The London Design Festival is considered one of the most important annual design events in the world. It is made up of over 400 events, exhibitions and talks of interest to the worlds of design and business alike. Catarina Matos, our Design Researcher recommends some things to see and do.

Every year, I am fascinated by the explosion of creativity that the London Design Festival brings. It is inspiring to see design being used to push the boundaries of imagination and spark innovation in business and society.

I think Sir John Sorrell, Chairman of the London Design Festival, puts it well: “What we see around the world is nations and cities that are increasingly recognising the power of design to bring social change and economic growth.”

This year, I have been particularly interested in the way design has been used to address pressing universal issues, and the way service design has been emerging in the industry.

Some of the events that I recommend are below.


The Supertalks at London Design Fair are exploring the idea that we are living in a moment when there is a major turning point for innovation and this demands a new approach for the design profession and education. The increasing complexity of problems demands a constant transformation of the educational approach and curriculum, in order to create professionals better prepared to respond to that complexity.



The V&A is hosting discussions on how design can enable social innovation, from the angles of new technology, education, and the role of international institutions. Global Design Forum brings world-class professionals to a series of talks and discussions exploring the role of design in a sustainable and prosperous future.



For the third year, Service Design Fringe Festival is promising to put the role of service design in the spotlight. Hosting a series of talks and workshops, they aim to discuss what defines this discipline and its importance to innovation in business and public sector alike.



London has also seen installations been inserted into some of its busiest and most popular streets and areas. The architect Asif Khan has created ‘Forest’, a three-part installation that explores the relationship between public and private space of the city. The installations offer visitors a temporary space to connect and relax, but also invites you to take plants home, grow them in your own home and share the plant’s progress on social media.



London Design Biennale has introduced itself for the first year with the topic “Utopia by Design”. Designers, architects, artists and scientists from 37 countries showcase their work at Somerset House. Their projects reflect a broad purpose for design, offering ways to address social problems such as pollution, migration, water conflict and inequality.

The London Design Festival runs between 17th and 25th of September 2016 across London. I am looking forward to stepping into this hub of creativity throughout this week and being inspired.

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