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Finally after nearly going on several occasions I finally got to check out the Design Museum at its current home on the bank of the Thames. There was a great exhibition on cycling, from its first forms through to ultra modern time trial bikes. A highlight was seeing Chris Boardman's gold medal winning Lotus from the '92 Barcelona Olympics.
The other main exhibition was "Design of Year 2015".
Now in its eighth year, Designs of the Year celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year. Someday the other museums will be showing this stuff.
Some great work on display... and I love the BMW i8.
Finally I squeezed in a quick visit to the Barbican for the "World of Charles and Ray Eames" exhibition. I got there 20 mins before it closed and the attendant advised me it takes 2 hours to see it all. I whizzed round in 15 mins... here are the highlights!
Manchester After Hours is the rainy city’s take on the national, annual Museums at Night celebrations: for one night only, museums, galleries and libraries stay open late for some creative goings on - with nearly everything free to attend.
First up was the Unit X exhibition at Federation House. Unit X took over Federation House for its annual showcase of emerging talent from Manchester School of Art. Film, art, design and photography come together in exhibitions and installations throughout the building.
After a pit stop in Trof for a cheeky pint (the free bar ran out in Federatin House just as we got to the front of the queue), we bumped into the choir and brass band which were touring the Northern Quarter playing and singing to whoever was passing by.
Next stop was Fred Aldous which was hosting an evening of FREE creative collaboration including; live painting, photobooth mugshots and a Risograph zine workshop.
Up next was a visit to the roof terrace above Manchester creative agency, Music, where they were playing a few tunes whilst offering up good views back over Stevenson Square and the Northern Quarter.
It was getting cold now, so we headed down to Ply below for a little break and to kill some time before heading over to the NCP car park in the centre of the Northern Quarter for our final event of the evening.
A-top of the NCP multi-storey car park on Church Street, musicians, choirs, street performers and brass bands deliver a pumping finale to the Northern Quarter’s proceedings. As the pictures and videos below show, it was a great way to end the evening with everyone getting involved in the carnival atmosphere.
The Whitworth, Manchester's gallery in the park, has just reopened after a £15 million renovation and expansion. Having never been before I had been wanting to check it out since the re-opening, and its well worth a visit. There's good mixture of exhibitions from photography, portraits, sculpture and art, with the exhibition spaces also adding their own character to the displays.
The park location is great, especially on a sunny day like day. Whether you're inside and catching glimpses of green out side or outside where the new glass extension cantilevers into the park.
My highlights were: The 1960s: Works by Peter Blake, Bridget Riley and others reveal the riotous colour, fashion and art of the era and Cornelia Parker's solo show. Cai Guo-Qiang, Unmanned Nature looked interesting, but there was a big queue so I just poked my head round the corner for that. Also worth noting is the 'War Room', a large space lined with the left over cutting sheets from the production of memorial poppy's.
Today in the UK we witnessed a rare astronomical occurance, a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse is where the moon moves in between the earth and the sun, blocking out the sun's light for a short period of time.
Its really impressive to witness, and is one of the only times you get a sense of being apart of system of moving rocks in space, and just how small we are.
The eclipse reached at around 83% coverage in the UK, with only two places on earth getting a full 100% coverage.
The next solar eclipse in the UK won't be until 2026.
A few days ago I received an email from the good people at Creative Bloq about a follow-up piece to their wildy popular Designers and their tattoos article. This time the idea being 'Designers as you've never seen them before'.
We've featured a lot of designer interviews over the years on Creative Bloq, but a lot of the time we end up with very similar photographs. Here's a designer sitting at his Mac with Illustrator open and a bunch of vinyl toys on his desk! Here's a designer in her studio, with lots of inspiring artwork on display! Here's a designer leaning against a wall!
I sent over a few tales and the story they wanted to feature was from when I featured as part of the final of the BBC's Junior Apprentice TV show. If you want to read more about and also find out about what 9 other top creatives get upto in their spare time, head over to Creative Bloq.
Behance Portfolio Review week, is global event happening in hundreds of towns and cities across the world organised on behalf of the online portfolio service now owned by Adobe. Last night was the Manchester event, and Jonny Evans at Degree53, who was hosting the night was good enough to ask me to help out and take one of the feedback sessions.
The night started off with a talk from Brendan Dawes, which took us through his work and general search for serendipity (and chaos). Brendan’s work has been featured in numerous journals including idN, Creative Review, MacUser, Computer Arts, Create, Wired, Eye, The Guardian, The Times, Communications Arts and was interviewed by Computer Arts in December 2008 for their "Design Icon" series.
The whole group then split into groups 8 or 9 groups for the portfolio reviews. I lead one group, and it was an enjoyable experience. I was impressed with some of the work on display and it was great to meet so many people passionate about design, illustration and photography.
I would like to say a big thanks to Jonny at Degree53 for taking the time to organise the event. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve also pinched some of your photos from the night.
Mark Stringer, Managing Director at Ahoy Digital (@ahoymark)
David Newton, Creative Director at Ahoy Digital (@LetsNotPretend_)
Simon Vaughan, Exec Creative Director at Amaze (@amazeltd)
Paul Normington, Art Director at Amaze (@Norm_ski)
Jade Sahota, Head of Design at Degree 53 (@jadie0503)
Tash Willcocks, Programme Manager at Hyper Island (@tashwillcocks)
Michael Watson, Creative Director at Project Simply (@projectsimply)
Speaker - Brendan Dawes (@brendandawes)
Host – Jonny Evans (@jonnylikes2rant)
Wednesday 29 October
Manchester School of Art
Benzie Building, Higher Ormond Street, Manchester M15 6BR
Last night I attended, “North: The Great debate”, a discussion between prominent members of the Manchester and UK creative industries as part of the Design Manchester festival at the Stirling Prize shortlisted Benzie building. The debate was chaired by Robert Yates, Assistant Editor of The Observer, with a panel including Sir Richard Leese, the Leader of Manchester City Council; Lou Cordwell, founder and CEO of Magnetic North; Professor David Crow, the Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor of Manchester School of Art; and Caroline Norbury, the CEO of Creative England
It was billed as “Growing by Design: the role of the creative industries in building a northern powerhouse” taking place against the backdrop of a seemingly unstoppable movement towards more devolution between the cities and regions, with the recent publication of One North and the plan by the leaders of Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield; Design Manchester’s Great Debate looked at how the creative industries can stimulate and create a prosperous and successful northern economy.
There was strong discussion with several outspoken members of the audience being vocal in their opinions and whilst others had travelled from across the country to participate. The one area the debate was let down for me was the lack of an opposing voice in the panel with the members being predominantly Manchester based/focused. Although I suppose that is to be expected of a discussion happening in Manchester, with the main topic of conversation being Manchester.
'The cities of the North must have control of their own destinies' - @SirRichardLeese #northdebate
A recurrent theme was Manchester and its own (and often lack of a) narrative compared with other major hubs such as London. Personally I think Manchester has a pretty strong identity, and although creatively its reputation isn’t as strong globally as London, it however shouldn’t being trying to replicate that and instead play to its own strengths. Not that any of that really matters, for me if those in power want to turn ‘The North’ or Manchester into a globally renowned centre for the creative arts, its not about how to PR the region but rather to create a climate in which creative business want to setup in Manchester and can then operate successfully. This means having great infrastructure and office space at affordable rates to entice more business in, which then in turn creates more jobs and demand for talented individuals.
Further reading: Read Robert Yates’ article in The Observer.
I was fortunate to enough to be interviewed for this months edition of Computer Arts magazine regarding my new job. I have subscribed to the magazine for a number of years I feel pretty honored to grace a full page of the newly redesigned and industry renowned magazine.
Go check it out, available at all good stockists...
Having never got round to going on the London Eye, and generally doing my best to visit the viewing platforms of the tallest buildings whenever I visit new cities I had been desperate to visit the viewing platform at the top of the Shard. And it didn't disappoint, on a clear day you can apparently see for 40 miles from the 72nd floor and with London's skyline still relatively low in comparison to other major cities you get a great vantage of all the major landmarks.
Whilst on the outside viewing platform, two guys on harnesses put on a bit of a show. I'm not entirely sure what they were up to, but I'm not sure I fancy his job.
The view from lunch was pretty decent.
After a spot of dinner we talk a walk along the south bank to the Tate Modern to check out the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective exhibition. "Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is the first full-scale retrospective of this important artist in over twenty years. This momentous show brings together 125 of his most definitive paintings and sculptures and reassesses his enduring legacy."
Roy Lichtenstein Whaam! 1963
Acrylic and oil on canvas support: 1727 x 4064 mm frame: 1747 x 4084 x 60 mm
Purchased 1966© Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Finally, I had not been to Kings Cross station since it had been redeveloped, and it is so much nicer. The new ceiling is incredible and the Fullers pub, the Parcel Yardputs all other train station pubs to shame. Pro-tip if you need the loo, go upstairs into the pub and use the ones there and save yourself 30p!
Speed of Light was a centrepiece of the Edinburgh International Festival and recently staged an event in Yokohama Japan. The night-time work uses light, intentional movement and sound to change the way we see and feel about a chosen environment.
Speed of Light Salford features one hundred runners in specially commissioned LED light suits will create beautiful, choreographed patterns of light flowing through streets, over bridges and around public spaces and buildings. Free and non-ticketed for the watching audience, it can be seen as a piece of abstract art on the grandest scale: monumental but surprisingly quiet and reflective.
The most important part of taking part as a runner was to maintain an even gap between the participant in front and behind you especially as gaps were extended and reduced on the fly.
I've made a conscious effort recently not to blog other peoples work as much, and concentrate more on personal topics. Others peoples work is better for sharing on twitter and/or pinterest. However recently I was asked to write a blog post for the TBWA\Manchester blog about something that inspires me, so i thought I would share it here too.
As a designer attention to detail and craft is important to me, but micro-sculpter Willard Wigan MBE takes this to a whole new level with his miniature sculptures which are almost invisible to the naked eye. He possesses a complete control over hand and body to move minute tools and mould molecular fibres. Wigan creates his sculptures which he displays mounted on pin heads or within the eye of a needle, using homemade tools and then paints them with a hair removed from a houseflys back.
Because the works are microscopic, the sculptor has learned to control his nervous system and breathing to ensure he does not make even the tiniest movement. Wigan, when working, enters a meditative state in which his heartbeat is slowed, allowing him to reduce any hand tremors and work between heartbeats. BETWEEN HEARTBEATS. Just think about it for a second.
His work and artistry is truly inspiring, if we all attempted to take this much focus and concentration with our work, then the world would certainly be a better place for it.
'The burning house: what would you take?' is a blog that has been turned into a book by Portland-based photographer Foster Huntington.
The project is a growing collection of images that people have curated of their belongings based on what they would bring with
them if their home was to be on fire. The selection is insightful and intimate, bringing attention to the things that are most important
to people in their lives.
This collection belongs to:
Location: Minho, Portugal
Occupation: Finder of really good stuff
This collection belongs to:
This collection belongs to:
This collection belongs to:
Joshua Lee Bacon
Location: Boone, Iowa
This collection belongs to:
Occupation: Bike shop man