5 design things to look out for in July

See some of Quentin Blake’s most famous illustrations, be transported back to 1950s Britain at Compton Verney’s latest exhibition and climb inside the giant kinetic energy generating hamster wheel at the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland.

Museum opening: National Museum of Scotland


What: The newly redeveloped National Museum of Scotland will open on 8 July, with 40% more space dedicated to science, technology and design exhibits. The £14.1m revamp includes exhibition spaces and interiors designed by consultancy Metaphor to celebrate the museum’s 150th birthday. The refurb also includes a new roof on the science and technology galleries that lets in much more natural light. Look out for the giant hamster wheel installation that generates kinetic energy when you use it.

When: 8 July 2016

Where: National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, EH1 1JF

Info: Free entry, see more information here

Exhibition: Quentin Blake: Inside Stories

Illustration © Quentin Blake medium
Illustration © Quentin Blake

What: To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl, the National Museum Cardiff has curated an exhibition dedicated to the work of the author’s partner in crime: illustrator Quentin Blake. The exhibition showcases Blake’s first roughs, storyboards and finished artworks for some of his most famous creations, including The Twits and Danny the Champion of the World. It also includes illustrations that he has completed for The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams and other books by John Yeoman, Russell Hoban and Michael Rosen.

When: 16 July-20 November 2016

Where: National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff, CF10 3NP

Info: Entry is free, more information available here

Exhibition: Britain in the Fifties: Design and Aspiration

1965 ercol catalogue showing 355 ercol Studio Couch Reproduced by kind permission of ercol

What: In post-war 1950s Britain, austerity gave way to greater affluence and consumerism at all levels of society. Gallery Compton Verney’s new exhibition celebrates the role of design in this burgeoning consumerism, drawing together over 150 objects that range from a Vespa scooter to the original watercolour illustrations from the 1958 Ladybird book Shopping with Mother. It also includes paintings, posters and textiles by Enid Marx, Edward Bawden, John Piper and Graham Sutherland.

When: 9 July-2 October 2016

Where: Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ

Info: Entry to the gallery costs £15, more information available here

Festival: Transported by Design


What: London Underground is celebrating its centenary this year, and TfL is hosting a free pop-up festival this July as part of an 18-month long programme of events. The festival will focus on the design of London’s transport system since the Victorian times, with zones dedicated to the past, present and future of the tube. Highlights include horse drawn buses from the 19th century, as well as virtual reality headsets and a sensory cinema offering a glimpse into how the transport network could look over the next 100 years.

When: 3 July 2016

Where: Regent Street, London

Info: Free entry, see more information here

Event: London Festival of Design and Engineering


What: The London Design & Engineering UTC has set up a free new event aimed at 7-19 year olds, called the London Festival of Design and Engineering. It hopes to inspire young Londoners to take on design and engineering challenges, with partners including UEL, the Design Museum and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Activities range from a Nao robot dance off and coding workshops to a planetarium.

When: 23 July 2016

Where: Sports Dock, Docklands Campus University Way, London, E16 2RD

Info: Free entry, see more information here

(Note: this event is now sold out)

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