Barbican to host World Design Congress

Barbican to host World Design Congress

Barbican selected at the venue for the 34th World Design Congress in 2025

The World Design Congress will return to London in September 2025 for the first time in 56 years. The 34th event, which will take place at the Barbican Centre, will bring together over 1,000 individuals from the international design community as well as thought leaders from business, research and education to discuss and debate design issues of global importance.

The World Design Organization’s prestigious congress, which will be hosted by the UK’s Design Council, is a biennial, multi-day event, with previous host cities including Tokyo, Mexico City, and Seoul.

The event will run in partnership with the London Design Festival in September 2025 and will be supported by regional activations designed to put the UK at the heart of the global design community.

The Barbican was chosen as the venue for the Congress due to its iconic status as a unique and audacious building, recognised globally for its famous brutalist architecture.

The Design Council is also supporting with Barbican Renewal Programme, an ambitious project to reimagine what an arts centre can be by protecting what people love about the Barbican, while delivering improved public and creative spaces. The project will deliver a sustainable revitalisation that brings underused spaces into new creative use, all without adding a single square metre of extra building.

Barbican Renewal supports the Congress’ “Design for Planet” theme, which will consider the effects of climate change and the crucial role design has to help reduce carbon emissions and increase biodiversity.

Charlie Smith, Deputy Head of Sales at the Barbican, said: 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 HRH Princess Margaret.


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.


About Design Council

The Design Council is the UK’s national strategic advisor for design, championing design and its ability to make life better for all. It is an independent and not for profit organisation incorporated by Royal Charter. The Design Council uniquely works across all design sectors and delivers programmes with business, government, public bodies and the third sector. The work encompasses thought leadership, tools and resources, showcasing excellence, and research to evidence the value of design and influence policy. Their Design for Planet mission was introduced in 2021 to galvanise and support the 1.97 million people who work in the UK’s design economy to help achieve net zero and beyond.

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