Dear DLN Community,

I’m writing to share my personal outline for The London Summit. It’s a little long, but I hope you will take the time to read and enjoy.

My primary goal in this note is to convey that our program in London will be a diverse and varied experience covering a wide array of topics, experiences, venues, and opportunities for making connections. Some programs will be a large setting with all attendees, but many experiences will be small and intimate. The London Summit has been built around 7 completely different formats which taken together seek to make this an extraordinary, complete, and fulfilling experience that could only be shared though the DLN.

1. BLENHEIM PALACE: We unofficially kick off with a truly special evening at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, personally hosted by the 12th Duke of Marlborough and current resident of the home. Blenheim has been called a “monumental home,” “giant among buildings,” and one of the “most extraordinary homes in the world.”  It is the birthplace of Winston Churchill and the only non-royal country house in Britain able to be called a palace.  Our private evening will provide run of the house including a personal welcome from the Duke and a grand table worthy of the evening. (Please note, this event has limited capacity)

2. BEHIND THE SCENES: We will each have tough choices deciding among the “Behind the Scenes” experiences we will all undertake in groups of 15-25 as our first official program. What better way to start the Summit than in exclusive private homes, top design firm offices, unusual museums, private gallerieswith artists,studio tours with makers, and exclusive shopping to ensure intimate time with colleagues in unusual places across the city.  Not just an extension of the Summit, these special experiences are intended as core to our time together. Lee Mindel, Veere Grenney, Ilse Crawford, Kit Kemp, Nick Jones and Marcus Barwell (Soho House), Carpenters Workshop, White Cube Gallery, Andrew Winch, Natalie Farman Farma, Paul Whalen, Michael Imber, and Bryan Dicker are just some of our special hosts.  Some Behind the Scenes experiences are already full so sign up now!

3. KEYNOTE TALKS: Based on member feedback, we have carefully curated 6 keynote talks organized to take place over two days, hosted at architect George Grey Wornum’s the Royal Institute of British Architects headquarters. Two talks undertake to address big trends and strategies in design with one talk featuring London-based Chris Sanderson, founder of The Future Laboratory, and the other, Pauline Brown, the former Chairman of LVMH USA and author of a new book to be previewed first at the Summit entitled “Aesthetic Intelligence,” which Pauline equates to the concepts of “I.Q.” and “E.Q.”

Two talks will help us to understand ideas in contemporary design, with the first hosted by our friends at Carpenters Workshop Gallery and including designers Stuart Haygarth, Random International, and Matthew Lehanneur, and the second focusing on contemporary British style featuring Marek Riechman, the chief creative officer of Aston Martin, Isabel Ettedgui, the owner and design director of Connolly, and renowned fashion and product designer Jasper Conran.  

The final pair of talks will feature the evolution of British architectural as well as cultural heritage with the first featuring architect Ben Pentreath on new forms of urban development improving lives and aesthetics in England, and the second, a discussion lead by Vanity Fair writer and author James Reginato who will bring to life his recent book, “Great Houses Modern Aristocrats” and welcoming subjects profiled in the book including Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftsbury from the cover, an intriguing character who lived in Manhattan’s East Village prior to assuming his title, as well as Charles Courtenay, the 19th Earl of Devon.

4. DESIGN MASTERS: As always, we will celebrate our own design community through the Design Masters series of short talks in which we ask practicing designers, architects, and landscape architects to share how their firms work and what inspires them personally.  Refining the series further this year, we have asked MASS Design to represent architecture, Ilse Crawford to represent interior design, Jinny Blom to represent landscape, and Andrew Winch to share his firm’s unique focus on super-yachts and jets. This is an amazingly diverse, internationally renowned, and practicing group who will undoubtedly open our eyes to new possibilities.

5. FORUM-STYLE WORKSHOPS: We will be expanding on last year’s most acclaimed Summit experience – our Forum-Style Workshops – enabling our workshop groups to meet over two afternoons sharing confidential discussions in small, boardroom type settings and led by trained moderators. As with last year, these intimate groups will discuss design industry issues, working toward greater understanding and problem solving, as well as deeper relationships in these highly interactive experiences that are becoming a DLN hallmark.

6. EVENING VENUES: Our evening venues are nothing short of spectacular.  Our opening reception will be held in the State Apartments at Kensington Palace where we will be welcomed by palace resident Princess Michael of Kent. From there, we will break into smaller groups for private dinners co-hosted by members of our London Committee and Editors-in-Chief of US and UK design publications including Amy Astley of AD, Hatta Byng of House & Garden, Rupert Thomas of World of Interiors, Ben Spriggs of Elle Decoration, Pam Jaccarino of Luxe, Julia Noran of BOH, and more who will all be attending The London Summit as our special guests.

Our Design Leadership Award dinner will be held in one of the most beautiful rooms in Britain, the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor and including private access to Inigo Jones’ famed Queen’s House. The Old Royal Naval College has been described as, “the finest and most dramatically suited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles.” Our travel to Greenwich will be aboard a boat as we cruise the Thames with champagne in hand, (we will return by road).

7.  FREE TIME: And finally, we have planned free time.  With our official start at 1pm on Wednesday, program start times at 9:30am and days ending at 4:30pm prior to dinners, one hour lunches, and multiple 30 minute breaks we have assembled a program with time to enjoy each other and have early mornings and late afternoons free for personal time. There is a lot to do and we want to ensure a robust program, but we also want this to be fun!

UK MEMBERS: I want to add that with The London Summit, the DLN is officially welcoming UK-based members and partners and plans to have a long term connection to all of our new British friends and colleagues.

A special note of thanks to Nina Campbell, who has lent her extraordinary energy and connections to supporting our program.

I hope this note helps you to better understand The London Summit and further encourages you to join us!

Very Best,
Peter Sallick and the DLN Team