Established in 2003, the London Design Festival is a citywide celebration that brings together a global community of designers, artists, architects, and retailers to activate projects responding to the transformative power of design.
In 2016 over 400 events and installations will take place, from an engaging programme at the Victoria and Albert Museum to a colourful and eccentric crazy golf course in the heart of the city: Trafalgar Square. These interventions reflect the stimulating diversity of creative thinking, and are all united in their ability to inspire, entertain and arouse curiosity.
The festival is a platform for innovative design initiatives, showcasing ideas from more than 300 partners who represent the best of London’s design community. Widespread participation reflects the role of creative businesses as a leading force in the city’s economy, which represents the UK’s fastest growing sector.
“Since the London Design Festival started in 2003 it has always welcomed the world to our great city but has also inspired over 100 other cities to produce their own annual design event," says Sir John Sorrell, Chairman, London Design Festival.
This year, the Festival welcomes British Land as Headline Partner for the first time - the company has a long history of working with leaders in architecture, art and design to enhance and enliven places and environments in tune with modern lifestyles.
“Our vision is to create Places People Prefer and design forms an integral part of delivering buildings and environments that make a positive difference to people’s lives," says British Land CEO, Chris Grigg.
"Our partnership with the London Design Festival celebrates the world’s leading designers across different design disciplines. It’s a great partnership for us; at the heart of good design is the challenge to deliver the most impact and best outcome for the user whether it is an individual product, a single building or the wider environment.”
Among the festival's highlights is the first ever London Design Biennale, which will take over the entirety of Somerset House this September (7 – 27 September) with some of the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and cultural bodies for an exhibition exploring the role of design in our collective futures.
A group of more than 36 nations from six continents are developing presentations that will explore the Biennale’s inaugural theme Utopia by Design, addressing issues such as sustainability, migration, pollution, water and social equality.
Elsewhere, Italian luxury watch maker, Panerai, is collaborating with design duo Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren to create an installation entitled - The Green Room. Emulating the circular motion of the arms of a clock, The Green Room is both interactive and performative.
The V&A Engineering Season, meanwhile, will highlight the importance of engineering in our daily lives and consider engineers as the ‘unsung heroes’ of design, who play a vital and creative role in the creation of our built environment.
A newly-commissioned Garden installation by experimental architect Achim Menges with Moritz Dörstelmann, structural engineer Jan Knippers and climate engineer Thomas Auer will launch the Season.
Their first ever public commission in the UK, Elytra Filament Pavilion (18 May – 9 October 2016), will explore the impact of emerging robotic technologies on architectural design, engineering and making.
Inspired by a lightweight construction principle found in nature, the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra, the Pavilion will be an undulating canopy of tightly-woven carbon fibre cells created using a novel robotic production process.
The Pavilion will grow over the course of the V&A Engineering Season in response to data on structural behaviour and patterns of inhabitation of the Garden that will be captured by real-time sensors in its canopy fibres.
For a full programme of events, please visit the Festival's website.