Design Festival North 2023 was a grand celebration of creativity, innovation, and sustainability, held at the historic 1830 Warehouse on Liverpool Road in Manchester. The festival brought together design industry professionals, students and creative minds for three days of inspiration and exploration.
Day 1 of the festival focused on Workplace Wellbeing. The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) led the charge by emphasising inclusivity within the design industry and the importance of creating spaces that cater to diverse needs. Renowned wellbeing consultant, Claire Bennett, conducted an interactive workshop on stress management, offering practical strategies for improving overall well-being in work environments. The day also featured a captivating talk on circadian lighting, exploring how lighting design can positively impact health, mood, and productivity.
Day 2 was dedicated to exploring Trends, Materials, and Technology. Ethical Stone and Parkside Tiles showcased the timeless beauty of terrazzo, shedding light on sustainable production methods and responsible sourcing. Followed by Stylib and Bose Professional who discussed the exciting possibilities of artificial intelligence and its impact on design, revolutionising the creative process and enhancing the user experience.
The festival’s final day focused on Designing for a Sustainable Future. Alex Rhodes from Tarkett emphasised circularity in design and how innovative practices and materials contribute to a more sustainable world. A panel discussion organised by BIID celebrated sustainable design and brought together industry experts to exchange ideas and experiences. closing the talks for the day Sarah De Freitas presented her team’s approach to designing with sustainability at its core.
Throughout the festival visitors had the opportunity to explore an impressive exhibition area featuring over 30 design-led businesses. The exhibition offered a diverse and immersive experience, showcasing products including furniture, hard surfaces, tiles, wood, art, wall coverings, carpets and much more. This provided attendees with inspiration and allowed them to engage with industry professionals.
In addition to the daytime events, the festival hosted exclusive invite-only evening events whereby attendees enjoyed drinks and northern-themed cuisine, with the “pie night” being a firm favourite.
Design Festival North owes a huge thank you to its event partners: Bose Professional, Allsfar, and Isomi, for their invaluable support. Bose Professional’s impeccable PA and sound system ensured clarity and precision during seminars, while Allsfar’s acoustic screens created an immersive ambiance in the live theatre. Isomi’s exceptional reception desks added sophistication and efficiency to the event’s entry points.
The festival’s venue, the 1830 Warehouse, part of The Science and Industry Museum, was praised for its excellence, providing an outstanding setting for the entire event.
Design Festival North not only showcased the very best of design but also served as a hub for networking, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration, its appeal extended far beyond Manchester, with attendees traveling from various cities, including Scotland, Newcastle, Coventry, and Liverpool, among others, reaffirming its status as a prominent and sought-after gathering in the design community.