5 important things that happened in design this week

The important design news from the last seven days, including our report on ageism in the design industry and a tender to redesign the UK passport following Brexit.

Salone del Mobile launched in Milan

Milan became awash with new products, exhibitions and fairs as the annual Salone del Mobile design week returned to the Italian capital.

Ahead of the five-day event – which expects to see more than 300,000 visitors in total and runs until Sunday 9 April – we wrote about some of the most interesting new collections, installations and brands to check out during the course of the week.

These include the new Tom Dixon lighting and home accessories collections on display at the designer’s two-storey Multiplex exhibition, which is housed in a 1950s cinema, as well the Lexus Design Awards and exhibition at the Triennale design museum, showcasing the designs and prototypes of 12 up-and-coming designers.

Keep an eye on the Design Week site for our upcoming coverage of Milan Design Week and the Lexus Design Awards.

The Government announced a proposal to redesign UK passports

Following UK prime minister Theresa May triggering Article 50 and starting the process of leaving the European Union (EU) last month, the Government’s Home Office has announced its intention to redesign the British passport.

The Home Office put out a £490 million tender for the new passport this week, which is expected to launch in 2019 – the same year that the UK is expected to leave the EU.

The new look will be in line with the Government’s routine passport redesign that takes place every five years to prevent counterfeits, according to the Home Office, and the contract is due to last for 11.5 years.

Meanwhile, media outlets speculated on the possibility of a passport redesign signalling a return to the navy blue one seen in the UK from 1921 to 1988.

Read our full story on the passport redesign tender here.

We examined ageism in the design industry

Following the organisers of the Turner Prize deciding to allow over-50s to enter the fine art award for the first time, we asked designers about the issue of ageism within the design industry.

We spoke to both younger and older designers about their own experiences of discrimination based on age, as well their opinions about ageism in the design industry as a whole.

O Street’s Tessa Simpson spoke about one occasion when a client said that her shoes looked like the ones that his teenage daughter wore.

“It wasn’t meant as a slight and I wasn’t offended,” says Simpson, “but the comment did make me reconsider how he – and other clients older than me – might see me.”

Meanwhile, Brand Union executive creative director Paul Cardwell said that as well as experiencing ageism as a young designer, he then “suddenly” became “too old”.

“Of course it’s insulting and annoying,” said Cardwell, “but that’s a good thing – anger keeps you sharp, keeps you up to speed and gives you something to prove.”

Read the full piece here.

The National Army Museum got a £24 million facelift

Main atrium, courtesy of the National Army Museum

We wrote about the National Army Museum – based in Chelsea, west London – reopening this week following a three-year, £24 million revamp.

Designed by architectural practice BDP, with exhibition design and interiors by consultancy Event, the new museum tells personal stories of soldiers as well as looking at the wider context of the army.

With the new look the museum is hoping to “tell the British Army’s story” and act as a “bridge” with the public, according to museum director general Janice Murray.

The permanent gallery will feature 2,500 objects and archive materials, as well as interactive exhibits.

Alien discovery organisation METI launched, with branding by The Partners

This week The Partners revealed the branding for a new organisation, Messaging Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (METI), which is dedicated to trying to contact alien life.

The visual identity looks to raised awareness about the organisation and its work, with the brand concept being created around code system and the origins of language.

The logo is based on a square grid and uses binary patterns to create an abstract version of the word METI.

Read our full story on the branding here.

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