The role of design in creating a knowledge economy looks set to be a focus of this year’s London Design Festival, as set out in EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson’s inaugural address last night.
Speaking at the opening reception of the LDF to a crowd comprising key design industry players, consultancies, clients and pundits, Mandelson shared his personal design legacy, revealing family connections with LDF forerunner, the 1951 Festival of Britain, before emphasising the importance of intellectual property and the role of design in EU trade policy.
‘My short, simple message this evening is that in the modern European economy we trade in ideas – in ‘content’. That is our unique selling point. The European economy is still very good at making things – every bit as good as China, or anywhere else. Europe has a trade surplus in manufacturing of €162bn (£129bn), so don’t believe those who say we’re finished,’ he said.
‘But what sets those things apart is the ideas behind them, the sophistication of the content and the intelligent processes that produce them. The creative capital, if you like. That’s our comparative advantage.’
Mandelson’s opening speech comes before the launch of Creative Britain later today by LDF founder Sir John Sorrell and Culture Secretary Andy Burnham.
The day-long event aims to highlight the Government’s Creative Economy Programme, which sets out the role of design and innovation in the UK economy.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising will lead Creative Britain in London’s Golden Square, W1, with four separate events including a business launch, an open house for GCSE students, a VIP reception and an evening celebration.
For further information, go to www.londondesignfestival.com.