Design Manchester 2016: Design City

Thursday saw Craft take a trip to Manchester, for the Design Manchester 2016 conference, with this year’s theme being ‘Design City’. If you somehow missed all the chatter about this event, in its fourth year, DM16 is everything ‘design’ - with talks, exhibitions, workshops, film, design fairs and parties across the city. This year’s conference saw six multidisciplinary artists talking ideas, inspiration and offering up their own perspective on what it is to design with the city in mind.

First up, from London, multidisciplinary architect-come-interactive designer Jason Bruges took us through a handful of his global projects. The studio, home to designers, architects, technologists, visualisers, technicians and producers, create work that blends environmental awareness and technical skill with site specific installations and interactive design. 

More4 rebrand, Jason Bruges Studio

The Jason Bruges Studio have become pioneers of interactive design that immerses the viewer in the installations - creating interactive spaces and surfaces that sit in the every day environment. If we’re talking about how design can fit, and work within a city, check out the work done at Jason Bruges Studio, you’ll see what I mean. 

Second up, from The Hague, came Richard Fussey and Karin Langeveld, two parts of Trapped In Suburbia. Essentially, their design focus is based on human interaction, experiential design - making it all tangible. From exhibition spaces, (interactive) poster design, editorial work, brand identity, to web design, Trapped In Suburbia openly champion audience participation and using the environment around them…

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand”.


Credit Sebastian Matthes

Following them, Manchester’s own OH OK LTD stepped up to talk us through the journey of The Pilcrow - their first major project. A pub made for the community, by the community! With design fast becoming a channel for community collaboration, OH OK LTD have managed to tick all the boxes.

Why wouldn’t they just build the pub conventionally, you might ask? The guys at OH OK LTD believe that "places work better when everybody is involved in building them” - a pretty refreshing way to think about things if you ask me. With the help of 50 designer makers and around 600 volunteers, The Pilcrow now proudly stands… built, in Sadler’s Yard, Manchester. 

Another of London’s own, Alexandra Wood, one part of Holmes Wood took us through their work - designing for people, and places. “Comfortably lost…” - The Holmes Wood ideal. Their work is a unique blend of graphic design and wayfinding; with the given space in front of them, they drive the viewer, they enable the viewer, to seek out what it is they are looking for. 

G . F Smith Digital Paintings, FIELD

Vera-Maria Grahn of FIELD followed suit - FIELD combine art and technology to create artwork across the digital board, from moving image, interactive design and kinetic installations. 

“All our images are born out of movement, capturing the dynamic energy of life and nature.” Putting it simply, a visual treat! Check out their very impressive showreel here.

And finally from across the pond, LA based (Warner Bros) designer, animator, producer and ex-Voyager don, Peter Girardi. Straight off the bat he went into the weird and wonderful world of his early inspiration - 1980s New York, the artwork and the culture turned Girardi from subway Graffiti artist to a pioneer of design and digital arts. He calls his work a “translation” - taking his traditional, media influence into the digital world. 

All in all, a great way to end Week 2 at Craft! And if you're interested in a move to a new creative agency then feel free to say hello and drop me a line - fionn@craftagency.co.uk - or on Twitter - @Craft_Fionn.

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