Europe is benefiting from a fresh wave of design festivals, as the demand for regional annual events grows.
The Newcastle-based Design Event, which kicked off this weekend in Gateshead, will be extended for the first time next year to take in the entire North East.
The intention is to involve more venues and extend the festival’s offering to include professional development activities, such as seminars and lectures, says festival director Karen Stone.
The inaugural Design Event, launched last June, will now become an annual fixture on the UK design festival calendar because of increased demand, confirms Stone. To mark this, Design Event has relaunched with a ‘stronger’ brand identity and its first website, designed by Newcastle consultancy Reluctant Hero.
The event has doubled in size to include 15 exhibitions covering graphic, product, furniture and fashion design.
‘The aim is to showcase design talent in the North East to local and national audiences and to get them thinking about design. Sometimes, design can be seen as London-centric, and it is important to raise the profile of smaller businesses,’ adds Stone.
Newcastle is actively promoting design at a local level. It is establishing the first Design Centre for the North, located in Gateshead, and will host the Design Council’s first biennial Design of the Time promotion of design in the regions, overseen by director John Thackara.
A head for the centre has not yet been appointed, but a recruitment process will be embarked upon within the next six months, says a spokesman at One North East. Wales is also seeking to raise its profile and create a more substantial design network.
Meanwhile, Design Miami festival is making its European debut in Basel, Switzerland, this year. The long-term ambition is to roll out the festival to other major cities.
London consultancy Made Thought has redesigned the brand identity to incorporate a slash device, which will allow the logo to be adapted to different countries as it expands globally.
Called Design Miami/Basel, the event is a showcase for contemporary design and features exhibitions by the likes of Vitra and Established & Sons. Made Thought has designed catalogues, stationery, invitations and wayfinding for the festival. It is working on redesigning the existing website, which is expected to relaunch in time for Design Miami.
Design Festivals in June:
• Design Event 2006, 10 to 25 June
• Design Miami/Basel, 13 to 16 June
• Cardiff Design Festival, 8 to 22 June