Digital offer to change at 2010 London Design Festival

London Design Festival’s digital showcases look set to change next year, with the i-Design conference possibly taking place in October and Tent London hoping to expand its digital design element, with a view to launching it as a standalone event.

Organisers of i-Design, which will be branded as i- DesignX for the 2010 event, are considering moving its main event to October ‘to allow more design colleges and students to get involved’, says i-Design co-producer Tara Solesbury. The organisers are also thinking of trailing the main conference with an event during the 2010 LDF, which will run from 18-26 September.

This year, Tent London’s inaugural Tent Digital event featured ten interactive designers, but its organisers hope to attract about 60 exhibitors next year.

‘Digital designers have never had much of a platform at the LDF, so we hope to grow Tent Digital and include more digital disciplines, including Webbased work and augmented reality next year,’ says Tent London co-director Jimmy MacDonald. He sketches out plans to showcase the use of digital design in advertising ‘to see where adland is going’.

Eventually, MacDonald hopes to hive off the digital element – which has its own branding – and align it with the nascent London Digital Week, which he co-organised for the first time last month.

Another new focus for next year’s Tent London will be crafts, says MacDonald. ‘There is a strong trend towards craft in design, as brands and designers try to differentiate their offers and products through a return to quality and craftsmanship.’ Tent designed the Collect exhibition for the Crafts Council earlier this year, but the Crafts Council will not be involved in next year’s Tent, says MacDonald.

He adds that the 2010 show may also feature a section dedicated to lighting – ‘not lampshade design, but lighting as a source’.

The main, furniture-focused part of the show is also likely to expand slightly next year, as MacDonald hopes to attract more international country stands. He estimates that the show will grow by at least 1000m2 next year to fill 6000m2 of space at east London’s Truman Brewery, where Tent will remain for the foreseeable future.

‘There simply aren’t any other venues as big and as interesting as the brewery in London,’ observes MacDonald. He is in talks with the building’s owner about readying more of its local properties for Tent for next year’s event.

‘It looks like we are quite rapidly approaching the size of 100% Design now, particularly since that shrank quite dramatically this year,’ says MacDonald. However, he dismisses suggestions that Tent will compete with the traditional centre-piece of the LDF (see below).

‘Tent delivers something completely different to 100% Design, since we don’t describe ourselves as a furniture and interiors show, and we have the ability to enter different disciplines more readily.’

MacDonald claims that this year visitor numbers were up by about 1500 a day on last year’s event, reaching about 23 500.

100% DESIGN 2010

  • The London Design Festival’s central event will take place on 23-26 September next year
  • Jam will design it once again before ‘passing the baton on’ to another designer or group for the 2011 show, says 100% Design exhibition director Peter Massey
  • Like Tent London, 100% Design is aiming to attract more international exhibitors, particularly from ‘frontier design’ regions including South-East Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. ‘Manufacturing economies are investing a lot in design education and we want to give nascent brands and designers an opportunity to present themselves, and to provide a differentiation for London’s design festival,’ says Massey
  • 100% Design will publish its visitor numbers for this year’s event at the end of November

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