Same, Same but Different: DMY 2009Friday, June 19, 2009 14:59
Review by Marcia Caines
The delusion of an unsustainable economic system, along with the time required to forge a new one – based on innovation – and the scarcity of resources, have changed the leading trends in design: public space, recycling, re-use and open source technologies dominated the creative sphere of design at the international DMY Design Festival in Berlin.
‘Same, Same but Different’ DMY design Awards, 2009, © Rosa Merk, courtesy DMY Berlin
DMY started out in 2003 when 20 friends got together to show each other their works and exchange ideas, 7 years down the line it has grown into an International design Festival, contemporary design platform and representative of Berlin as the city of design (UNESCO), connected to an international network of creative cities.
Renowned as a ‘trend barometer’ in the design industry, the DMY design festival has succeeded in maintaining the creative flair and informal atmosphere of its original format while becoming a multifaceted event with global appeal.
In this highly creative context and in a period of impending political, economical and ecological change, 550 designers revealed their projects and prototypes aimed at making an impact from social, ecological or aesthetic points of view
Berlin provides an ideal setting for a design festival, and by capitalizing on empty spaces and underused urban areas it has succeeded in giving creativity an active role within the city in terms of culture and economy, as well as attributing special importance to the existing characteristics of urban spaces. 20% of Berlin’s population is under the age of 25 and one tenth of the working population is involved in the creative economy, which accounts for over 21% of its GDP, making the German capital one of Europe’s most creative hubs. Described by foreign residents as an ‘open city’ Berlin’s creative scene has been attracting designers and artists for years. The festival jury of the DMY Awards was in fact composed of foreign designers and curators who have chosen to live and work in Berlin (Jergen bey, Hurgen Meyer H., Ines Kaag).
The theme of the seventh edition of DMY was ‘Same, Same but different’ focusing on design that makes a difference and referring to two differences in this year’s event module, ‘The Dutch Design Focus’ presenting the conceptual strength of Dutch design, and the premiere edition of the ALLSTARS exhibition held in the IMA design Village, an 18th century factory building recently converted into a multifunctional space for artists and creatives.
In this highly creative context and in a period of impending political, economical and ecological change, 550 designers revealed their projects and prototypes aimed at making an impact from social, ecological or aesthetic points of view.
Allstars: Designing in a post-materialist age
IMA Design Village, Berlin, ALLSTARS DMY 2009, courtesy Eduardo Fuhrmann and Mónica Pujol Romero
Spread over 10,000 square meters the ALLSTARS exhibition showcased work from 150 acclaimed designers from 16 countries and presented exhibitions by international design fairs and partner festivals such as Vienna Design Week, the Seoul Design Festival and the Taiwan Design Center.
Exhibits ranged from interior and product design to architectural solutions to experimental, genre-spanning projects.
Public Space: Design’s Resolution
ALLSTARS exhibition, You May [take the public space], Walking Chair Studio, Vienna and Lynfabrikken, Denmark at Allstars © Tobias Goetz courtesy DMY 2009
You May [take the public space] is furniture for public space, a bench and a bar, a conference table and a quiet corner, a desk, a meeting point and a stage. The bright red wooden benches that seat up to 15 people are the creation of the Vienna based designer’s Karl Emilio Pircher and Fidel Peugeot and a direct attempt to empower people to repossess public space and explore its potential. Fidel Peugeot and Karl Emilio Pircher founded the Walking Chair in 2002 with the philosophy of providing people with the tools to fulfil the design. Their colourful, playful, multi-purpose bench aims to encourage people to meet, network and take inspiration from public space, beyond the confines of homes or retail space. The design received the DMY award and is currently in use at the Vienna Knowledge Space and the City of Aarhus.
Innovative solutions for mass travel
Made By Originals, Global Touring exhibition, DMY 2009
The Berlin-based German firm Design Hotels AG presented its new ‘Made by Originals’ campaign, which focuses on the human factor as the essence of its brand by featuring portrait films of the creative minds – the originals – behind their hotels.
The compact global touring exhibition was created by Thies Wulf of Maginwulf Studios, and consisted of ten portrait films each displayed on a ‘3 POD’ stand made of ultra light carbon. The entire exhibition fitted into just two suitcases and toured 17 countries before arriving in Berlin.
What You See Is no More
Performative Installation by FBG Innovation Lab, Buenos Aires, Argentina at DMY 2009
Eduardo Fuhrmann and Mónica Pujol Romero of FBG Innovation Lab in Argentina celebrated two icons of the popular culture of Buenos Aires: tango and filleting, through a performative installation that explores the relationship between people and the city. Based on the concept that people are the interface they developed a design experience that reacts to the spectator’s movement in real time by producing images and music that evoke the tradition, colours and sounds of Buenos Aires. When the spectator stays still the screen is blank and the sounds of the city (traffic, people, hustle and bustle) prevail, when the spectator moves the music starts and images appear: the more movement, the more images and the louder the music. Eduardo Fuhrmann explained the concept of his work ‘the flux of movement and noises responds to us in cities, if you don’t interact you remain anonymous, you can’t appear above the noise, but when you move you start to appear and then the music starts, and, if someone next to you moves you will appear thanks to them. In cities the invisible threads – connections – create the energy and people complete the scenario; what you see is no more’
Youngsters: forging design into the future
Youngster’s Exhibition, The Design Arena, Berlin, DMY 2009 © Federico Testa, Courtesy DMY Berlin
The ‘Youngsters’, a highly popular and original exhibition, was held in the outstanding Berlin Arena, and offered 7,000 square meters of open space exhibiting the works of over 300 emerging designers and young design studios from around the globe. The young generation of artists/designers at DMY blurred the boundaries of art and design, and raised questions about sustainability and the future role of design.
The Idea Of A Tree was a DMY award winner by design duo Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler who graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven in 2008 and founded their studio Mischer’traxler earlier this year.
Inspired by the relationship between nature and machines they incorporated the recording qualities of a tree and its dependence on natural cycles into a machine, applying the same principles to produce an object per day. The Idea of a Tree is a machine that records and produces simultaneously by using an autonomous production process that runs on sunlight; it reacts to various light intensities and incorporates them into an object a day.
The idea of a tree by Mischer Traxler, © Mischer Traxler, courtesy DMY Berlin
Students from the Sandberg Institute Applied Art Department raised questions about sustainability, re-use and the necessity of design in relation to daily life in a project entitled ‘Domestic Making, a house of possibilities’. The project was a reconstruction of the Heinz Minki apartment presented in two locations: the DMY ‘Youngsters’ exhibition and the real Heinz Minki apartment in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The student’s aim in reconstructing ‘domestic making’ is to acquire a better understanding and knowledge of domestic material and concepts in order to develop intelligent design solutions for the future.
Symposium: cross-pollinating in design processes
Kunstfrabik, Design Symposium, DMY 2009
The DMY symposium invited speakers from multidisciplinary fields to address two main questions:
What role can design play in the future in a multicultural society?
Which aspects will turn out to be crucial for the design field in the future?
It was divided into the following categories: Sustainability, Design and Public Space, alternative strategies and the future role of design.
The symposium, chaired by Robert Eysoldt, communications consultant and project developer (Triad Berlin), and the board of directors (Create Berlin e.v.) was held in the Kunstfabrik, a non-profit organization founded in 1996 that serves as a platform for the Fine Arts, providing working space for nearly 60 artists from different disciplines. It is also an active association that develops new models of cultural co-operation between art and the broader economy.
Among the speakers was Hans Venhuizen, concept manager of Bureau Venhuizen, a project management and research bureau in the field of culture-based planning in Holland focused on planning processes and spatial planning, with culture as its point of departure.
Hans Venhuizen, DMY Design Symposium © Federico Testa, courtesy DMY 2009
Hans Venhuizen developed the Gastgastgeber concept for RUHR 2010, when 53 municipalities in Ruhr, Germany will jointly become the European Capital of Culture, The Gastgastgeben project will link all Dutch cultural contributions to the Ruhr2010 event and provides mobile hotel facilities that will cross the Ruhr area during the peak of the event. He described the practice of ‘game planning’, a game played with inhabitants to start the design process in planning. Based on board game rules and principles he creates different group identities with the purpose of causing conflict, such as pioneers versus housing consumers, for example. The groups compete and the result is a plan from which a landscape emerges. The game develops over different phases and ends in a lobby, where the only players who cannot be eliminated are the present inhabitants. This method involves all kinds of elements that create an imperfect town, which according to Hans Venhuizen is the ideal town.
The ‘game planning’ method developed by Hans Venhuizen provides a innovative solution to urban planning processes that blend existing natural and cultural heritage with contemporary culture and the constantly changing environment.
The symposium was a multidisciplinary affair; international speakers included chemists, architects, urban planners, environmental consultants, NGO representatives, designers and artists. This mix of disciplines provided an excellent opportunity for cross-cultural dialogue, the cross-pollination of innovative ideas and active participation from the floor where questions and animated debates arose on how to approach the challenges facing design through processes, with a call for open design and alternative economic systems.
The events of the DMY design festival, which brought together the young generation of designers, established designers, professionals and over 25,000 visitors for a five-day event in Berlin, showed signs of a brighter future emerging from present necessity.
Accumulated waste in city landfills and saturated market of consumer goods is shifting design from the marketplace to newer fields where open exchange gives impetus to innovation.
The younger generation of designers demonstrated courage in their attempts to tackle a wide range of complex problems, while the established designers, unable to rely on industry or the economy, resorted to one of the most reliable resources of all time: people.
We are yet to see a design festival free from promotional flyers and glossy brochures, but there is hope for next year!