Sheffield Design Week

The inaugural Sheffield Design Week takes place later this month and includes workshops, exhibitions, film screenings and talks spanning architecture, design and visual arts. Here’s a look at some of the highlights…

The inaugural Sheffield Design Week takes place later this month and includes workshops, exhibitions, film screenings and talks spanning architecture, design and visual arts. Here’s a look at some of the highlights…

Sheffield Design Festival was founded by Patrick Murphy, director of Sheffield gallery Made North. “After curating and programming design events across the north, I wanted to create an annual, fixed celebration of design in our home city,” he says.

“Sheffield is a creative city…7.2 percent of its workforce work in creative industries, well above the four percent national average. It also has the largest number of creative workspaces and artist studios outside London, so it has the foundations to build a great international design week,” he adds.

The identity for this year’s event was created by The Designers Republic. The studio has also produced beer mats to accompany the launch of a limited edition Sheffield Design Week beer made by local brewery Thornbridge:


As well as a one-day conference, the Design Week programme includes a series of RIBA Love Architecture events and a design and architecture film festival.

The theme for the conference is Can Design Save the World? and talks include a session led by Design Council CEO John Mathers on design’s role in society; a graphics debate led by Ian Anderson with Graham Wood and Spin’s Tony Brook, and a RIBA talk on the future of architecture. PearsonLloyd will also discuss the studio’s Better A&E project, which won a best in book in CR’s 2014 Annual, and Murphy says the day will offer a “no-nonsense” discussion of design “focusing on the big questions facing the industry.”

To celebrate the Tour de France’s route through Sheffield this summer, more than 60 designers have created their own take on the famous Maillot Jaune (yellow jersey). Designs are on display at the city’s Millenium Galleries until September 7 and include work by Margaret Calvert, Rick Banks, Wim Crouwel, M/M and Phil Carter, who made his using bike oil:

Margaret Calvert

Phil Carter

Wim Crouwel

Rick Banks


Other exhibitions include a showcase of posters from Anthony Burrill’s book, I Like It: What Is It?, open at Made North until August (Burrill is also giving a talk on June 28):


An exhibition of screenprints depicting exotic birds and bouquets by Iranian artist Aida:



And Brutal and Beautiful, a RIBA exhibition exploring our relationship with post-war architecture. The exhibition will be held in the city’s iconic Park Hill development, a brutalist housing estate which was recently re-developed by Urban Splash.



Among the film screenings taking place are To Inform and Delight, a 2010 documentary on Milton Glaser:


From Nothing, Something, an exploration of the creative process which profiles creative thinkers working in food, fashion, animation, comedy and choreography:


And The Human Scale, in which David Byrne looks at the future of urban planning:


It’s a diverse line-up showcasing both local and international creatives and Murphy says he hopes it will help bring various design disciplines closer together. “I think sometimes the design world can be very niche, only organising events solely for graphic designers or architects or indeed craft making. Sheffield Design Week offers experiences across architecture, graphics, craft and beyond. It’s a week-long playground to creatively explore a great city,” he explains.

With Sheffield’s universities and a number of studios taking part, there’s a real focus on local talent too. “As Sheffield Design Week develops, we want more and more local designers to participate and promote themselves in the event…we will work to build an audience for them and make design as visible as possible,” says Murphy.

To celebrate the festival’s launch and poke a little fun at the North South divide, Made North will also reveal a series of prints by designers who come from the north and have since moved away, or have relocated there from the south.

Each print explores the question, ‘Is there a difference between the north and south of England?’ and contributors include Ian Anderson, Michael Place, Malcolm Garrett, Andy Stevens, Burrill and Brook.

We first published Anderson’s print late last year, which received a somewhat mixed response on the blog and depicts the north/south divide as a shandy line…


The project will eventually be launched as an exhibition and publication, exploring regional stereotypes as well as personal perceptions. Michael Place’s contribution is based on his observation that fewer people thank bus drivers in the south:





You can read more about the event and book conference tickets at Made North is offering CR readers an exclusive discount on tickets – enter the code ‘creativereview’ and you’ll receive one for £35 instead of the usual £55. The cost covers talks, lunch and an after party, where we’ve been told some graphic design legends will be spinning some tunes…

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