Discarding elitist aesthetic concepts as the point of reference for design, the 7th edition of the Łódź Design Festival is dedicated to humanistic and egalitarian design
Poland's biggest design event comes at the discipline from all sides: industrial design, arts and crafts design, graphic design, architecture, fashion. A grandiose festival of all things design, the event's main programme comprises three main curated exhibitions. The highlights of the accompanying programme (spread out in 50 city locations) include lectures by world-famous experts, the make me! contest for young designers, the Must Have competition, and the portfolio review for a face-off between art school students and graduates and professionals (curators, designers and manufacturers).
The main programme centres around three themes: Eating, Inhabitation, Empathy. Łódź Design Festival Programme Director Małgorzata Żmijska elaborates on humanitarian design,
There was a time… not that long ago… when elitist aesthetic concepts were the point of reference for design. It flirted with them, going against them or joining their ranks, not paying much attention to the matters of mere mortals and ignoring the developing challenges of contemporary life. This time, however, is over. [...] Today, a different attitude is growing, one based on the open source model, supported by the global Internet and the continuing democratisation of technology. The time of talented amateurs and active consumers has come. It is possible, thanks to the creative opportunities brought the next wave of inventions (2D and 3D printers, open source software, open platforms that allow user-installed multimedia applications). All that is accompanied by a renaissance of production based on craftsmanship.
The need to design food is as old as the civilisation itself - a cylinder shaped piece of cheese, a rectangular bar of chocolate, geometric form of fish fingers. Food products are the most fundamental designer items. The Food | Design | Humanity main programme exhibition curated by the Honey&Bunny duo - Sonja Stummerer and Martin Hablesreiter - aims to show that designing food is an activity that creates our everyday life.
For more culinary craze, the accompanying exhibition, Art Food, is a project paying heed to the way our favourite delicacies are made all the more appealing thanks to the charm of a well-designed serving dish, dessert bowl, platter or saucer. Curated by ceramic-pottery designer Marek Cecuła - one of Poland's most recognised product designers, it demonstrates how form can impact taste and setting tableware up as a "medium for food" and flavour.
For Culture.pl's interview with Cecuła, click here.
The In-habitation Garden City, Gated City exhibition (organised by the Institute of Architecture) attempts to connect contemporary residential architecture with the evolving identity of its inhabitants. The exhibition asks questions about the proliferation of closed gate residential areas with entry bars, gates, fences, PIN-codes, badges of security firms and TV cameras and their meaning in the development of the society.
Featuring as an accompanying exhibition is Polish Red Dots curated by Czesława Frejlich. The exhibition promotes 30 Polish products that won the Red Dot Design Award (organised since 1955 by Design Zentrum Nordrhrein Westfalen in Essen, Germany, one of the oldest and best-known design institutions) and aims to encourage Polish entrepreneurs to make investments based on good design. The products include Malafor's Blow Sofa from the Extreme collection made of 100% recycled paper inflatable bags, Oskar Zięta's pumped metal sheet stool and Moho Design's cut-out small rugs. Czesława Frejlich has edited two albums devoted to design: Out of the Ordinary, a review of the major players and pieces of 20th-century Polish design, and Polish Design: Uncut, an overview of Polish design of the past decade. Both albums are published by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, a public institution aimed at the promotion of Polish culture across the globe.
Coming back to the main theme of the Design Week - a humanistic approach to work - the sub-theme empathy reminds of the designer’s role to listen to the needs of people for whom they work and create products. At the DEEP NEED | empathy and design exhibition, the curators Agnieszka Szóstek and Magda Kochanowska will showcase items to provide natural solutions to everyday problems.
Accompanying the main exhibition is project Operation Książ by Monika Patuszyńska. She explores the remnants of the fallen porcelain factories in the halls of the Książ Porcelain Factory that was closed nine years ago. Her work with porcelain objects constructed from gypsum forms scattered around the factory and affected by dripping water from the leaky ceilings attempts to answer the eternal question of the role of art, design and intellectual property in life and society.
Hallmarks of the Łódź Design Festival since six years, the competition and exhibition is for designers from 20 to 35 who submit their industrial design and graphic projects in textiles, fashion, glass and ceramics. The contest takes place before Design Week and draws significant attention from viewers, the media and experts. This year's 20 contestants were chosen from almost 200 entries; the winner will be announced on the 17th of October during the Festival's opening gala.
The Must Have competition, running for three years now, consists of a plebiscite and exhibitions organised prior to the Design Festival. Items are submitted to a plebiscite by the experts, companies and individuals. Nominated products must be made in Poland and also be available for purchase on the market. The winning entries are shown at the exhibition accompanying Łódź Design Festival 2013.
Additional Design Week happenings include MEETBLOGIN Łódź 2013 - Poland's first ever event for interior design bloggers and BiznesUp! (25.10) aiming to present the benefits of cooperation with designers for companies.
Łódź Design Festival
Held since 2007, the Łódź Design Festival serves as a platform for arts communities with an interest in the broadly understood area of design. The annual event, that attracts around 200,000 visitors from around the world (58% of whom are present or aspiring designers and design-related specialists), is organised by the Łódź Art Center (the masterminds behind the Łódź Biennale and the Contemporary Art Zone) with the support of many partners.
Author: MJ 11.10.2013, based on the Łódź Design Festival webpage and Agnieszka Sural's article for culture.pl