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Saturday 16th April 2011: Design Matters!
Time: 09.30-11.00 
Location: Studio Zeta www.studiozetamilano.com
26, Via Fruili 20135 – Milano (Metroline 3, Station “Lodi T.I.B.B.”)
Language: English
Entree: Free
Seats 129 (so please be on time)
 
Introduction by Premsela director Els van der Plas
Professionals attending the discussion: Nacho Carbonell, Maria Theresa Leal, Cheick Diallo, Ilse Crawford
MA head professor social design: Jan Boelen
DAE student/ alumni: Alicia Ongay Perez, Agata Jaworska
Moderator: Saskia van Stein (DAE, MA Source)

The growing awareness of global inequalities in wealth, the distribution of materials, goods and services make designers turn to “real needs” with meaningful designs to serve all human beings. 5.8 billion people, or 90%, of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion have, little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted; in fact, nearly half do not have regular access to food, clean water, or shelter. Addressing these issues with design's potential to develop new innovative solutions to seemingly persistent (social) problems is the way forward. In the “design matters! breakfast session” we will investigate what kind of design attitude does working in these contexts demand?

 
Green!, cradle to cradle, sustainability; in recent years these words have become part of the fabric of the discursive lingo of designing with conscious creativity. The aim and desire is to contribute and improve human well-being, to translate to a more social and ecologicaly inclusive and integral design attitude. Quotes like “more is less”, “more is more”, “less is less” and “less is more” indicate a quest to balance our input and output. A growing discomfort with useless products and a merely commercially driven design world, translates into an expanding disciplinary field. Responsibility is the new commodity and urgent societal topics are addressed in designs for alternative food production, community building strategies or energy saving which shifted from consuming energy to producing energy. An ideal world is no longer the basic assumption for design but the development of strategies to rearrange or re-connect to the planet is the propelling force.
Also the growing awareness of global inequalities in wealth, the distribution of materials, goods and services make designers turn to “real needs” with meaningful designs to serve all human beings. 5.8 billion people, or 90%, of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion have, little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted; in fact, nearly half do not have regular access to food, clean water, or shelter. Addressing these issues with design's potential to develop new innovative solutions to seemingly persistent (social) problems is the way forward. The popularity of books such as Victor Papanek’s “Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change” on socially and ecologically responsible design indicates a search for these solutions. Open calls such as initiated by Architecture for Humanity to urge designers and architects to use their problem solving capacity for complex issues in society, illustrate the hunger for conscious designs that dare to deal with issues as migration, malnourishment and poverty.
What kind of design attitude does working in these contexts demand? Designers are working directly with end users of their products, emphasizing co-creation to respond to their needs. Working with local materials, crafts and techniques they mix to the max to tackle basic challenges of survival. How do we educate designers to deal with cost-effective ways to increase access to food and water, energy, education, healthcare or revenue-generating activities? ? By emphasizing the problem solving capacity of design, mainly by reformulating the problem in such a way that it becomes part of a productive solution, design can contribute in an effective way. For instance “garbage” can be made productive just by regarding it as material. Within this way of “design thinking” the end-user need not be framed by connotations of charity. These designs employ market principles, like the micro credit for income generation, as a way of self empowerment aiming for a lasting way out of poverty. The world is in a constant state of change with economic, technological, social and (geo) political consequences: new relationships are developing between people, things and places. It is in this force field that design Matters!
 
Published: 16-Apr-2011 09:51
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