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Guest Post: Designed in Hackney​

On Wednesday STL companion Matthew Wood spent the day at ‘Designed in Hackney’. Here are a few of his highlights:

This week Dezeen – in collaboration with Beatice Galilee – hosted an event to celebrate all things designed in Hackney. The event focused on emerging young architects and designers whose work ranges from shoe design to Olympic Park installations. Hackney is known widely for its diverse creative industry and as we soon found out, even the Olympic Torch was designed there! The day showcased some of the best talent and gave them a chance to have their say. Here, we pick some of our best moments and most interesting studios.

The opening session began with an introduction to Hackney’s ‘Digital Poets’ – a theme that reflects the large investment in tech start-ups in the area. The work of Berg London, who describe themselves as an ‘ideas’ studio, was particularly involving. Their research into how we use and interact with technology made for an intriguing presentation and showed how technology can provide playful and inspiring design solutions.

One particularly fun example of their work can be seen in the video below. As described by Jeremy Paxman…

Moving away from technology and into more familiar territory for myself, we heard talks from Erect Architects, Studio Weave, We Made That and Gort Scott. In a tough climate for architects, these four practices highlighted how smaller scale creativity and innovation is still prominent, even when it comes to vast landscapes such as the Olympic Park. An example of this is ‘Fantasticology’ by We Made That which can be seen by those of you lucky enough to have tickets to an Olympic event. The series of wildlife meadows in the park act as a floral celebration of the industrial heritage of the site, recreating the footprint of the previous buildings and blooming during the games. Also part of the scheme is a collection of ‘fantastic facts’ that are located on benches throughout the park. The facts, designed to excite, bewilder, inform and inspire visitors to the park for years to come, were collected from a series of local workshops with the the best ones being chosen.

The day moved on to a high velocity Petch Kucha in which the pick of Hackney’s designers introduced their latest work. We heard from a number of cutting edge designers such as Pearson lloyd and Tracey Neuls, and discovered the more abstract work of Dominic Wilcox who’s 10″ vinyl ‘Sounds of making in East London’ captures the sounds of 21 skilled creatives at work.

Back on the subject of Olympics, Jason Bruges described his studios recent installation which challenges park visitors to take on the likes of Usain Bolt in a race across one of the Olympic bridges. After the fastest times in the 100m final have been recorded, visitors will be encouraged to race a light as it flashes across the bridge between the beacons which stand100m apart. Until the final the lights will create a landmark bridge. Worth a go in a few weeks time!

The event proved to be informative and intriguing if slightly unnerving! It’s clear there are hugely talented people out there in Hackney alongside those who want to push the boundaries of technology and advance its integration with the everyday and with other creative industries. Be sure to keep your eye out for these artists, designers and architects!

Clock Opera provided the evening entertainment and we at ShopTalk look forward to seeing them again soon. MW

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