London announced as host city for World Design Congress 2025
London has been announced as the host city for 34th edition of the World Design Organisation’s (WDO) biannual World Design Congress (WDC), which is due to take place from 17-19 September 2025 in conjunction with London Design Festival.
The capital’s win – unanimously voted for by the board of the WDO – was officially announced last night (29 October) at the close of the 33rd edition of the Congress, hosted in Tokyo for 2023. It will mark the first time the UK has hosted the event since the 6th World Design Congress held at the South bank Centre in 1969, which was attended by almost 1,000 delegates from 39 countries and featured Princess Margaret as the guest of honour.
A collective of design-focused organisations supported the 2025 bid , including London Design Festival, the Design Museum, Design Council, Design Business Association, the Creative Industries Council, the Royal College of Art, and University of Greenwich. There was also government support from UKRI, the Greater London Authority, the Mayor of London and DCMS.
Culture secretary Lucy Frazer says she recognises the UK’s “long history as a home of great design” and expresses the government’s desire to “maximise the potential of today’s creative talent”. She believes that hosting the World Design Congress in London will present “the perfect opportunity to showcase the best of British design on a global stage”.
While the event will be held in London – home to a third of all design businesses in the UK – it will look to champion design from all areas of the UK and showcase the UK’s design economy. Currently, the design sector is growing at twice the UK average, contributing £97.4bn in GVA to the UK economy and employing over 1.97 million people, according to the Design Council.
Design Council CEO Minnie Moll dubbed the Congress the “Olympics of design”, defining it as “the must-attend moment for 2025, full of optimism and innovation for the future”. The Design Council’s intent is to make the London World Design Congress 2025 a festival-like celebration of British design, comprising exhibitions, workshops, talks and more, available for the design community and the public.
Well known British designers will be headlining the three-day event – such as designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick and fashion designer Anya Hindmarch – but there will be opportunity for emerging talent to take the stage, according to the Design Council.
The theme is set to be Design for Planet, following on from the Design Council’s annual festival which brings together over 4,000 members of the global design community, in a bid to highlight the crucial role that design plays in addressing the climate crisis. Moll explains that, while “design is not separate from being one of the causes of climate change”, the industry is in “a unique position to help fix the problem” and help people “make informed choices around circularity, modularity, materiality, repairability and lifecycle analysis”.
Acknowledging the theme The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan says that the World Design Congress is “an excellent opportunity to showcase the talents of [the UK’s] creative community, as leaders from across the world unite to put design at the heart of our efforts to address climate change”. He adds, “We all have a role to play in creating a more sustainable world, and I will continue to do all I can to support the industry as we build a greener and more prosperous London for all.”
The Congress and lead up campaign will aim to showcase “examples of where design is making a difference, proving what is possible and profiling London’s incredible design talent”, says the Design Council.