2016 Northern Design Festival Programme

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This year’s Northern Design Festival takes place from 7 to 16 October 2016 and takes the theme ‘Where do ideas come from?’

How do ideas evolve into furniture, products, posters, brands and buildings? – the things that surround us every day. How do designers decide which ones to follow, develop and bring to life, and how do they get from initial concept to finished work?

The Festival explores innovation, from the importance of drawing with the RIBA’s Drawing Room exhibition, to collaborative working with Turner Prize-winning Assemble’s Granby Workshop installation. Our ‘Where do ideas come from?’ exhibition invites leading designers and image makers to share their inspirations from process and materials research to typography and wit, resulting in stunning work and a rare behind-the-scenes insight into their working practice.

Design NOW, our inaugural design symposium, provides deeper insights from a stellar line-up of speakers across architecture, design, graphics and illustration. Our partnership with the Crafts Council continues and this year we will present 10 beautifully crafted pieces from their national Hothouse programme by the hottest emerging talent working in contemporary craft today.

Once again we have some stunning hidden gem venues including the Assembly House and Cooper’s Studios, perfect backdrops to showcase the best in contemporary design.

We look forward to seeing you at the Festival, and don’t forget that you can buy brilliant Northern design at our pop up shop and our online store.

It’s free to visit the Northern Design Festival pop-up shop and just £2.50 entry to the Assembly House exhibitions which allows you unlimited repeat visits.

Download a copy of the 2016 Northern Design Festival brochure (PDF, 968kb)



Curator’s tours

Join Karen Nairstone, Curator of the Northern Design Festival, for a free guided tour of this year’s exhibitions at the…


Pop-up shop

Visit the Northern Design Festival pop-up shop for design-led jewellery, homewares, prints and more. 2015 Turner Prize winners Assemble have…



A site-specific installation by the 2015 Turner Prize winners. Last year a collective of designers and architects took the art…

Agincourt - Alan kitching

Where do ideas come from?

Leading graphic designers and image makers explore how finished works have been developed from initial concept. Milton Glaser said “There…

arjanvandal-conical cylinders-coloured porcelain


A selection of work by the hottest makers from across the UK. Featuring ambitious and talented makers and designers who…


Design NOW symposium

A one-day symposium offering insights and inspiration from the UK’s leading creatives. With so much visual noise around us how…


Design Event MART

A curated exhibition showcasing the best of contemporary design in the North of England. Designers have been carefully selected with…

Hollywoode Hates Me

Hollywood Hates Me

Rejected movie poster designs by Ian Keltie, Creative Director of Newcastlebased creative agency, Keltie Cochrane. Working with entertainment agencies across…

Drawing Room design studio class RIBA

The Drawing Room

Work by RIBA members from initial concept sketches to technical drawings. For architects, drawing is a thinking process. Sketching by…

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Take A Seat

A retrospective of seating designed by David Irwin. This exhibition looks back at the chair designs by the award-winning Newcastle-based…

tunring ideas into buildings

Turning Ideas into Buildings

THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED A lively panel discussion with architects and clients behind recent RIBA award winning buildings…

Designer Henrik Pedersen har tegnestuen 365 North i ˜rhus. Han har bla designet stole for Boconcept og lamper for Frandsen.

BoConcept Design Icons

What is an icon? What makes something the best example of its kind? When does a piece of furniture transcend…


Cooper’s Studios building tour

Cooper’s Studios was originally a horse and carriage repository and this three storey Grade II listed building has been restored…

Rise & Design Logo 001 (High Resolution)

Rise and Design

We all need good ideas, whether at home or at work, but having the right ideas at the right time…

people and print

People and Print: Where Ideas Create Communities

A debate and workshop on the making of independent magazines presented by The Northern Correspondent and Stack Magazines. Speakers include:…


David Irwin: Take A Seat

David Irwin is an award-winning industrial designer who graduated in 3D Design at Northumbria University in 2007. He completed a…

Assembly House outside at night

Architects Breakfast

An exclusive opportunity for architects, interior designers, developers and commissioners to visit the exhibitions and meet some of the designers…

Assembly House front

The Assembly House building tour

THIS EVENT IS NOW FULLY BOOKED  The Assembly House was first recorded as the City’s Mansion House in the 1680s…