As Dezeen's fifth birthday falls this week, we've been digging through the archives collating the most memorable stories, events, parties and so on since we launched in November 2006. Today we present the five most memorable experimental projects we've been involved in - regardless of whether they worked. They include an exhibition about rubbish, a gallery full of speakers and cars covered in flowers...
One: Trash Luxe at Liberty, London, September 2007
Venerable London emporium Liberty asked us to propose an exhibition during 2007 London Design Festival and we came up with the idea of celebrating the then-new trend of designers using cheap or unwanted materials to create luxury items. We ended up filling the top floor of the store with rubbish, basically.
Trash Luxe, which included Max Lamb's polystyrene furniture and Stuart Haygarth's chandelier made of discarded spectacle lenses, was our first experience of exhibition curation but, we're happy to say, was a great success.
However the series of video interviews we painstakingly conducted with all the designers was not such a triumph, as Liberty belatedly told us we couldn't have audio playing in the store... we must dig them out and publish them one day.
Two: Flower Cars, Milan, April 2008
The Flower Council of Holland wanted a dynamic idea to showcase their blooms during the furniture fair in Milan, so we contacted five of our designer friends and asked them to design floral liveries for a fleet of Fiat 500s.
Studio Job, Arik Levy, Arne Quinze, FredriksonStallard and Karim Rashid rose to the task and created spectacular flower jackets for the cars but unfortunately the Milanese police didn't think they were safe enough to drive around the city, meaning we had to abandon our plan to provide a VIP shuttle service to our friends. They looked great all the same though.
Three: Jamscape, Milan, April 2011
We collaborated with Yves Behar of fuseproject on a major installation in Ventura Lambrate, Milan, designed to showcase the wireless Jambox speaker he designed for Jawbone. We put out a call to our musically minded readers to submit audio tracks to play on monolithic assemblies of Jamboxes and curated the sounds that pumped out during the furniture fair. We also used the tunes as soundtracks to the movies we shot in Milan.
The project was great fun and got shortlisted for an Elita music festival award... and we still can't get our readers' tunes out of our heads.
Four: Milanuncut, Milan, April 2011
This April we also got involved in an experimental media project that brought together design journalists and bloggers from around the world. Milanuncut was triggered by a Twitter conversation between architecture critic Kieran Long and design curator Max Fraser about the royalty system that pays (or doesn't pay) the bills for a huge percentage of designers.
The discussion quickly went viral and, thanks in no small part to the logo and website created by our graphic design neighbours Zerofee, became a hugely influential trigger for debate in the design media and beyond. In his Guardian column, Justin McGuirk described the discussion as the biggest story to come out of Milan this year.
Five: Dezeen Platform, September-October 2011
This is the project we're most proud of. As part of our Dezeen Space installation in Shoreditch during the London Design Festival and Frieze Art Fair, we offered a 1 x 1 metre space for free to any designer who could come up with a good proposal. We also volunteered to make a video interview with each designer.
The response was amazing - we got around 300 submissions, which we had to whittle down to 30. We nearly killed ourselves with the volume of work it involved and we still haven't finished editing most of the videos, but we're pleased to have been able to give a free platform to so many talented designers. We doubt we'll have the energy to do it again for while though...
Watch the videos we have completed here.