London Design Festival was conceived by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans in 2003. 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. The launch of the first Festival took place at Bloomberg on 25 March 2003, with a huge show of support from design, education, government and London organisations. 16 years later, this vision remains ever strong.
In 2017, the Festival welcomed a record-breaking 450,000 individual visitors from over 75 countries. These visitors contributed to an overall 991,000 visits to London Design Festival events with 150,000 people passing through Broadgate each day having the opportunity to see Landmark Project Villa Walala. In addition, London Design Festival helped drive a total of 173,250 visits to the V&A over the Festival period with 22% of those surveyed saying they had never visited the museum before and were driven there by the Festival. Flynn Talbot’s Reflection Room and Ross Lovegrove’s Transmission installations were particularly popular.
London Design Festival Director, Ben Evans says “London and Design go hand in hand. It is part of our story. London Design Festival is a platform for 100s of design stories to be told. Each of them talks to an expanding audience hungry for design ideas and enjoying the quality and diversity of what’s on offer. It all confirms London’s status as the global centre of design.”
For LDF18, visitors to the V&A will explore a range of special displays and installations throughout the museum, complemented by an extensive programme of events, daily tours, and workshops from Global Design Forum, which in 2017 drew 45 speakers from 13 countries and 2,800 visitors.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “London Design Festival is a fantastic event which brings together designers from across the globe and demonstrates the capital’s position as a powerhouse for the creative industries. London is known for its creativity and continues to attract the best companies and talent from around the world. I’m delighted to support London Design Festival, which shows that London is open to great ideas, innovation and people from all backgrounds.”