New London Architecture

Digital delights

Friday 22 May 2020

Tamsie Thomson

Tamsie Thomson

Director, London Festival of Architecture

At LFA Towers, the last week of May is usually a hectic whirl as the festival team puts the finishing touches to the latest edition of the London Festival of Architecture. We’d be bracing ourselves for a heady month of activities all across the capital, talking to dozens of event organisers, overseeing new LFA installations, and enjoying an opening party with the festival’s many friends and supporters before we got our heads down until July.
 
Sadly the traditional LFA public events programme won’t be happening this June for obvious reasons. We remain hopeful, however, that we will be able to produce a festival of physical events and installations across London later in the year, when it is safe to do so. And, happily, this year there’s more.

Pictured: Crossness Engines Trust_Waste in Style © Adam Gray SWNS
1 June sees the start of LFA Digital 2020 – the first ever online manifestation of the London Festival of Architecture, produced in record time in response to the Covid-19 lockdown. When we announced a delay to our normal programming, we were struck by the immediate and enthusiastic response from so many festival partners and supporters telling us that the show should go on – somehow. And so it shall. MIPIM, the Venice Biennale and Chelsea Flower Show have called it a day for 2020 – but I’m extremely proud that the London Festival of Architecture is much more resilient than that. We launched a call for entries for LFA Digital on 2 April, and only a few weeks later we’ve got ourselves a festival.
 
Taking the LFA online for the first time of course means that things will be different, but entirely in the spirit of experimentation that drives so much of what we do. In fact, now that our world has got so used to a digital existence, it would have felt odd not to have done something.

Pictured: Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects_Digital Design Surgeries © French + Tye
We will be revealing the LFA Digital 2020 programme on Monday 25 May at londonfestivalofarchitecture.org. Followers of the LFA will see some old festival favourites go digital – such as the Architecture Bake Off – and I’m thrilled to see a lot of brand new digital content being created especially for the LFA. Our rich LFA Digital programme includes over 120 events throughout June, encompassing everything from online building tours, talks and films to new artwork and a series of fascinating short talks by leading Londoners.

Pictured: The Great Architectural Bake-Off © Tom Horton
Everyone seems to enjoy imagining a ‘new normal’ and for the LFA it will be strange if, in future, the ‘normal’ LFA does not include a rich seam of digital content alongside physical events. For now, I’m thrilled to be launching such an amazing digital programme, which has only been made possible by my brilliant festival team and our unrivalled creative network. And so, this year, my last week of May won’t be too different after all. My opening party could be a homemade Negroni in the garden – but otherwise it’s heads down to July once again. I hope you’ll join us!

Pictured: A live stream tour of Adolf Loos’ Villa Winternitz, Czech Centre © David Cysar


Tamsie Thomson

Tamsie Thomson

Director, London Festival of Architecture



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