11-14 April 2013, Cheltenham
A recent addition to the scene, the Cheltenham Design Festival embarks on its second outing this April. Instead of countless gleaming products taking pride
of place on stands - which constitute the meat of most design-related events - this festival is different. It centres on talks and seminars by leading product designers, architects and innovators. Although this may be disappointing for those who gain most value from the chance to see and touch the objects themselves, this is a smart move. A host of design events already exists in the UK, but it can often feel as though the interactive sessions they offer are an add-on to the exhibitions, with spectators popping in and out on a whim. At Cheltenham, the focus on the stories behind the objects means the event stands out rather than competing in an overcrowded market.
Last year, the Cheltenham Design Festival’s series of talks addressed various aspects of design, such as education and training, the role of design in promoting wellbeing, architectural and landscape design, engineering, and technology and business. Speakers included the recently knighted Kenneth Grange, designer of the InterCity 125 train and responsible for the 1997 redesign of the London taxi, as well as Simon Waterfall, founder of awardwinning
digital design agency Poke.
Although the programme is still being finalised for this year, a number of architects have already been confirmed as speakers Tim Foster of Foster Wilson Architects, the architect of the award-winning venue, the Parabola Arts Centre, will discuss the development of its design and the challenges of creating a new theatre adjacent to a listed Regency villa and within a conservation area, before leading a tour of the building.
Landscape architect Kim Wilkie will give a talk on how natural forces, such as migrations, water and climate, together with the lived memories of a place, may shape the landscapes of the future. He will focus particularly on water and food resources, and will reference projects such as London’s Chelsea Barracks and the garden of the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as the broader treatment of water in the wet meadows around Winchester and at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.
Finally, he will explore how traditions in design can be used in new projects.
Other confirmed speakers include Robin Lee of Robin Lee Architecture, Andrew Grant of Grant Associates and Nick Sinden of Berman Guedes Stretton. Issues addressed will include the role of the creative industries in the UK market and current attitudes to creativity in education.