5 important things that happened in design this week

From a new project by Bath University looking at how best to design refugee shelters to the V&A’s new art and design quarter, we round up the important news from the last seven days.

Designers told us what they think the new Government should do for creatives

© Tony Baggett

Following UK prime minister Theresa May announcing a snap general election last month, Design Week readers look set to buck the trend of the opinion polls, which currently indicate a strong majority for the Conservatives. In a poll we launched in April, 46% of respondents said they plan to vote for Labour.

With less than a month to go until polling day on 8 June, this week we asked designers and organisations to go into more depth about the kinds of policies they think the new Government ought to introduce in order to benefit the creative industries.

They responded with their thoughts on issues ranging from design and technology education to gentrification and intellectual property (IP) protection. Design Council CEO Sarah Weir, for example, backed the Creative Industries Federation’s call for improved teaching of creative subjects and career advice, while Land Design Studio creative director Peter Higgins said “Creative Studies” as an overall discipline needs to be weaved into education at all levels in a “much more holistic and considered way”.

“We urgently need the Government to future-proof the UK’s hard-won reputation for the creative industries,” Higgins added.

Read the rest of the designers’ and organisations’ thoughts in our full story here.

The V&A announced a festival to celebrate the opening of its new design quarter

Rendering, The Sackler Courtyard at night (c) AL_A

Following the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum announcing its new, dedicated Photography Centre last month, this week it revealed plans for the next stage of its ongoing FuturePlan redevelopment and expansion project at its site in Kensington, west London.

The museum announced that its new Exhibition Road Quarter will officially open to the public on 30 June, and said it will hold a free, week-long festival to celebrate the launch.

The new quarter – which has been designed by architectural practice AL_A – will house several art and design-focused spaces, including the 1,000m2 Sainsbury Gallery that will be used for temporary exhibitions.

The V&A said it hopes that the accompanying Reveal festival – which will include workshops with illustrators and a light-based installation by designer Simon Heijdens – will allow visitors to “explore and experience the V&A’s collections, architecture, layers of history and our heritage in new and different ways”.

The museum also opened its redesigned shop this week, with craft-inspired interiors designed by architectural practice Friend & Company.

Read our full story on the V&A’s new Exhibition Road Quarter here.

Bath University revealed plans to design a “dignified” refugee shelter

Refugee camp near Mauritania, north west Africa. Photo © Hugh Lunnon.

Innovative design solutions which aim to help tackle the refugee crisis have become increasingly prominent over the past few years.

Non-profit technology initiative Techfugees has launched several apps, including one that enables people to donate old smartphones to refugees and another location-based app that allows refugees to find nearby resources such as food, shelter and medical care.

Last week, Better Shelter, a social enterprise set up by the Ikea Foundation revealed it was committing to redesigning its Beazley Designs of the Year award-winning, flat packed refugee shelter in order to improve its accessibility and fire safety.

This week, researchers at Bath University also said they will be looking at how to improve the design of existing refugee shelters so that they are able to withstand extreme temperatures and provide more “comfort and dignity” for refugees.

The university’s Healthy Housing for the Displaced project will look at factors such as the temperature, air quality and social conditions of people living in refugee camps.

Successful shelter designs will be tested at the university’s own facilities in Bath and following that in Jordan, with the project expected to run until 2020.

Read our full story on the project here.

The Financial Conduct Authority rebranded

The UK’s finance watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed its brand refresh this week, which is based around the idea of putting a “spotlight on conduct”.

Created by advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi Pro, the more stripped back identity was introduced in order to simplify the FCA’s communications and make its content more accessible for a wider audience, such as people accessing its reports on their smartphones.

The branding features a more stripped back logo, a brighter maroon than previously used as the main colour and a documentary-inspired style of photography.

The regulator – which is funded by the firms it regulates – has come under fire from some critics for the £70,000 brand refresh.

Tory MP for Croydon South Chris Philp, for instance, said that the new logo is “an absurd waste of public money”, according to the Telegraph.

Saatchi & Saatchi Pro associate creative director Joe Luffman defended the agency’s work however, saying it had looked at the FCA’s brand “in the broadest sense possible” and that the logo represents “less than 10% of the overall work delivered”.

The brand refresh will be fully rolled out over the next year.

A motorbike suitable for African terrains was launched

Start-up company Kibo Africa launched its first motorbike product this week, with the aim of making riding in Africa safer and reducing fatalities.

The brainchild of Dutch economist Huib van de Grijspaard, the start-up’s Kibo K150 bike combines features of both street and off-road motorbikes, including tyres suited to both types of terrain, a suspension system that allows riders to carry heavy cargo, and a high space between the ground and the bike.

UK consultancy Greenspace was also commissioned to create the identity for Kibo Africa, featuring a logo inspired by the physical appearance of a motorbike and a colour palette that uses swatches taken from Kenyan landscape photography in order to distinguish it from the “silvers, greys and blacks often used by car manufacturers”, says Greenspace founder, Adrian Caddy.

The bike is initially being sold in Kenya and is retailing at $3,000 (£2,320), but Kibo Africa has plans to roll it out more widely across other African countries.

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