaces, are, for a short while, paved with an enormous variety of fascinating events ostensibly featuring furniture, joinery, lighting, flooring, decorative materials and a seemingly endless list of creative distractions to inspire designers and manufacturers.
But beware, September in London is very busy, you will need to make plans – last year’s attendance was over 350,000 for the week. It’s the design world’s Glastonbury I suppose! Certainly everybody wants to be there, at the heart of the action, the inspiration, the network, the fun and the passion. It is also something that sponsors and supporters are readily engaging with – the likes of BMW, Swarowski, Coutts Bank, Moleskin, Arup, Alessi, AHEC and a range of top hotels and restaurants are engaged some way or other this year.
The festival was established in 2003 to promote London as the world’s design capital and as a gateway to the to the international design community and is backed The Arts Council and the Mayor of London.
Last year there were 79 shows and events at the Festival’s central hub at the V&A, while the four design districts (including Brompton design district, Shoreditch design triangle, Fitzrovia Now and new London Fields design district) hosted in excess of 100 events. This has grown again this year. There most notable events during the week are 100% Design, Design Junction, Tent-Superbrands, Decorex – all of which in isolation would warrant exploration. But these are the major events, sizeable in their own right. The real joy though of an event such as this is the people – they are the real stars.