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Bridge – The Bristol Design Show

Bridge logo.   The Royal West of England Academy
hosted Bridge, from 2 to 29 April 2006.
A mixed show, Bridge was a collaborative exhibition between Bristol School of Art, Media & Design and Bristol designers.

Bridge celebrated creativity, art and the design talent in Bristol today, and in our everyday lives, tracing the journey from art education to the commercial design world, as well as paying tribute to one of Bristol’s most prolific and successful designers – Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The original objective, was to raise awareness and understanding of design in Bristol today, by alerting people to the design agencies in the city, which have produced commercial and recognisable design.

It showcased Bristol’s creative talent and included the Longest Bridge in Bristol – a drawing made by local artists and children – a knitted railway and great examples of Bristol design.

From interiors at the award–winning Café Maitreya to Sky Starter packs and design for Formula 1, a range of design was displayed, including work from Home design agency, whose work for Royal Mail was exhibited.

Home - Cheddar Grove School visiting Bridge.

Cheddar Grove School visiting Bridge (Mark Simmons).

Emma Collins, one of the show’s organisers and Managing Director at Bristol’s design brand and communications agency Home said,

“We are so thrilled that Brunel 200 has provided an opportunity to bring designers and artists together. It’s a great way to show the people of Bristol the talent that exists within our City today, to find out a bit more about art and how things are designed. This show is designed to be open and accessible for all and we are delighted that the RWA has opened it’s doors to provide a fabulous venue for this unique show”.

Nick Capaldi, Arts Council, stated that “…this was exactly the type of partnership the RWA should be involved with, celebrating all forms of creativity and opening it’s doors to new communities of people”.

Approximately 2,000 people were involved in the project, either via contributing or visiting, comprising:

13 design agencies
52 artists
48 local people (aged 18-70)
300 primary school children
150 secondary school children
35 guests at a talk on architecture by George Ferguson
60+ guests at a talk on the value of design
1,200 visitors to the show

Emma was the driving force behind the project, and through working with other design agencies and individuals, she has proposed that Bristol develops a Design Festival. Bridge had plenty of local publicity, as well as a full page in Design Week, which has led to London Design Festival wanting to discuss the future possibilities of such a venture.

She commented in evaluation that, “Brunel does do something to people – whether it’s to capture their imagination or just some basic level of respect for a great man, having Brunel as the thrust behind…this exhibition…was of great help”.

Home - Cheddar Grove School visiting Bridge.

Cheddar Grove School visiting Bridge (Mark Simmons).

Visitor quotes to Bridge included:

“I enjoyed both the fine art and the design elements – Yay for Bristol!!”

“Inspirational and awareness raising.”

“The exhibition caught the spirit of Brunel as designer, entrepreneur, and radical innovator.”

Paul Gough, Dean. Bristol School of Art, Media & Design, UWE

The projects website can be found here:

Home - Design by Bristol school children, showing the Longest Bridge in Bristol.

Design by Bristol school children, showing the Longest Bridge in Bristol.