Virtual Design Festival

Virtual Design Festival press information

Virtual Design Festival launched on 15 April! The URL for the festival is The festival, organised by online architecture and design magazine Dezeen, runs until 30 June.

Update: the festival has now been extended to 10 July due to strong demand. More details here.

For the latest details on what's happening please refer to the schedule, which is being constantly updated.

"While we cannot pretend that these are normal times, we can at least explore alternative ways of sharing design, helping others, coming together as a global community and doing business," said Dezeen's founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs, explaining the rationale behind VDF.

Highlights so far include:

Adam Nathaniel Furman declares a colourful new design movement called New London Fabulous

Ini Archibong launches a concept for a Pavilion for the African Disapora

Studio Drift live streams a secret drone performance over Rotterdam to celebrate Freedom Day

Tom Dixon launches radical new LED lighting system CODE

Launch movie featuring video messages from 35 creatives around the world

Exclusive launch of Li Edelkoort's manifesto for hope plus live interview with the influential trend forecaster

A celebration of Earth Day curated by Beatrice Galilee

Scroll down for more information. For all enquiries, or to receive a press pack including images, please contact [email protected].

Press cuttings

"World's first virtual design festival launches in response to Covid-19"

"The global design community has collaborated to launch the first virtual design festival in response to the coronavirus lockdown. Organised by the team at digital magazine Dezeen, products and talks from the schedules of several cancelled design weeks will appear online."

The Guardian

"Spirit-lifting, feel-good culture to enjoy during lockdown"

"From movie nostalgia to virtual gigs and the best new TV show, the BBC Culture team picks a selection of the latest movies, music, art, design and more to experience at home.

Architecture, fashion and design fans should check out Dezeen’s Virtual Design Festival (VDF). Launched this week and running until 30 June, the VDF schedule features talks, lectures, films and product launches, with an aim to 'support fairs and festivals around the world that have had to be postponed or cancelled,' as well as providing 'a platform for design businesses'."


"An Alice in Wonderland-style rabbit warren for design enthusiasts"

"Start clicking and you’ll emerge hours later. Highlights include Studio Drift’s drone performance over Rotterdam, a tour of Schloss Hollenegg hosted by a princess and cocktail-making classes at Milan’s Bar Basso."

Financial Times

"Dezeen curates new online show to celebrate the best from designers around the world"

"The Virtual Design Festival is rescuing cancelled spring and summer shows with a free online feast of style. It’s free to view on and has content for everyone from professional architects, designers, and makers to all individuals interested in design.

Evening Standard

"Design world responds to coronavirus with virtual festival"

"A Virtual Design Festival featuring a rolling programme of talks, debates, exhibitions and product launches is one example of designers adapting to coronavirus. Big names Kelly Hoppen, David Chipperfield and Tom Dixon will contribute ideas, as designers propose health solutions and a ‘plethora of speculative projects’."

South China Morning Post

"We will meet again at Bar Basso"

"The festival was launched by the online magazine Dezeen, with a video that gives voice to thirty-five designers from all over the world. And the video starts right from the Bar Basso in Milan, as a usual meeting place for creatives, with the landlord opening the door, locked for the health emergency."

Corriere della Sera

"Dezeen launches Virtual Design Festival"

"Online magazine Dezeen has today launched the Virtual Design Festival, a programme the publication bills as the "world's first online design festival".


"Feed your mind with design"

"Dezeen magazine’s new Virtual Design Festival brings a trove of architecture, exhibits, and events online. Fresh content pops up daily, like a May 6 video interview with Amsterdam fashion designer Iris van Herpen; an ongoing online showcase of new British furniture and wallpaper (check out the unexpectedly glam cannabis print!); and a May 9 live-stream tour of a new environmental art exhibit at Schloss Hollenegg, an Austrian palace."

National Geographic

"Ron Arad and the Serpentine Galleries join an online design festival"

"Several big names and prestigious institutions from the world of design are joining forces to bring their discipline to life with a Virtual Design Festival, which kicks off on April 15."

Yahoo News

The design sector will send a manifesto to the Government to "be part of the solution" in the coronavirus crisis

The design platform Dezeen has created the Virtual Design Festival, which is one of the most influential international reflection points."

El Pais

Design does good

"When the design calendar was suddenly wiped clean a few months back, Dezeen boldly stepped up."

Design Miami/

Quotes about VDF from architects and designers

Ron Arad: “A great initiative to bring us together at this extraordinary time.”

Tom Dixon."The Virtual Design Festival allows us an unexpected digital platform to describe our latest thinking."

Yves Behar: "I look forward to this digital festival with Dezeen."

Stefano Giovannoni: "Thank you Dezeen for keeping the light on."

Mark Dytham: "A huge thank you to the team at Dezeen for starting VDF, much needed at this time with so many degree shows and design weeks being cancelled"

Press release

Virtual Design Festival is a platform that will bring the design world together to celebrate the culture and commerce of our industry, and explore how it can adapt and respond to extraordinary circumstances.

It will host a rolling programme of online talks, lectures, movies, product launches and more. It will complement and support fairs and festivals around the world that have had to be postponed or cancelled and it will provide a platform for design businesses, so they can, in turn, support their supply chains.

"While we cannot pretend that these are normal times, we can at least explore alternative ways of sharing design, helping others, coming together as a global community and doing business," said Dezeen's founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs.

How Virtual Design Festival will work

From 15 April to 30 June we will host a rolling programme of online talks, lectures, movies, product launches and more. Some of these activities will replace those that we would have hosted at fairs and festivals around the world, but we also want to explore new and innovative formats, specially tailored for the digital sphere and for our locked-down world.

Launch movie

VDF launched on 15 April with an exclusive video made by Dezeen's in-house video team, compiled from short clips submitted by creatives around the world. In the clips, leading architects, designers and artists describe their experiences of the pandemic, explain how they are dealing with the challenges and give messages of hope to the world.

People who have contributed clips to the movie include:

Stefano Giovannoni
Fabio Novembre
Carlo Ratti
Hella Jongerius
Es Devlin
Ben van Berkel
Studio Drift
Beatrice Galilee
David Rockwell
Maarten Baas
Beatie Wolfe
Rosey Chan
Ini Archibong
Dara Huang
Lorenza Bozzoli
Arthur Mamou-Mani
Kelly Hoppen
Michel Rojkind
Klein Dytham Architecture
Pallavi Dean
Rajshree Pathy
Yinka Ilori
Bec Brittain

Cultural partners

At the heart of Virtual Design Festival is an ambitious programme of cultural activities, some of which are being programmed by Dezeen and some of which are being programmed by a host of partner institutions and companies.

The Design Museum, Dutch Design Week, Design Indaba, Ventura Projects and The World Around are among cultural partners who will be contributing to Virtual Design Festival.

Curator Beatrice Galilee of New York architecture conference The World Around will curate a full day of interviews, essays and videos for Earth Day on 22 April.

Forward Festival of Vienna will use the VDF platform to present a virtual conference on Friday 17 April - the day the festival was due to take place - featuring unseen videos of the best lectures by creatives from previous editions of the festival.

On Monday 20 April, Lisbon's MAAT museum will present a series of videos explaining a major installation by architects SO-IL, that was due to open at the museum in March.

Virtual Design Festival partners

Further collaborations with cultural partners are currently being planned.

Other partners include Serpentine Galleries, What Design Can Do, London Festival of Architecture, Forward Festival, The Artling, Vienna Design Week, Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair and Stockholm Design Week, San Francisco Design Week, Sight Unseen, Pecha Kucha and architecture photography festival Zoomed In.

Creative partners

Creative partners include designers Ron Arad and Tom Dixon, artist Lucy McRae, musicians Beatie Wolfe and Rosey Chan, and trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, who will all be creating content for the festival.

Ron Arad will present a digital version of an exhibition called D.F.W.T.M that was due to be held at OTI gallery in Los Angeles, but which has been cancelled due to coronavirus.

Arad described VDF as "a great initiative to bring us all together at this extraordinary time".

Beatie Wolfe will give a live performance via a video-conferencing link, after which she will create a special vinyl record of the show, which fans will be able to order.

Product launches, brand collaborations and student shows

Like any design fair, VDF also has a commercial side to it. Designers and brands can use VDF to launch products and commission videos, interviews, panel discussions and more, to bring their products and services to Dezeen's global audience. Student groups will be able to use VDF to hold simple, affordable virtual shows to replace graduation shows that cannot take place.

Other commercial platforms are still being developed.

About Dezeen

Dezeen is the world's most popular and influential architecture and design magazine. Founded in 2006, it now has more than three million readers every month, a social media audience of over five million and over 500,000 newsletter subscribers.

Dezeen is one of the 3,500 most popular websites in the world according to Alexa, and one of the top 1,000 websites for reader comments. Dezeen has won over 30 prestigious awards for the quality of its journalism and publishing.

Press enquiries

For more information please contact [email protected].