Yet again the London Design Festival 2008 attracted not only the world's design press but more exhibitors, partners and members of the general public than ever before.
During the Festival's eleven-day run the organisers estimate that 300,000 people attended over 200 events across the capital celebrating all aspects of design, while 70,359 unique web-users visited the London Design Festival website in September. Ranging from the established shows such as 100% Design at Earl's Court, Tent London in the East End and Designersblock in Covent Garden to the more quirky fringe shows, pop up shops, talks and one day events the city came alive with design excellence.
After six years - it was first set up in 2003 to celebrate and promote London as the creative capital of the world - the London Design Festival is regarded as the first major event of the capital's autumn creative season, running parallel with London Fashion Week and heralding Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival which arrive in October.
Highlights of this year's Festival included the installation of David Adjaye's American tulip wood pavilion at the Royal Festival Hall, the first Veuve Clicquot London Design Festival Commission - "Portrait' designed by duo Fredrikson Stallard at Somerset House and Greengaged, the Festival's first sustainability hub that challenged designers to develop responses to the challenge of climate change and sustainability.
Many of the fringe shows, pop up shops and installations, talks and one-day events attracted large numbers of visitors drawn to the freshest design ideas available. The Festival team linked up with the Southbank Centre to develop a programme of events including The Business of Design talks series with The Financial Times, Digital Design Day in association with Carrenza and the Eureka exhibition with Design Nation.
This year's prestigious London Design Medal was won by Marc Newson, who accepted his accolade at a gala dinner hosted by Philips de Pury & Company and sponsored by Aston Martin.
The third London Design Embassy - the ultimate meeting place and "hub" for the Festival - was stylishly executed by Barber Osgerby and supported by the Charme Group. It attracted a wide range of visitors from all over the world, many of whom travelled to London assisted by UK Trade & Investment to do business with UK designers. The Design Embassy also housed the Festival's Press Office, which was much appreciated by the large number of international press, from as far afield as Serbia, Ukraine, South Korea and Russia, who covered the Festival.
At the Festival's opening reception at The Royal Festival Hall, Peter Mandelson, then EU Trade Commissioner, spoke about the importance of innovation and creative instinct and declared "nobody does it better than London, which is a magnet for creative talent from around the world and a global hub for the creative industries". He added "made in London and the UK is a brand we're rightly proud of, and a healthy design industry is absolutely key to that."
Next year's London Design Festival will run 19 - 27 September 2009.