We can expect senior players in design to remain optimistic in recession. As Jeremy Myerson suggested in last week’s Private View (DW 7 May), this time the ditch may be deeper than in previous downturns, but design has dug itself out more than once and bounced back eventually, better equipped as a business.
It is therefore not surprising that Sir John Sorrell should take the opportunity of last week’s preview of the London Design Festival to goad the design community to seize the opportunities recession can bring. Sorrell’s view that design thrives in adversity is well known, but he now suggests that the demise of the banking sector shifts the emphasis away from London gaining global kudos as a world financial centre towards its claim to be the world capital of creativity.
It can be done – witness what Interactive Africa has done to boost South Africa’s reputation through design – and, judging by the contents so far revealed for September’s LDF, a major start has been made on proving the case.
Fun events like Jaime Hayón’s chess game, destined for Trafalgar Square, may be showstoppers, but there looks like being a lot more depth to the content this year, painting a broader picture of design.
One masterstroke is the partnership between the LDF and the Victoria & Albert Museum. What better place can there be to celebrate design than in that cradle of creativity past and present? Then there is 100% Design’s decision to join the festival throng, while reinventing itself as a creative hub, courtesy of Jam Design. In the face of commercial adversity, it looks set to represent creativity, rather than just be a trade show.
The LDF is but a short-term manifestation of UK design. But the energy behind the 2009 event and the quality of ideas being mooted bode well for the industry at large and public perception of it. It promises to be a huge source of inspiration – and possibly work – for all involved. Let’s keep the creative momentum going however tough it becomes.