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Set the agenda - Our pick of May's design events

Vicky Stoakes

Communications Consultant

Set the agenda – Red Setter’s Top 5 Design Events in May 2021

May is a big month in 2021’s cultural calendar. Gallery doors are starting to open and postponed events are finally starting to take place. This means that May is set to be a really exciting one for design lovers keen to experience events first-hand for the first time in over a year.

This is our Red Setter round up of the top five events globally that we’d love to be attending. If you can get to London, New York, Dundee, Berlin or Brighton, we’ve got an event in each city that will satisfy your desire for the best in design-led culture and creative thinking.

1. Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

What: ‘Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street’
When: Tuesday 18th May 2021 to 6th June 2021
Where: London’s Design Museum
Why: Having been postponed from 2020, this is one of the most anticipated events of the year. If you saw Netflix’s Abstract: Art of Design episode on Nike’s legendary designer Tinker Hatfield, you might already have an insight into the power of the ‘sneaker’. How trainers have gone from being designed for specific athletic activities, to becoming cultural symbols of our time. We can’t wait to get our kicks at this exhibition.


2. Night Fever: Designing Club Culture

What: ‘Night Fever: Designing Club Culture’
When: Opening 1st May 2021
Where: V&A Dundee
Why: It claims to be the first major exhibition exploring the relationship between club culture and design from the 1960s to today. The exhibition uncovers the progressive and subversive history of nightclub design, and its far-reaching influence on popular culture. So, if you’ve been missing the dancefloor over the last year and want to learn about more than Studio 54 and the Haçienda, now is your chance (V&A Dundee is the only UK venue for this show, which was developed by the Vitra Design Museum and ADAM – Brussels Design Museum.)


3. NYCxDesign

What: NYCxDesign
When: 13th to 18th May 2021
Where: NYC various locations
Why: NYCxDESIGN was established in 2012 as a City Council initiative to promote the design industry in New York. It’s a not-for-profit organisation, committed to empowering and promoting the city’s diverse creative community. There will be events all over the city, with diversity, purpose, cultural placemaking, economic opportunity, and creativity core to the event’s values.

4. Berlin Design Week

What: Berlin Design Week
When: 26th May to 6th June 2021
Where: Berlin various locations
Why: Berlin’s Design Week is one of the most cutting edge, with a multifaceted program of exhibitions, talks, films and more, held over 11 days around the city. Designers come together with cultural institutions, museums, studios, galleries, project spaces and companies, to showcase experimental projects and approaches that aim to link design disciplines with research, industry, and business. This year’s theme is ‘New Traditions’ stating that ‘crises require a discourse for trail-blazing strategies. Clear-cut, sustainable and trend-setting design can initiate a new normal.’

5. The Forked Forest Path, Olafur Eliasson, Brighton.

What: Olafur Eliasson’s forest installation at the Brighton Festival
When: Tuesday 18th May to Sunday 20th June 2021
Where: Fabrica, Brighton.
Why: There are over 90 events taking place during the Brighton Festival, and no list of events for May could be complete with at least one taking place in Red Setter’s HQ. Our pick would be a visit to Olafur Eliasson’s immersive installation at Fabrica gallery. It’s a chance to explore the twisting pathways of a fairy-tale forest that sprang up in the imagination of the internationally renowned Danish-Icelandic artist. It promises to enfold viewers in the sights, scents, and textures of a wood in winter. A fully immersive experience feels like something we all need right now.

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