• Fri. Apr 16th, 2021

Picks of the month: the best (at home) design events in February

It will be another month spent at home but you can still take in everything from utopian community building to overcoming cretaive barriers and more.

Horizon, Guggenheim Museum and the Institute of Queer Ecology

The pandemic has felt like a reset moment for a lot of us. Horizon – or Habitat One: Regenerative Interactive Zone of Nurture – wants to take it a step further. In partnership with the Institute of Queer Ecology, the Guggenheim Museum is launching the social simulation game in February which aims to get users thinking embracing an ecologically conscious life to avoid climate catastrophe.

The platform is inspired by the utopian ethos of communities like Lavender Hill, a queer commune established in Ithaca New York in 1973. The game invites users to become inhabitants of a remote wild island as part of a “digital commune”. Life in the commune sees users create a crowd-sourced archive of information, resources, art, recipes, and more for off-grid living, which is used to ultimately imagine (and prepare for) a future that has reclaimed the countryside as a queer space.

The virtual landscape is dotted with “structures of diverse programs and aesthetics”. Users contribute to this environment by travelling between locations: visiting the kitchens, for example to leave behind recipes, or the forest to share or learn lessons in wildlife or scavenging.

On February 20 and 21, the platform will host a series of live virtual programmes, including performances, workshops and talks. More information can be found here.


Collect 2021, Crafts Council

Now in its 17th year, Collect is one of the world’s leading fairs for contemporary craft and design. It’s organised each year by the UK’s Crafts Council, and as we’ve all come to expect by now, will be taking place online in 2021.

The annual event brings together international gallerists who are each experts in their field to showcase and sell work by living contemporary craftspeople. Instead of taking place in its usual Somerset House home, this year Artsy.net will be the exclusive host of the fair. Each exhibiting gallery will have its own online “booth” to display chosen artists and designers.

Alongside online booths, Collect 2021 will also be offering a series of free digital and virtual events. Think tours with craftspeople and gallerists, as well as talks with “leading figures across art and culture”. These will be available through the Crafts Council’s own channels, while the fair itself will remain on Artsy.net until the end of March.

The Collect 2021 fair will take place from 26 February until 2 March. Head here for details.


Yorkshire Games Festival, Science and Media Museum

If games are what have got you through a year’s worth of pandemic stress, the Yorkshire Games Festival is somewhere to celebrate your pastime. This will be the first year the event’s programme has been moved online, with the festival bill for 2021 including game-related resources for young game designers, and talks and workshops for those in the business.

Several well-known names will be hosting events in February, such as Jordan Erica Webber, presenter of The Gadget show, and Keith Stuart, journalist at the Guardian. These talks will be aimed at industry professionals, recent graduates and those studying games-related subjects. Topics covered include character development, level design and virtual productions.

The Yorkshire Game Festival will be hosting a series of events throughout February. To check out what’s on offer, head here.


Redesigning Work: Radical design ideas to reshape work and wellbeing, Chatham House and the London Design Biennale

One of the Design in an Age of Crisis projects

Earlier this month, the London Design Biennale unveiled the innovative projects that answered its Design in an Age of Crisis brief set last year.

Now as the event approaches its rescheduled date later in 2021, organisers have teamed up with Chatham House to offer a series of talks with designers and policy experts about how design can help shape the future of health, work, the environment and society.

February’s talk will be a discussion on work and wellbeing. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have served to significantly change our relationship with work, perhaps forever. When the Covid crisis stabilises once more, what kind of world we will be going back to work in? Using the projects submitted to the London Design Biennale, design experts will dissect what is to come.

Redesigning Work will take place on 23 February at 13h00. Head here for more details.  


The Burial, Anne-Laure Pingreoun

One event that will be including physical elements in February will be Madrid Design Festival. The month-long celebration of creativity will be hosting the inaugural Extraperlo: Curating Curators exhibition, which itself will see the launch of design curator Anne-Laure Pingreoun’s latest installation, The Burial.

Pingreoun is the founder of Alter-Projects, a “new generation” multidisciplinary company that curates special projects and builds unique stories. The Burial will be an immersive multi-media installation and is an answer to a brief set by Extraperlo to challenge the systems, structures and codes that exist in contemporary design.

The installation promises to be a reflection on the tumultuous 2020 and its legacy. As part of it, Pingreoun invited ten artists and designers to submit a physical artwork to be exhibited in a shoe box and presented in a one-minute film. The differing responses aim to be a summation of what the creative industry felt last year, and wishes to let go of in 2021.

The installation will be live from 1 February to 28 February. For additional info, head here.   


Tackling problems with creativity with Rodrigo García González, V&A

In 2020, Rodrigo García González spoke with Design Week about how dissolvable materials could alleviate some of our dependence on plastic. He spoke about his invention Ooho!, a flexible packaging for beverages and sauces made from material combining seaweed and plants.

In collaboration with V&A Innovate González, who is also a lecturer in product design at Kingston University and visiting professor at the RCA and Imperial College, will deliver a talk online that discusses his creative approach and problem solving skills.

The talk will be of particular interest for school-age young people and teachers, as it compliments the V&A Innovate initiative . This offering includes a resource hub, online teacher CPD programme and the national schools challenge.

The event is free and takes place on 2 February, but booking is essential. Head here to do so.


TypoCircle x Naresh Ramchandani: Creativity for Social Change

2020 was a necessarily big year for design and activism, with creatives across the world using their craft to make important points about equality through initiatives, poster campaigns, and protest art. With continued attention the progress made last year will extend into this one.

With this in mind, non-profit typography organisation The Typographic Circle is hosting a series of talks. The first will be with current D&AD president Naresh Ramchandani and will tackle how creativity can take on global challenges and create a fairer and more diverse industry.

Ramchandani himself has packed his own career with work for important causes like sustainability. The event will be a conversation between Ramchandani and TypoCircle chairwoman Louise Sloper and will be held online.

Creativity for Social Change will take place online on 4 February at 19h00. Register for free here.


Vitamin D3, Phaidon

Vitamin D3 will be the third instalment of Phaidon’s survey of contemporary drawing when is gets published in February. The first book was published in 2005, with a follow up in 2013.

The contents of the book will explore how contemporary creatives continue to stretch the limits of drawing – from intimate pieces to large-scale works. All manner of “mark-making” process and materials will be covered, with more than 100 artists nominated by more than 70 experts included in the coverage.

The book and its numerous examples aim to show how drawing has been elevated over the past 50 years – moving from a supporting role to “a primary medium, ranking alongside painting as a central art form”.

Vitamin D3 will be published in February by Phaidon. To pre-order it, head here.