Picks of the month: design events to look out for this February

From a book on the design of guitars to international design festivals, here are some events to catch this month.

Talks: Surface Design Show

As well as exhibitions and debates, Surface Design Show will host a number of design-related talks across two stages. Japanese artist and graphic designer June Mineyama-Smithson aka MAMIMU will host a talk on spreading optimism with colour and shapes. She’ll question whether they have the ability to promote mental wellness and outline how to strike a balance between capturing energy in a design and sensory overload when approaching children’s placemaking projects.

Attendees will also find panel talks focusing on social and environmental sustainability, and how material choice and inclusive design can help build a sense of community. Another conversation about how lighting design can change a space and make us feel certain emotions is also on the agenda, led by Arianna Ghezzi and Christian Haimes from Lighting Design International.

Surface Design Show 2023 will take place from 7-9 February at Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London, N1 0QH.

Book: Guitar: The Shape of Sound by Ultan Guilfoyle

A new book on the design of guitars by producer, director and author Ultan Guilfoyle will be published by Phaidon this month. Reaching from the instrument’s early form to the present day’s cutting-edge electric models, Guilfoyle selects 100 iconic guitars from around the globe, digging deep into how master guitar makers sought to reach new sculptural and aural heights through design over 300 years. The book will also touch on how the guitar’s immediacy and intimacy as an instrument has endured, despite technological advances.

Phaidon describes the book as “a delight for design enthusiasts and music aficionados alike”, as it explores the stories behind some of the world’s most famous guitar models as well as the performers who played them.

Guitar: The Shape and Sound by Ultan Guilfoyle will be published on 23 February and is available to buy on the Phaidon website for £39.95.

Festival: Madrid Design Festival

The sixth edition of Madrid Design Festival 2023 will run for two months starting from 7 February, seeking to showcase design as an industry and practice that can improve people’s day-to-day lives. Issues such as the climate emergency, the depletion of natural resources, energy efficiency, overconsumption, habitability and mobility will be explored through the festival’s exhibitions and installations. The event will be rounded-out by competitions, contests, challenges, awards and four professional workshops with Spanish and international designers, seeking to appeal to both younger and more experienced designers.

One of the festival’s leading exhibitions is Seville. Illuminated Shadow, designed by Studio Noju and curated by Macarena Navarro-Reverter. The exhibition will feature both traditional and avant-garde examples of Sevillian design, with over 100 pieces demonstrating the fusion between past and present. Mother Nature – an exhibition designed by Plantea Estudio – offers creative commentary about the Earth, framing design as a tool for change that can contribute to a more sustainable, inhabitable world. It carries messages of sustainability, circularity and eco-design, as well as the suggestion that innovative materials and projects can help to lower our ecological footprint.

Madrid Design Festival will be held between 7 February and 9 April at various venues across Madrid, Spain.

Podcast: My Life in Design Season Two

My Life in Design podcast returns with Season Two, hosted by Claire Blyth, Design Community Hub co-founder and founder of design PR agency Red Setter. Blyth will delve into the lives and work of globally renowned designers, unearthing how they got into the industry and how they built their careers. The aim is to provide the next generation of designers with actionable advice on how to have a fruitful career, offering up designers’ stories of success and failure, from their education to finding their first jobs.

The new series will include guests such as Baxter & Bailey founders Matt Baxter, DixonBaxi co-founder Aporva Baxi, and Manchester-based designer Craig Oldham.

Look out for new episodes every Thursday on Apple podcasts, Spotify and other platforms.

Fair: Stockholm Furniture Fair

Stockholm Furniture Fair returns this year with an updated format and new features, including a new platform for experimental and collectible design housed by 16th century manor Älvsjö gård. The fair is the largest gathering of Scandinavian designers under one roof, with over 80% of its exhibitors coming from Scandinavian countries.

The Greenhouse will showcase up-and-coming young talent, focusing this year on furniture inspired by space research and influences from sneaker culture. The jury has selected 32 designers and 30 design schools from 18 different countries for the 2023 Greenhouse exhibit.

The fair will also host a number of talks. Highlights include London-based studio Raw Edges’ founders on how they develop new ideas for products and limited edition pieces through experimentation and research, and Italy-based art director and collectible design curator Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte on design’s role in promoting cultural sustainability and preserving cultural heritage and artistry.

Stockholm Furniture Fair will take place from 7-11 February at Stockholmsmässan.

Workshop: Immersive Experience Design and Dev Lab Day

Have you ever been left perplexed by the world of AR and VR design? If so, this Immersive Experience Design Dev Lab Day by Immersive Scotland might be for you. The full-day workshop will span 12 hours and is open to students, creative businesses and entrepreneurs with an interest in mixed-reality art and design. Those from the creative industries will be placed into teams with people from computing industries and challenged to work together on immersive interactive projects. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams – £500 for first place, £300 for second and £100 for third – with more prizes for other awards. Pizza and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

Immersive Experience Design Dev Lab Day will take place from 9am till 9pm on Saturday 11 February at Robert Gordon University; The Sir Ian Wood Building Garthdee Road Aberdeen AB10 7GJ. Tickets are free and available to book on Eventbrite.

For young designers: Design Museum Half Term Workshops

Design Camp is a series of four workshops run by the Design Museum London for children during February half term. Two of the workshops cater to children of secondary school age (11-14), while the other two are suitable for children aged 8-11. Participants can learn everything from how to crochet a phone pouch to building and designing a pirate ship during these fun six-hour workshops.

Design Camp will run from Monday 13 February to Wednesday 15 February at Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London, W8 6AG. Book tickets on the Design Museum website.

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