Picks of the month: the best design events in April

There’s plenty to do in the upcoming weeks, from central London light installations to tiny treehouse building sessions for children.

Viennese Lettering: A Virtual Night with Paul Shaw

Designer and type historian Paul Shaw is hosting a virtual talk on lettering and the Vienna Succession. In collaboration with Poster House, Shaw will take a type-led tour through Viennese visual history, taking in work from Koloman Moser, Alfred Roller and Lucian Bernhard. The talk will look at how the artistic movement continues to influence and fascinate designers working today.

The event is free, and takes place 8 April 2021. More information is available via Eventbrite

Monotype Creative Characters podcast

Earlier this year, type foundry Monotype launched a podcast series to explore the design thinking behind major campaigns and brands. One highlight so far has included the design team behind American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign. The story followed how designer Scott Starrett met with the young Ocasio-Cortez when she was a bartender which led to a fruitful design partnership and eventually a successful campaign.

Episodes are added every few weeks, and can be found on the Monotype website

Resilient Stitch: Wellbeing and Connection in Textile, Claire Wellesley-Smith

Resilient Stitch: Wellbeing and Connection in Textile Art by Claire Wellesley-Smith is published by Batsford. Artwork by Claire Wellesley-Smith, photographed by Michael Wicks.

Textile designer Claire Wellesley-Smith is back with her second book, which considers ideas of connections and wellbeing around textiles. It’s the follow-up of her first title, Slow Stitch. In the new book, Wellesley-Smith explores practical concepts of ‘thinking-through-making’ and working towards more sustainable pieces. It’s the theme of resilience that readers will likely find most resonant these days. The designer will look at techniques such as layering, patching, reinforcing and re-stitching and how to use everyday materials in work. Wellesley-Smith has also charted a textile community’s response to the pandemic.

Resilient Stitch: Wellbeing and Connection in Textile is out 15 April, and published by Batsford. More information is available via her publisher’s website

Age, Agency and Joy event, hosted by the Design Museum and the Design Age Institute

The Design Age Institute and the Design Museum has teamed up for a day-long event exploring the “longevity economy” for businesses, service provides and designers. This underexplored topic is part of a growing trend in design, and there will be discussion led by the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (based at Newcastle University), Oxford’s Institute of Population Ageing and the International Longevity Centre.

More information is available on the RCA website

Where are the Black Designers virtual exhibition


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While most museums and art galleries are only opening from mid-May, design collective Where are the Black Designers has partnered with Working Not Working on a new virtual exhibition to showcase work from black creatives. The exhibition – which includes almost 300 pieces – introduces the concept of ‘Black &’, a narrative that seeks to encapsulate the “breadth and relisient nature” of black designers.

You can visit the exhibition via Instagram

Tiny treehouses online make along, hosted by RIBA

If the thought of building a real treehouse is too daunting, this low-level commitment version should keep children (and adults alike) busy for a while. The online session is led by Katie Kennedy and geared towards children aged 6 to 10. Styled as a ‘design quest’, the session will take you through all the considerations for making a tiny treehouse: what would you need to live in a tree? How would you design the structure for life above ground? Kennedy will also explore 3D model making, scale, and how different types of housing work. You’ll need some thick card, colours pencils and glue.

The course takes place 7 April at 10:00am, and tickets cost £5. More information is available through the event website.

Constellations light installation, by Anthony James

Oxford Street will be lit up by a new installation for two weeks in April thanks to light artist Anthony James. His project entitled Constellations will be installed across 36 digital canvases which spans three stories of a central London shopfront. It intends to give something back to the public while art venues remain closed. “It nods to this truly prehistoric human desire to create meaning in what we witness – patterns in the stars, patterns of light, representative of something more – something bigger,” James says.

Constellations is running from 12-26 April at Flannels flagship store on Oxford Street, London.

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