London Design Festival, 18-26 September 2021

London Design Festival’s 19th Edition

18-26 SEPTEMBER 2021

Established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell CBE and Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world.

London Design Festival has since earned the reputation as a key calendar moment of London’s autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival, attracting the greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to the capital, in a citywide celebration.

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1 July 2021, London, UK: London Design Festival returns for its 19th edition from 18-26 September 2021. The Festival will once again transform the capital’s landmarks, neighbourhoods and cultural institutions with a series of outdoor installations, exhibitions and special events that will bring people together as London continues to reopen.

Since its inception in 2003, the Festival has hosted the world’s leading design thinkers, practitioners and educators and has shone a spotlight on the city’s creative brilliance that has helped cement London’s reputation as the design capital of the world.

Sir John Sorrell CBE, London Design Festival Chairman, said: “London has some of the world’s greatest designers living and working here, who come from all over and make this city their home. Over the years, this has enabled us to develop exciting programmes which showcase both design’s joyous side but also the ideas and innovations with the capacity to shape our societies. We hope that this year’s Festival will not only be seen by those in London but audiences all around the world, and that we’re able to demonstrate that design will be at the heart of the future.”

In 2020, as one of the only creative events to take place, the Festival played an important role in providing a platform for the creative sector, and enabled businesses and individuals to reconnect, demonstrate their resilience and support one another.

As a result of the pandemic, there has been a rise in hyper-localisation. This year’s Festival will provide an inventive enquiry of design and enable audiences to rediscover the entire city, playing a central role in London’s economic recovery.

Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival Director, said: “Cultural and creative activity is a powerful tool to help reignite the city and kick-start London’s economy. London Design Festival will provide the public and visitors with an opportunity to take to the streets to discover new pockets of London, and find works by leading designers and emerging talent, while enjoying all the city has to offer.”


In collaboration, Tin Drum, the world’s leading mixed reality studio and technology developer, and acclaimed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto will premiere a new Mixed Reality installation Architecture + Reality (A+R) at the V&A, which examines structure, nature and visualisation. A succession of natural and architectural features will slowly morph and evolve based on the movement of audiences in the space, creating an almost living design that indicates the interrelation of all things and prompts thought about climate change, the role of nature in modern life and designed space. The Mixed Reality presentation will take audiences on a journey of discovery while experiencing greater depth, contours, and physicality. The installation will be accompanied by a score combining natural sounds and original composition.

As part of the Mayor of London’s initiative Let’s Do London, London Design Festival 2020 Emerging Design Medal winner Yinka Ilori will be leading a major initiative that will transform central London and the City of London into an outdoor art gallery. The project is a collaboration between the City of London Corporation, London Design Festival, Cheapside Business Alliance and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Asphalt Art Initiative, which provides grants for arts-driven street redesigns that improve safety, revitalise public spaces, and engage local communities.

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “I am delighted that the London Design Festival returns in September with a spectacular series of installations and exhibitions from creatives from across the globe. The festival showcases our city as the design capital of the world and illustrates how our creative and cultural industries will power our economic recovery from the pandemic. Through our Let’s Do London campaign we are welcoming visitors and Londoners safely back to our capital to enjoy the world-class culture on offer, and the London Design Festival is at the heart of this.”

Catherine McGuinness, City of London Corporation Policy Chair, said: “Arts and culture will be at the forefront of London’s economic recovery from the pandemic. The sector is deeply rooted in the history of the City and part of what makes the capital so attractive to visitors, residents and workers alike. As the UK’s fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities, we’re supporting the creative sector so that it can play a leading role in London’s reopening. The vibrancy and buzz which makes the City such an exciting place in which to work and visit is fast returning.”


In a first for London Design Festival, for 2021, each of the city’s 10 design districts will be celebrated with a unique sculptural waymarker to welcome visitors and communicate the distinctive character of the district. To create these Designposts, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and revered furniture makers Benchmark have teamed up with 10 of the most exciting talents of the emerging design generation, giving the students a much-needed platform to display their skills. Under the mentorship of Izaskun Chinchilla, Professor of Architectural Practice at Bartlett School of Architecture, and Peter Marigold, Professor of Design and Entrepreneurialism from London Metropolitan University, the selected students and recent graduates will each develop a Designpost, visiting Benchmark’s workshop in Kintbury, Berkshire, to craft their design from sustainable American red oak.

Carrie Coningsby will be designing for Islington, Alba Elezi for Kings Cross; Daegyu Kim for Mayfair; Darta Shokrzadeh for Southwark South; Megan Makinson for Shoreditch; Aude Saint Joanis for Park Royal; Kate Woodcock-Fowles for Clerkenwell; Faye Greenwood for William Morris Design Line; Jason Brooker for Design District at Greenwich Peninsula; and Jonah Luswata for Brompton.


London Design Festival at the V&A, is a unique collaboration between the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, and London’s foremost contemporary design festival. Now entering the 12th year together as the official Festival Hub, this collaboration will see iconic spaces within the Museum transformed by an extraordinary collection of specially-commissioned installations and displays by international contemporary designers.

This year, in the lead up to the UK hosting international climate summit COP26 in November – installations, projects, performances and events will explore design thinking in the challenge of climate change with projects focusing on a low-carbon future, the circular economy and climate justice. Digital Design Weekend will also return this year on 25 and 26 September with artists, engineers and technologists for a weekend of workshops, talks and demonstrations exploring the intersection of technology and design.


From North to South, East to West, the Design Districts are a key component of the Festival makeup. Each District has its own unique personality that reflects the local community and enables visitors to explore events a short walking distance from each other. There will be 10 Design Districts as part of this year’s Festival: Brompton Design District, Clerkenwell Design District, Islington Design District, King’s Cross Design District, Mayfair Design District, Shoreditch Design Triangle, returning after its successful debut last year William Morris Design Line, and newly launched for 2021, Design District at Greenwich Peninsula, Park Royal Design District and Southwark South Design District.

Park Royal Design District will be a thriving hub of creativity, experimentation and innovation. Furniture makers, leatherware, jewellery and fashion designers, artists, musicians and filmmakers will throw open their doors to visitors. Southwark South Design District will broaden the festival’s reach and accessibility, celebrating local talent and showcasing the impressive breadth and scope of creative output within the areas of Peckham, Old Kent Road and Camberwell. Comprising 16 extraordinary buildings by eight world-leading architects, Design District at Greenwich Peninsula will house a dynamic new community of creative enterprises of all sizes. The district will host architecture tours led by Open City and a programme of talks from leading creative thinkers and makers.


As part of the Festival programme, London Design Festival stages major trade shows, known as Design Destinations. These are the commercial pillars of the Festival and are key meeting places for designers, manufacturers, buyers, specifiers, the media and design enthusiasts to discover new product releases and identify current trends. Making its debut in 2021, Design London (22-28 September 2021) will showcase a curated selection of cutting-edge furniture, lighting and contract interiors brands as well as collaborations with renowned and emerging designers.


Since 2007, world-renowned creative agency Pentagram, have produced an annual graphic identity for each iteration of the Festival – responding to, and anticipating trends in design and typology.

While the Festival’s colour theme of white on red has been consistent, Pentagram have adapted each brief to produce distinctive visual identities to ensure that each edition of the Festival is unique. Domenic Lippa, Partner at Pentagram, has led the creative direction of the branding and visual design for the Festival since its inception. Titled Form, this year’s identity uses typography to explore dimensional depth.

Domenic Lippa, Partner at Pentagram, said: “Our lives are multi-dimensional, and so is design. All design has shape, structure and yes, form. It can change and develop and can inform the space it inhabits. And this includes our society.”

Further information for this year’s programme as well as details of the Global Design Forum, London Design Festival’s curated thought leadership programme, and this year’s London Design Medal winners will be announced over the summer.