Heads Up: London Design Festival

They're putting what in the middle of Trafalgar Square?

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The Independent Culture

What are we talking about? The 10-day London Design Festival celebrates its 10th birthday, with over 300 installations, events and fairs across the capital.

Elevator pitch Ten years in the making: the design fest of a decade.

Prime movers It was set up by Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans, and comes with the support of the London Mayor, Boris Johnson.

The stars Be Open is a sound portal – a black pod you can step into and be immersed in sound design – which will squat in the middle of Trafalgar Square and will feature installations by Tom Jenkinson of Squarepusher and sound artist CoH among others. Rolf Sachs drops in at the V&A – his installation will see brightly coloured pigment dropping precisely into a huge tank of liquid, down the Henry Cole Grand Staircase (not normally open to the public). Artist Keiichi Matsuda has created Prism, a giant suspended iceberg installation in the V&A which will be lit up with live data streams, reflecting the virtual life of the city. Also in residency are the Japanese design studio Nendo, whose Mimicry Chairs will pop up around the gallery. And lots, lots more…

The early buzz Website Offscreen wrote: "The London Design Festival is back in town … the streets of London will be filled with events and curious pieces of design, as the London Design Festival celebrates its 10th year. Right across London, from the V&A to Shoreditch, you will be able to see and experience innovative design from all over the world."

Insider knowledge The LDF will host the inaugural Global Design Forum at the new Central Saint Martins campus. A day of talks and debate on the role of design today and in the future, it's hoped it'll become a key annual event.

It's great that… the festival is when the London Design Medal gets awarded (previous winners include Zaha Hadid, Paul Smith, Thomas Heatherwick and) and this year there are three brand spanking new categories: lifetime achievement, emerging talent and entrepreneur. More medals! Medals for everyone!

It's a shame that… although there are loads of free events, the festival can seem like a bit of an insiders' club.

Hit potential Well, installations in Trafalgar Square and the V&A will hopefully pique public interest – and the design world is likely to be feeling celebratory on the 10th anniversary.

The details The London Design Festival is at various venues (londondesignfestival.com), 14-23 Sept.