Hot fifty – Southbank Centre

The refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank has attracted considerable media attention. There have been mixed reviews about the work carried out by architect Allies and Morrison in accommodating shops and restaurants along the river frontage of the building, but interior restorations have generally been met with great acclaim.

The RFH revamp draws together work by a host of designers (including Robin Day, Peter Moro, Conran & Partners and Michelle Mason), as did the original building that was the centrepiece of the Festival of Britain in 1951. But the whole Southbank Centre has become synonymous with design since the completion of the project and the launch of its new identity by Wolff Olins last spring.

The RFH hosted various London Design Festival events last September, including the LDF’s opening event, the Design Embassy, designed by Ross Lovegrove, and the Y digital awards. The Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall meanwhile provided venues for the iDesign digital conference and a D&AD President’s Lecture by Dutch graphics star Irma Boom.

D&AD’s plan to stage its awards celebrations at the RFH this year reinforces the South Bank’s involvement with the creative industries, giving design a central London public venue that no official body has yet been able to provide.

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