London Digital Week, scheduled for 21-27 September, is the brainchild of Jimmy MacDonald, co-director of Tent London, Chester Chipperfield, founder of digital consultancy Emak Mafu, and Will Rowe, who runs online science and culture forum Protein.
MacDonald says, ‘At its most simplistic, LDW will be a seven-day slot in the calendar, which will become an aggregate of digital events.’
The programme includes Tent Digital, an exhibition showcasing digital design at Tent London’s Truman Brewery venue. It also covers Web developer conference Flash on the Beach in Brighton. ‘Tent London had been attracting a growing number of digital-related people, and it was obvious that people wanted a digital-based exhibition,’ says MacDonald.
‘We couldn’t afford not to develop that offer.’ Last year’s Tent London saw initiatives such as the launch of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Phone, and an LG sponsored bar. ‘It’s particularly important to grow beyond product and furniture design in the current economic environment, considering the state of industries such as architecture,’ says MacDonald.
‘We’re looking for all sorts of digital innovation, not just design restricted to websites.’
This is also the manifesto of i-Design, the LDF’s digital element, which is run by Dynamo London, an initiative set up by Applied Information Group and digital media information hub New Media Knowledge.
Fresh out of a steering group meeting for this year’s i- Design, which will be held on 24 September, Ian Delaney, editor and publisher of New Media Knowledge, says the big theme emerging for this year is that digital is no longer to be treated as an entity on its own.
‘Digital is now part of everyone’s lives,’ says Delaney. ‘There are no dividing lines left – elderly people are playing on their Wiis, people are carrying around mobiles in their pockets with all the features of personal computers.’ This lack of borders will be explored in this year’s i-Design, says Delaney.
Malcolm Garrett, creative director of AIG, says this year’s i-Design will be ‘bigger, better and more connected across the interaction design industry’.
MacDonald says the relationship between the LDW and the LDF is very close – Tent London, indeed, will be a hub for both events. This is despite the two being very different beasts, with LDW a privately funded start-up and the LDF, which is funded by the London Development Agency, now in its seventh year. ‘Will [Knight, deputy director of the LDF], and I spoke about LDW in Milan,’ says MacDonald.
His aspiration is for LDW to co-exist with LDF in the same way London Fashion Week does. He adds, ‘We deliberately chose not to have a digital festival, but to have a digital week to avoid any politics and make sure it fits in seamlessly. The only competition between us [and LDF] will be to find the great people first.’
Delaney agrees, saying, ‘We’re extremely excited and supportive of LDW. I’d like to think the digital scene is big enough to support both our events.’ He adds that LDW might even provide opportunities for companies such as NMK.
MacDonald’s vision for LDW is one that expands from providing support for ‘earlystage’ digital designers who lack the resources to exhibit at Tent, through to high-level tieups with global technology firms. He concludes, ‘The key thing is we want it to grow naturally and organically. We don’t have anyone telling us what to do or expecting a measurable level of achievement.’
LDW EVENTS CONFIRMED SO FAR
- Flash on the Beach Web development conference to be held in Brighton from 20-23 September
- Tent Digital exhibition will be at the Truman Brewery from 24-27 September
- Protein events, details TBC