Design Manchester 14: The Science of Imagination

Last Friday we produced the core conference day of Design Manchester, an originative festival celebrating creativity, collaboration and inclusivity in the worlds of art, design, illustration, animation and photography, now in its second year.

The Town Hall was packed out with a brilliant mix of designers, artists, students and creatives, all coming together for a series of inspirational talks from speakers including Michael C Place (Build) in conversation with Angus Montgomery (editor of festival media partner Design Week), Rejane Dal Bello, Ross Phillips, Rob Lowe (Supermundane), Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy (Unit Editions), hosted by Manchester School of Art’s Professor David Crow.

We officially announced the festival back in late September, launching with a collaborative exhibition, Design Manchester: 10×10, which saw local artists and designers team up with creatives from varying backgrounds to respond to 2014’s theme of The Science of Imagination. Set within Federation House’s vast fourth floor space, DM 10×10 featured work from The Neighbourhood, Barney Ibbotson, DR.ME, Jane Bowyer, Textbook Studio, Sneaky Racoon, Sam Meech, Graeme Rutherford, Mr Hass and more – I particularly loved Brendan Dawes’ stunning 3D sculptures of the soundwaves from classic Mancunian songs.

An undoubted highlight of the festival was the adidas Spezial exhibition, featuring over 600 pairs of rare, deadstock, re-issue and collaboration styles from adidas collectors. This garnered a lot of attention from both festivalgoers and press, with some great coverage from Creative Boom, Design By Future, Manchester Evening News and Time Out Manchester. The exhibition was so popular, in fact, that the gallery tour hosted by curator Gary Aspden sold out within 50 seconds of going on sale. People and their trainers…

Another high point for me was being able to see the breath-taking Dress of Glass and Flame, an artwork created by designer and social artist Helen Storey MBE exploring the chemistry of – you’ve guessed it – glass and flame. This was exhibited for just one day at Manchester Art Gallery, so it felt pretty special to catch it as it passed through the city so briefly.

This year has seen the Design Manchester mould expand to accommodate its whopping ten-day run, which is an impressive growth considering it’s still only two years old. See you there next year?

Jess x


Our friends @wildinart have come up with a new type of outdoor event, allowing people to safely enjoy art and recon……

@todayissundaeAbout 1 month ago


At Sundae, the summer is our favourite work season, we love music, art, sunshine (and rain), ice cream (clearly), but most of all, we love people. We love bringing people together for new experiences, challenges, and everything that goes along with being at a festival. I absolutely LOVE working with Shangri-La at Glastonbury, and naturally […]