Picks of the month: the best design events to catch in January

This month, there’s a robot coding lab for kids at V&A Dundee while a landmark exhibition about a Polish graphic designer comes to London.

Exhibition: George Him: A Polish Designer for Mid-Century Britain

House of Illustration is hosting the first ever retrospective of graphic designer George Him at the end of January. A Polish-Jewish émigré, Him fused European modernism with British design tastes in some iconic and recognisable work, such as his wartime propaganda for the Ministries of Food and Information, as well as branding for El Al airlines and advertising for brands like Schweppes and the Post Office.

The exhibition will include previously unseen sketches and original artwork, revealing Him’s wit and distinctive aesthetic style — a mix of enduring design values and contemporary concerns. The exhibition is part of a year-long, UK-wide festival which ends in March that celebrates refugees from Nazi Europe and their contribution to British culture.

When: 31 January — 10 May 2020.

Where: House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4BH.

Info: Tickets cost £8.80 and concessions are available.


Workshop: The Future of Design

Designers from a range of disciplines — graphics and product to fashion and service design — are gathering in Brighton to talk about the latest practices and engage in conversations about how to move the industry forwards. The workshops are organised by the Design Council, as part of an initiative to highlight the importance of design to UK society — it calculated that the industry generated £85.2 billion to the economy in 2016 — as well as the challenges that face it.

When: 27 January 2020, from 1 — 5pm.

Where: Grand Parade campus, University of Brighton, Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY.

Info: Tickets are free but guests need to register in advance.


Talk: Designing from a Depleted World

The Earth only has enough fertile soil for less than 70 years — in the UK, predictions for available resources often fall short of half of that timeframe. The problem is worsened by our reliance on technology, the carbon footprint of food production and the effects of a changing climate — especially when taking into how rural and urban communities are disproportionately affected.

Panellists from a range of design practices will discuss how to approach this challenge of mass consumption and how to have a positive impact on the industry. The panel accompanies the concurrent Eco-Visionaries exhibition, which brought Virgil Abloh’s sinking chair and a tank of live jellyfish to London’s Royal Academy.

When: 27 January 2020, 6:30 — 8pm.

Where: Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts, London W1J 0BD.

Info: Tickets cost £15 and concessions are available.


Book: Fashion Design: A guide to the industry and the creative process

The fashion industry can seem daunting. From manufacturing to branding to designing, the world is exciting but ever-changing — and its practices are often obscure. Fashion Design, aimed at young fashion designers aims to demystify some of that uncertainty, from insight into branding, textile development and business management.

As well as expert guidance from author Denis Antoine, professor of fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design, there are case studies from leading fashion brands and designers such as Alexander McQueen and Chanel. It also provides a history to the industry – essential context for young designers who want a firm grip on its future.

Info: The book is available to buy 27 January 2020. It is published by Laurence King.


Award: The Arts Foundation Futures Awards

Williams’ 2019 Autumn Winter collection. Photo credit Anna Cornish

These awards explore five sectors within the creative industries, from musical expression and film experimentation to the newest category, comic illustration. In December, we covered the four finalists for the social innovation category which included Bethany William’s eco-friendly and socially responsible clothing and Lewis Hornby’s Jelly Drops, which are a hydration sweet for patients with dementia. All finalists receive £1,000 while one artist in each category will walk away with £10,000 to develop their project.

When: 27 January 2020, at 7:30pm.

Where: Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH.


Other things to catch:

Defender – Replacing an Icon: On the 70th birthday of the Land Rover Defender, the car manufacturer’s chief creative officer Gerry McGovern will be talking about the challenge of replacing the iconic vehicle in a multi-media presentation on 31 January at London’s Design Museum. Admission is free but guests must book in advance, the talk starts at 6:30pm.

Robot Coding Lab with RaspiKidd: To coincide with the Hello, Robot exhibition, V&A Dundee is hosting coding specialist duo RaspiKidd. For people aged 14—24, the course will provide basics on coding and building your own robot as well as providing answers to questions about careers in programming. Courses run from 25 – 26 January at the museum’s Robertson Studio, and tickets cost £60.

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