1 June 2023

John Sorrell is stepping back from his role as Chairman of the London Design Festival twenty years after founding the world famous event with Ben Evans in 2003.

The aim was to create an annual event that would celebrate London as the design capital of the world and promote the city’s creativity as a vital part of the UK’s world class creative industries.

In a speech at the Globe Theatre in 2002, John quoted the playwright Ben Johnson’s prologue to The Alchemist to illustrate his idea. “Our scene is London” proclaimed Johnson. "This festival will mix fireworks and contemplation. It will not be confined to convention centres and exhibition halls, it will spill out into the streets and take over the whole city”. Twenty years on, the London Design Festival has delivered its promise, become a key moment in the global design calendar and provided the model for other annual design events in cities across the world. 

John is also stepping back from his role as President of the London Design Biennale which he and Ben founded in 2016. The Biennale is a platform for international collaboration through design, exploring its global role with an exhibition and installations by countries and cities. John says, “The mission is very ambitious. Design is a universal language and the Biennale gives us all an opportunity to have a conversation about how design can solve problems and help make the world a better place”.

We thank John for his vision and direction throughout the years.

Team Members

Sir John Sorrell CBE


Ben Evans CBE

Executive Director

Victoria Broackes


Nieuwe Instituut

Artistic Director

Gianfranco Chicco

Head of Content and Digital

Carolyn Addelman

Producer and Senior Project Manager

Angela Bourderye-Munoz

External Relations and Events Manager

Sophie Clark

Assistant Project Manager

Sujata Burman


Elise Bousquet

Marketing Manager

Rose Abdollahzadeh

Director of Partnerships and Social Impact

Uzma Kiyani

Partnerships Manager

Tahir Ali

Finance Manager

Jess Gilchrist

Live Exhibition Manager

Kirsteen Martin

Project Manager

Nico Pianet

Project Manager

Julia Wickham

Project Manager

Sophia Chumber

Project Manager

Chris McGill


Harriet Thorpe

Catalogue Sub-Editor


Graphic Design and Identity