London to Host World Design Congress for the First Time in 56 Years

The World Design Congress is set to return to London in September 2025, marking the first time the event will be hosted in the city in 56 years. Organized by the World Design Organization and hosted by the UK’s Design Council, the prestigious congress will take place at the Barbican Centre, bringing together over 1,000 individuals from the international design community, along with thought leaders from business, research, and education.

The biennial event, previously held in cities such as Tokyo, Mexico City, and Seoul, will coincide with the London Design Festival in September 2025. The Barbican Centre, renowned for its iconic brutalist architecture, was chosen as the venue for the Congress, aligning with its theme of “Design for Planet.” The event will address pressing issues such as climate change and the role of design in reducing carbon emissions and promoting biodiversity.

In addition to hosting the World Design Congress, the Barbican is actively involved in the Barbican Renewal Programme, an ambitious project aimed at reimagining the arts centre while maintaining its unique features and enhancing public and creative spaces. The renewal project aligns with the congress theme and reflects the Barbican’s commitment to sustainability.

Commenting on the selection of the Barbican as the venue, Charlie Smith, Deputy Head of Sales at the Barbican, expressed pride in aligning with the event’s focus on design, culture, and sustainability.

“We’re incredibly proud to have won an event that aligns so perfectly with the Barbican’s unique design, cultural offerings and sustainable values. We play an important role in providing a platform for artistic and educational work which discusses and develops solutions for our planet and this event is an example of that. We are excited to have been chosen for such a high-profile global event and look forward to welcoming delegates from around the world in 2025.”

The Design Council, who have been selected to host the event, are the UK’s national strategic advisors on design. Founded in 1944 by Winston Churchill’s government to help drive the post-war economy, they are now supporting the 1.97 million people working in the UK design sector to tackle the biggest challenge of our time through their Design for Planet mission.

Minnie Moll, Chief Executive of the Design Council added: “Both London and the Barbican represent the height of creativity, inspiration and design, which is why they are the perfect choice for the 2025 Congress, particularly with its focus on sustainability.  The Barbican has demonstrated time and again that it is a world leader in event sustainability, and we look forward to developing the themes of the event around its incredible offering.”

London hosted the sixth edition of the World Design Congress in 1969, which was attended by almost 1,000 delegates from 39 countries, including special guest of honour H.R.H. Princess Margaret. With its rich history in design and culture, London remains an ideal location for the Congress, particularly as it focuses on sustainability and global design issues.

 About the Barbican

The Barbican is a catalyst for creativity, sparking possibilities for artists, audiences, and communities. We showcase the most exciting art from around the world, pushing traditional artistic boundaries to entertain and inspire millions of people, create connections, provoke debate, and reflect the world we live in.

We are an international arts and events centre rooted firmly in our own neighbourhood, collaborating with local communities and putting the City of London on the map as a destination for everybody. Central to our purpose is supporting emerging talent and shaping opportunities that will accelerate the next generation of creatives.

As a not-for-profit, we rely on the generosity of individuals and organisations, including our principal funder the City of London Corporation. Every ticket purchased, donation made, and pound earned supports our arts and learning programme and enables the widest possible range of people to experience the joy of the arts.

Opened in 1982, the Barbican is a unique and audacious building, recognised globally as an architectural icon. As well as our theatres, galleries, concert halls and cinemas, we have a large conservatory with over 1,500 species of plants and trees, a library, conference facilities, public and community spaces, restaurants, bars, and a picturesque lakeside oasis.

We’re proud to be the home of the London Symphony Orchestra, and a London base of the Royal Shakespeare Company. We regularly co-commission, produce and showcase the work of our other associates and partners including the Academy of Ancient Musicthe BBC Symphony OrchestraBoy BlueBritten SinfoniaCheek by JowlDarbar FestivalDoc’n Roll Film FestivalDrum WorksEFG London Jazz FestivalHuman Rights Watch Film FestivalLondon Palestine Film FestivalSerious, and Trafalgar Entertainment.


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