As always, there is a cornucopia of talks, events, exhibitions, trade shows and parties spread across town – more conservative in the west and a little more daring in the east. This year, 100%design feels much more like a trade show than the healthy mix of established and emerging, as has been customary in recent years.
As I walked around the show with two of the judges from this year’s Blueprint Awards, we couldn’t help but feel that perhaps the present economic situation of the country has had some effect. This is not lost on the Festival’s organisers who are keen to emphasise the importance of design in driving the UK’s economic revival. Chairman of the LDF, Sir John Sorrell said, “This year the key word on everyone’s lips is growth. With a £60bn creative industries sector that employs over 2 million people and produces nearly 6% of GDP, the government has identified our creative industries’ sector as crucial to growth. We all know design is the engine that drives the creative industries, so this year the London Design Festival will promote design not only as absolutely central to society and to culture – but also to the economy, to growth and the future”.
It is heartening to see that the value of design is increasingly taken seriously. In the recent budget statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said “We want the words: ‘Made in Britain’, ‘Created in Britain’, ‘Designed in Britain’ and ‘Invented in Britain’ to drive our nation forward – a Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers.” If only Australia could take a leaf out of the UK’s book….