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Grand Designs

Eleanor O’Kane looks ahead to the launch of Cheltenham’s newest festival in April.

The launch of Cheltenham’s newest festival is drawing closer, bringing creative thinkers to the town between April 20th-22nd for three days packed with events that celebrate good design in many forms. The Cheltenham Design Festival takes place at the Parabola Arts Centre and there’s something for everyone, no matter where your interests lie.

Friday April 20th is devoted to design and education, giving students a unique opportunity to discover what it’s really like to work in the creative industry today. Some of the most exciting and influential people in design will be presenting their ideas and it’s an exciting opportunity to see creative thinking in action.

Inspiring figures such as transport design Paul Priestman will be talking about his projects; Priestman’s recent Moving Platforms concept could revolutionise the future of transport while his design for the Mercury high-speed train is seen as Britain’s answer to the bullet train. Travelling from Denmark, Simon Kavanagh from the ideas school The KaosPilots will explain how creative thinking is used to solve global problems. It promised to be an inspirational day and a great start to the Festival.

On Saturday April 21st, the emphasis shifts to how design affects our lives. Top garden and landscape designer Dan Pearson starts the day with a talk about his work in public spaces. Pearson has designed five award-winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show and has written columns for newspapers such as The Times and The Observer; this is a treat for anyone interested in landscape design, or just wants to hear more about the work of the highly respected garden designer. Throughout the day, the events will focus on different ways that design enhances our wellbeing and improves our future.

Sustainability will be addressed in an event with the inventor Ed Douglas Miller, the eco-architect Craig White and Professor Daniella Tilbury, Director of Sustainability at the University of Gloucestershire. Miller founded his company Remarkable in 1996, and recycles waste products into usable goods such as pens, rulers and notepads. The evening sees the president of the festival, Sir John Hegarty, taking part in a discussion entitled Who’s designing the future? which will look at how creativity can help us move forwards in this difficult economic time.

Sunday April 22nd is a day for inventors of all ages and a chance to see design in action. To get your morning off to a brisk start, come along and hear about The Bloodhound Project, whose aim is to build a car that travels at 1,000 miles per hour. There will be a simulator on hand as well as a children’s workshop where the Jenson Buttons and Lewis Hamiltons of tomorrow can create their own race cars. Motoring fans will also want to catch two separate talks by designers at McLaren and the Morgan Motor Company. Those interested in developing their own inventions shouldn’t miss Mark Champkins, Inventor in Residence at the Science Museum and successful Dragons’ Den candidate, as he gives advice on developing a good idea while parents who think their kids spend too much time playing games on their phones should take them along to the talk on the future of mobile games, where they can get tips on turning their hobby into a real career!

Creative thinking changes lives; find out how it can change yours at the Cheltenham Design Festival in April.