Since she took over as director in 2005 Gwyn Miles has achieved great things at Somerset House, without Government support, which has put her and the central London venue in the Hot 50 before.
Popular events at Somerset House include ice-skating, open-air concerts and film showings. But its role in promoting design has been growing, not least because The Sorrell Foundation now resides there, and it has hosted major London Design Festival events.
It is included this year on two counts. First, Miles is hinting at new plans for the listed 18th-century palace to create a large auditorium along one flank. We expect more on this in due course.
Second, curator Claire Catterall has developed a programme of events that will ensure regular footfall. The Show Studio exhibition in 2009 centred on fashion, combining digital installations and movies by the consultancy with live photoshoots by photographers including Nick Knight for magazines like Vogue and ID. There was a design sale in the lead-up to Christmas.
Plans are now afoot for Pick Me Up: Graphic Art Fair in April, in which Catterall aims to blend mainstream graphics and the work of international stars like Stefan Sagmeister with ‘edgier East End’ groups.