Picks of the month: the best design events in January

Though the UK has now entered its third lockdown, there’s no shortage of online design events from virtual dog exhibitions to font-themed quizzes.

Digital design activities, from the Design Museum

Young Design Museum has plenty to offer creatively-minded kids during lockdown as a break of addition to homeschooling. On offer this week is a worksheet with cut-out templates to colour in and build your own high street. There are also videos on DIY musical instruments (think castanets and banjos). Lesson plans are also available for a variety of ages, ranging from rethinking rubbish to running your own ethical and sustainable company.

You can find the online resources here. Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers is also available to view as a virtual tour.


Architecture for Dogs online exhibition, from Japan House

Beagle House Interactive Dog House by MVRDV for Beagle. Photo: Hiroshi Yoda.

2020 was difficult for the museum sector. Most galleries and museums remained shut for a significant portion of the year and that looks set to continue into 2021. But there was no shortage of digital adaptation in the sector, from improved online archives to virtual recreations of exhibitions. The latest exhibition to go online is Japan House’s Architecture for Dogs – one of our most popular exhibition stories last year – which showcases 16 designs for man’s best friend from the likes of Kengo Kuma and Shigeru Ban.

The exhibition is free and can be viewed here.


Rye Here Rye Now online meet-up

Established in 2017 by Miho Aishima and Kat Garner, Peckham-based collective Rye Here Rye Now brings designers and other creatives together every month for a meet-up. That’s arguably more important than ever right now. The two-hour online event has two speakers to kick 2021 off with a fresh mindset. Graphic designer Julia Woollams will discuss why making a social difference through design is a priority while marketing consultant and author Shona Chambers will share her knowledge from working with small business owners. It aims to be a casual, but insightful gathering.

The online meet-up takes place 13 January and you can register for free here.


Book: Nike: Better is Temporary, by Sam Grawe

Promising an unprecedented look behind the scenes, Nike: Better is Temporary centres around the sport giant’s internal philosophy – and the design team that drives it. Whether it’s team kits, new footballs or taking a stance on social causes, Nike is a company that captures creatives’ inspiration. Sam Grawe was given access to Nike’s world HQ for the book, starting his research with the company’s 2017 attempt to facilitate a sub-two-hour marathon. That ambition prompted an “entirely new approach to Nike design”. Other themes include performance, brand expression, collaboration, inclusive design, and sustainability.

Nike: Better is Temporary is published by Phaidon on 25 January.


Font Quiz, from Type Tasting

Typography expert and author Sarah Hyndman returns with another round of font-themed online games. Though many may balk at the prospect of another round of lockdown Zoom quizzes, Type Tasting’s specific angle should make it more appealing to designers (and more casual fans). The questions will be about fonts in popular culture – meaning that you don’t have to have be a type expert to take part – and the emphasis will be on fun. “I’m a big fan of cheesy 1970s game shows where things go a bit wrong so this will be my inspiration for the style,” Hyndman says.

The first weekly quiz takes place 9 January at 7:30pm on Zoom. Tickets are free but you need to book in advance here. You can also watch it on YouTube later.


Visions of the Future exhibition, from DesignSingapore

While many of us won’t be leaving our local area, let alone country, for a while, that doesn’t mean that design inspiration can’t be found overseas. Visions of the Future is a curated showcase of seven projects from emerging Singaporean designers which focus on current issues: health and well-being, multigenerational living and sustainable processes among others. Poh Yun Ru’s Rewind is a “cognitive stimulation tool” that aims to help older people who have suffered from isolation acutely during the pandemic. Ng Luoweui and Mervyn Chen’s Canvas finds a way to give old shoes a new lease of life. “These designers illustrate a hopeful future — better by design — despite the pandemic,” say curators Wendy Chua and Gustavo Maggio.

You can view all seven projects as part of a virtual tour here. A panel discussion about designing for a post-pandemic world with the designers takes place on 7 January and will be available to watch online later.

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