The $100-million festival easing London's Brexit woes
Amid concerns about Brexit's impact on the UK's creative industries, this year's London Design Festival (LDF) offers a timely reminder of how important design is to the country's economy.
Now in its 15th year, the festival will see London open its doors to designers and visitors from around the world. Shops, galleries, public spaces, hotel lobbies, cafes and museums will host events and exhibitions throughout LDF's 10-day program.
As well as showcasing the strengths of the creative industries -- which collectively contribute £84 billion ($109 billion) a year to the British economy -- the festival itself claimed to be worth an estimated £79.6 million ($103 million) to London in 2015.
"People have established, run and successfully sold their businesses via the Festival," says the event's director, Ben Evans. "Our commissioning process for young designers really showcases their work early on in their careers."
The festival provides an unparalleled platform that attracts the top designers looking to present their work to an international audience in one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities. London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, believes the festival's international appeal underlines the capital's status as a global design powerhouse.
"London is the design capital of the world, attracting the very best companies and talent," he claims. "I'm delighted to support this wonderful festival, which shows that London is open to great ideas, innovation and to all people."
The 2017 edition, which takes place from Sept. 16 to 24, will see over 400 events, exhibitions and installations take place across the city. The festival and its main partner, British Land, have commissioned a series of major projects to mark the 15th anniversary, including textile designer Camille Walala's "soft-textured building-block castle" at Broadgate Circus in the heart of the City of London.
The festival's main hub at the Victoria and Albert Museum will once again present a program of installations within its exhibition spaces, including Flynn Talbot's colorful illumination of the Prince Consort's Gallery, and Ross Lovegrove's fluid sculpture made from folded material in the tapestry room.
New for 2017 is Design Frontiers at Somerset House, where a series of installations and exhibitions will showcase pioneering work from international designers. Other highlights will include major trade shows, such as 100% Design, London Design Fair and Designjunction.
According to Evans, London remains among the world's top cities for design, with the London Design Festival playing a key role in reaffirming this position.
"Few cities have a cultural infrastructure like ours," he suggests. "We are culturally spoiled, and London Design Festival has contributed to that. International brands have seen what's happening and want to be a part of it."