The Tour de France isn’t the only major international event coming to Sheffield this summer. The first Sheffield Design Week is being held on June 23–28, to showcase Sheffield’s thriving design sector, as well as bring great examples of international design here.
Now you may think what has this design stuff got to do with me? There are two good reasons for taking an interest.
Firstly, the design and creative industries are an increasingly important part of Sheffield’s economy, and are going to be a key factor in bringing more money and attention to the city, which is something we all benefit from. Secondly, the event has a particularly Sheffield take on design, with a focus on how design can impact positively on everyday life.
To give a practical example. Many older people find it difficult to open the jars, containers and bottles which much of our food comes in. The Design Week will be showcasing, amongst others, the work of Sheffield Hallam’s Lab 4 Living, experts in designing accessible packaging.
Patrick Murphy of Made North is co-ordinating the Design Week and he was keen to ensure Sheffield Design Week reflected the city’s no-nonsense view of the world. “We want the week to address the question, what is design for? What can it do for people? We didn’t want an event where everyone stands around looking at a £100,000 sofa that no one can afford.” This practical focus can be seen in another key part of Design Week, bringing together designers, engineers and manufacturers to develop a better emergency shelter for use in natural catastrophes across the world.
Many of the Design Week’s events will be free of charge, the aim is to get as many people as possible involved. If you go to the Millennium Gallery you will be able to see the Yorkshire in Yellow display, with over 60 Tour de France- themed T-shirts produced by designers, including the city’s own Ian Anderson, Pete McKee and Kid Acne.
Stroll down to the Moor Market to see a ‘Dear Sheffield’ exhibition of massive postcards, where architects and people living in the city have written a postcard to their favourite city buildings.
There will also be three ‘design trails’ taking you round architecture, street art and the main exhibitions and events from the Design Week.
A full list of the week’s events is at www.sheffielddesignweek.co.uk