London Design Festival has to make its objectives clear

Never has London been so abuzz with design events. It is hard to cram in the shows and parties of the London Design Festival, while the sheer size of the capital makes it difficult to even scratch the surface.

Events under the LDF umbrella promise to be as interesting as they are diverse. While last weekend’s London Open House – not strictly an LDF event, but a long-standing fixture that heralds its official opening – has public appeal, that other lynchpin, 100% Design, arguably attracts more architects and 3D designers. Coverage of graphics and the like is relatively sparse, but everyone is after a piece of the action.

The enormity of the festival provokes two main thoughts. Who is it aimed at, and should it be more focused, in terms of subject matter or geographical spread? This must be going through the mind of festival backer Creative London as it conducts its evaluation and eyes up potential organisers (see News, page 3).

The target audience is crucial. Conceived by John Sorrell to attract inward investment to London, the LDF originally had the World Creative Forum at its hub, a global conference with Davros-esque aspirations for world leaders to meet to discuss creative issues.

The WCF was shortlived and is unlikely to be revived in London, though reports are that the Design Embassy at the ICA is providing a valuable meeting point for designers and overseas clients. The long-established 100% Design extravaganza meanwhile remains the natural focus for international visitors.

Interestingly, overseas parties visiting London this week include delegations from India and China. These are more likely fact-finders bent on developing their own creative industries than potential investors.

As for geography, London is not like Milan, doable in a few days. Should activities be contained in, say, 100% Design’s west London hinterland or the creative heartland of the east?

What do you think? How should Creative London spend its money?

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