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I currently work as Design Advisor at Home Group, and this year we decided we really wanted to raise the profile of our design aspirations.

We came up with the idea of a ‘Design Festival’ and in the summer we launched this new initiative. The Design Festival involved a number of events that were scheduled over the summer months covering a combination of architectural, urban design, place making and team building activities.

Schedule of events organised throughout the summer.

The festival promoted Home Group’s design vision and has positively raised awareness throughout and beyond the organisation on the value of good design.

The nature of the festival provided an informal platform for colleagues to work outside of current projects and share ideas with our highly skilled framework architects. This provided us with a great opportunity to collaborate and increase familiarity with one another’s work through the incorporation of site visits and workshop sessions on topical areas.

The first event was held at Levitt Bernstein offices in London and focused on modular design. A prototype was displayed in the car park and presentations were provided by our framework architects sharing their experience of offsite construction.

Modular Prototype developed by Levitt Bernstein and Innovare for Green Sky Thinking.

Events arranged throughout the festival were geared towards encouraging colleagues to think about what makes good design, considering not only building design but community spaces and responding to the surrounding areas characteristics, to help achieve our aim of delivering award winning schemes and places where people are proud to live.

Design Masterclass packs were created and used for placemaking activities with Development and Delivery colleagues. Colleagues were encouraged to design housing development in rural, suburban and urban environments using wooden house models.

A number of walking tours took place within London, the North West and North East of England to demonstrate and evaluate elements of design and placemaking. One of the tours covered a number of sites in Newcastle, as part of the site appraisal and context event, this included a visit to The Staiths, The Malings and Byker Wall alongside IDP Architects.

Walking tour at The Malings within the Ouseburn.

The first year of the Design Festival was seen as a great success, resulting in brilliant discussion, interesting workshops and forging strong relationships. Next year it is intended that the involvement and profile of the Design Festival is increased.

I would welcome any comments and suggestions on what could be included within the festival next year. You can find my email address within my profile.




School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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