5 important things that happened in design this week

From an exhibition celebrating 20th century Italian designer Franco Grignani, to a new initiative from the Mayor of London making housing in the capital more “affordable”, we round up the design news from the last seven days.

The British Museum announced it will undergo a 10-year revamp

London’s British Museum revealed the details of its 10-year regeneration plan this week, with the aim of telling “more coherent and compelling stories” about its collections, said museum director Hartwig Fisher.

The new Albukhary Foundation Galleries of the Islamic World will open to the public in autumn 2018, and will comprise two gallery spaces detailing the rise of Islam up until the present day.

Meanwhile, the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia and the Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries will both undergo a refurbishment, and the museum’s now defunct Reading Room will be put back back “at the heart” of the museum, added Fisher.

The British Museum has not yet confirmed whether any design consultancies or architects have been named to work on the revamp.


Sadiq Khan rallied designers for a new initiative to improve housing in London

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, courtesy of Flickr user Dionisos Olympian.

Following the fire at the recently renovated Grenfell Tower in North Kensington last month, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launched the Good Growth by Design programme this week.

The aim of the programme is to make housing in the capital more “affordable”, “inclusive” and “environmentally-sustainable”, said Khan.

Speaking at an event at the London School of Economics (LSE), Khan rallied 50 designers, architects and built environment specialists, including David Adjaye and Wayne Hemingway, to work with City Hall and local councils on the programme.

The programme will also be running an initiative called Public Practice, which will look at how to improve diversity in the design industry. Of Khan’s 50 design advocates, 50% are women and 25% are from black, asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME).

Read more about the initiative and see the full list of 50 design advocates on the Mayor of London’s site.


We spoke to the curator of new exhibition about Franco Grignani

Photo by Dan Stevens

Following the opening of a new exhibition featuring the work of Franco Grignani at London’s Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, we spoke to curator Marco Meneguzzo about the artist and designer’s legacy.

The exhibition is showcasing more than 100 of Grignani’s most notable paintings, alongside his commercial graphic design projects for clients. This includes the swirling, monochromatic logo he created for the International Wool Secretariat (IWS) in 1963, which is still used today as a certification mark on wool products to indicate that they meet the organisation’s standard of quality.

“Sometimes creating a single successful project is enough for an individual to become an influential designer,” said Meneguzzo. “The IWS logo is such a well-known design that Grignani’s name will never be forgotten.”

Despite the wide variety of projects Grignani worked on, his distinctive, geometric style remained recognisable throughout the course of his career, added Meneguzzo.

“The textures seen in Grignani’s artworks – which have become synonymous with the designer – were turned into powerful graphic patterns,” he said.

“His commercial work was typical of a concept seen throughout the Neo-Avantgarde era – to distort the way people perceived reality.”

Franco Grignani: Art as Design 1950-1990 runs until 10 September 2017 at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, London N1 2AN. Entry is £6.50 for adults, and £4.50 for concessions. For more information, visit the gallery’s site.


D&AD New Blood 2017 winners were announced

The Old Truman Brewery in East London opened its doors for the 2017 edition of the D&AD New Blood Festival last week, showcasing creative work from more than 1,000 students at design colleges and universities all over the country.

The winners of this year’s coveted D&AD pencils were also announced during the two-day festival, after young creatives from all over the world responded to briefs set by the likes of Amazon, Monotype and The British Army.

173 pencils were selected out of thousands of entries, including one black pencil – the highest accolade at the awards – which was given to Kingston University students, Hannah McNally and Martha Halliday. Their animation project, Mm-hmmm, was based on a brief from The National Austistic Society and features conversations with a carer and a young autistic person speaking about what everyday life is like with autism.

Three white pencils recognising social design excellence, and 32 yellow pencils for “outstanding” work were also given out, along with 40 graphite and 97 wood ones.

See the full list of winners on the D&AD site.


Hepworth Wakefield was named Art Fund museum of the year 2017

Art gallery and museum The Hepworth Wakefield beat UK cultural institutions including the Tate Modern to win Art Fund’s museum of the year award this week.

The annual award looks to recognise museums that have “undertaken transformative projects” or “brought their collections to life in exceptional ways”, said Art Fund.

The West Yorkshire-based gallery was chosen to win the £100,000 prize money, while four other shortlisted museums each received £10,000.

The award follows a 21% increase in visitor numbers to the gallery in 2016, and the announcement of its plans to create a new landscaped area by garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith.

Hepworth Wakefield has not yet announced what it plans to do with the Art Fund prize money.

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