London Design Festival gears up for weekend of events showcasing industry bests

By Ruth Hazard | 21 September 2012
More than 300 events are taking place across the capital as part of London Design Festival© London Digital Festival
Festival Preview: London Design Festival, various venues, London, until September 23 2012

From the new bus for London to the Olympic torch, there's no denying it’s been a great year for the capital’s design industry.

The London Design festival aims to capture the best of 2012’s achievements in a cultural and a commercial event at venues across the city.

The brainchild of Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans, the festival is now in its centenary year. The multitude of events featuring on the 2012 programme are testament to a remarkable year of creativity and innovation in the city.

"The London Design Festival continues to present design in new ways to an ever expanding audience,” says director Ben Evans.

“We stay ahead by being different and more relevant each year."

A centerpiece of the Festival is Landmark Projects, for which some of the world's greatest architects and designers have created pieces of work for London's best-loved public spaces.

The programme also includes major international exhibitions, trade events, installations, talks, seminars and product launches.

Here are our top five picks for the festival's closing weekend:

BE OPEN sound portal

New for this year’s festival, the BE OPEN sound portal is a celebration of design you can’t see- that of acoustics and sound.

Sitting in the heart of London’s Trafalgar Square, the installation offers visitors the chance to engulf themselves in a musical cocoon, with commissions by five different audio artists being played throughout the weekend.

Designs on Chocolate

Five designers were paired with five top chocolatiers for this Willy Wonka-style project which asked the teams to create cocoa-rich sculptural designs that reference London.

Although it's easy to get distracted salivating over the chocolatey wonders, it's worth noting that some seriously impressive design work went into their creation given the delicate (and temptingly delicious) nature of construction material.

V&A Digital Design Weekend

As the festival hub, the V and A has a vast offering of festival fare, with exhibits taking over the museum’s galleries, gardens and even the entrance tunnel.

For the closing weekend the site will play host to a bonanza of digital design based demonstrations and interactive installations, including the chance to have your portrait sketched by Patrick Tresset’s Paul the Robot.

Art in Miniature

To celebrate the miniature art featured on Royal Mail stamp designs, the team behind this festival project have set out a trail of mini-masterpieces for participants to hunt down around the city.

Expect to find the designs hiding in venues such as the V and A, the Fashion and Textile Museum, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the London Transport Museum, as well as some unexpected "guerilla locations".


This one-off event will see a defunct 1960s Royal Mail sorting office transform into a multi-storey, 10,000 sqm venue hosting all manner of design-based attractions.

Pop-up shops, large-scale installations and working flash factories will showcase design brands and small labels alike, while cafes, bars and live entertainment will provide a leisurely backdrop to the whole affair.

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
  • Back to top
  • | Print this article
  • | Email this article
  • | Bookmark and Share