Five of the Best: Design

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Blog post by Rachel Kershaw writer of Life in Geordieland, the blog guide to NewcastleGateshead. In this series of blog posts – Five of the Best – Rachel has had the hard task of picking out five events, pop-ups, exhibits and activities from the 80-day programme that she thinks are the ones not to miss! 

I wander through the streets of Newcastle and Gateshead on a regular basis and I never fail to be impressed by the clever designs that shape the environment around me. It would be easy to take for granted the beautiful architecture of the buildings, the useful products and forward thinking brands that influence our daily lives but when you delve a little deeper into the best of Northern design, you discover a wealth of talent that is sure to inspire you.

During Great Exhibition of the North you can follow in the footsteps of Northern design gurus with the Get North Design Trail, be creative with your own designs in the Northern Design Quest and experience exciting events and exhibitions that will open your mind to new possibilities. There’s something for everyone and it’s all free!

Newcastle and Gateshead is bursting with amazing examples of ground-breaking design, I’ve picked out my five of the best design experiences you can have here this summer as you enjoy Great Exhibition of the North 2018.

1. Marvel in Wonder on a City Centre Wander

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The Get North Design Trail will guide you to some of Newcastle and Gateshead’s most iconic landmarks, where the buildings themselves are just as impressive as the design exhibitions inside them. You’ll visit Britain’s biggest commercial gallery, The Biscuit Factory, housed in a carefully restored Victorian warehouse in Ouseburn. You’ll wander in amazement across Gateshead Millennium Bridge (the first and only tilting bridge in the world)! Over in Gateshead you can check out the innovative new Northern Design Centre, which has quickly gained a reputation for being a creative hub for design-led businesses in the North East of England. These are just some of the breath-taking locations on the trail so whether you’re familiar with the area or visiting for the first time, you’re sure to make amazing discoveries.

2. Showcase Your Own Creations in Northern Design Centre

Northern Design Quest along the Get North Design Trail

Whilst on the Get North Design Trail you can take part in the Northern Design Quest. This innovative challenge is your chance to discover the design stories behind iconic Northern products like Barbour, Mamas and Papas and Meccano. Once you’ve been inspired by these successful brands, you can have a go at designing your own brand to showcase alongside them at Northern Design Centre! There’s a whole website dedicated to the Northern Design Quest filled with ideas and advice to help you on your design journey so be sure to check it out and get involved. You could be the North’s next design hero!

3. Shop till you Drop at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair

Great Northern Contemporary Design Fair

What better way to remember Great Exhibition of the North than to treat yourself to some handcrafted local souvenirs? The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair takes place at The Biscuit Factory during the Opening Weekend (Sat 23 & Sun 24 June). This two-day event welcomes fifty of the North’s finest artists and designers selling a unique collection of ceramics, glass, jewellery, textiles, print, fashion design, furniture, lighting and decorative accessories. Go on, treat yourself. Don’t miss design | innovate | craft also at The Biscuit Factory this summer.

4. Fashion forward

Northumbria University Reveal

Fashion plays a big role in a number of the exhibitions and events during Great Exhibition of the North. Head to Northumbria University to get a glimpse of the next big names in fashion as the students showcase their creative talent. You’re invited to browse Reveal – Northumbria University’s 2018 degree show – featuring everything from fashion to architecture, animation to art. Take a look at the Little Black Dress of the future made from wonder-substance graphene at intu Eldon Square and admire Dame Vivienne Westwood’s iconic pirate outfit at Great North Museum. 

5. Get Inspired at the Get North Family Expo

Get North Family Expo

A week of boredom-busting activities designed to ignite your imagination will take place at St James’ Park from 2 – 9 August. The Get North Family Expo will offer endless possibilities to learn new things but you’ll all be having too much fun to realise!  If you’ve got kids in your family (particularly if they’re around 7-14 years old) bring them along to get stuck in to the Gadget Factory of dreams…They can tinker with robots, have a go at 3D printing, crack codes and maybe even be inspired to work towards an exciting future career in the worlds of art, design and innovation.

Oh there is so much more

If that wasn’t enough, don’t miss:

  • Frank Style’s brilliant mural of Fifty Northern Icons which can be found outside Gateshead’s Northern Design Centre.
  • Angel of the North – a feat of design and an impressive piece of public art.
  • Tools for Everyday Life is an exhibition at Northumbria University which highlights the importance of 3D design in the creation of rewarding products and furniture

What are your favourite activities, events, pop-ups and exhibits exploring the theme of art and culture? Let us know on social media via Twitter and Instagram: @GetNorth2018 and Facebook @Great Exhibition of the North 2018 #GetNorth2018 


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