First held in 2003, the London Design Festival is an annual celebration that brings together a global community of artists, architects, and designers to create projects focusing on the power of design. This year over 400 events and installations will take place all over the capital, from the V&A Museum to Trafalgar Square. These projects reflect the stimulating diversity of creative thinking, and are all united in their ability to inspire and entertain.
Through an initiative that was first introduced in 2007, the Festival commissions pioneering new talents, to create something extraordinary in response to a material, theme or location. These installations, that are inspired and dictated by their surrounding have appeared in some of London’s most prominent and best loved spaces. Over past years, the Festival has hosted several interventions in Trafalgar Square, including a giant chess set, a Sound Portal and a light show mounted by an assembly line of robots from the Audi production line. Such landmark projects have brought an awareness of design and its possibilities to the very centre of London and its cultural life.
In April this year the London Design Festival launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring Visionary Crazy Golf to Trafalgar Square, with holes created by some of the UK’s most renowned creatives. The aim is to raise ￡120,000, and the course will be open from 16-22 September, coinciding with the Festival itself. Anyone can pledge between ￡5 to ￡5,000, and those that do will receive a reward by one of the designers, who include Paul Smith, Tom Dixon, Mark Wallinger and a favourite of Bookblock, Camille Walala.
One of Britain’s most distinguished designers, Paul Smith, is the curator and ambassador for the scheme, and has created limited edition accessories – from socks to scarves – to celebrate the project and as Kickstarter rewards. Smith will transform the steps from the National Gallery into a riot of different coloured stripes, topped by a neo-classical clubhouse that echoes the museum, but has a turf roof and putters for columns.
Other holes include Tom Dixon’s funnel and nest of pneumatic tubes; a circuitous maze by Mark Wallinger; a netted driving range by the Japanese studio Atelier Bow-Wow; and a cross-section by Ordinary Architecture of a giant pigeon, through which players can hit their golf balls. Each design team will create a miniature pavilion that makes a statement about the future of architecture and fills Trafalgar Square with Pop Art colours and avant-garde forms.
Paul Smith, curator and ambassador for the project, said: “All of the designers I invited to take part, both distinguished and emerging talents, have been given free rein to be playful, original and have fun. The result will be a wonderful and accessible display, right at the heart of London, which will celebrate design and creativity, and explore engineering and new materials. It will both entertain and inspire. Please help make it happen!”