Łódź Design Festival 2012 – 6th Edition

Once again we are going to create an open space to facilitate talks about design, the exchange of good practices and meetings with personalities. If you are looking for inspiration or if you want to meet interesting people and discover latest design trends, just come to Łódź between the 18th and 28th of October 2012.
This year’s festival will be held under the motto AWARENESS to emphasise how important awareness is in design and how many connotations and meanings it has in relation to design. Awareness in design obliges us to ask what the role of design and the designer is. What design can do? In a sense, design speaks less about things, and more and more about the whole processes whose creation involves entire teams, consisting not only of designers, but also experts from the fields of humanities, science and others. Awareness tells us to look back and move forward, and above all to understand that design never exists out of context – human, historical, geographical, social. And nor does it ever exist in isolation. Furthermore, it belongs more and more rarely to only one category – one time it is a science, the next an art.

This year’s main programme for AWARENESS includes three exhibitions: The Future is Stupid, prepared by Sven Ehmann; Ways of Seeing/Sitting by Maria Jeglińska; and Who Are You? by Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka and Klara Czerniewska.

In the description of his project, Sven Ehmann, the author and editor of the Gestalten publishing house, writes: ‘’The Future is Stupid’ is a design exhibition. But it is NOT an exhibition about products, objects, brands, pop star designers, limited editions and status symbols… It is all about design as a tool, as a mindset, an attitude, a process, an approach‘ Those who come to the exhibition in search of beautiful items will be amazed, because Ehmann’s exhibition is a collection of inventions and strange ideas – at least on the face of it. In its essence, however, they are things which change the quality of life, the world, and sometimes even the course of history… This exhibition proves that design is not a goal in itself but a means to achieve the goal, which takes imagination and courage.

The young designer Maria Jeglińska, a graduate of the famous Swiss ECAL, has already worked with such greats as Konstantin Grcic and Alexander Taylor; in her search for awareness, she has adopted a completely different perspective. Through her objects, she shows how the social changes which we witness and participate in influence the design. The mirror to each of these transformations is the chair, the archetypal object-icon for every designer. It is also a significant subject in discussions about design, because we often repeat that ‘design is not about the beauty of another chair.’ For Jeglińska, each chair goes hand in hand with another object. Together, in opposition to each other, they illustrate the problems or contrasts of socio-economic phenomena. Global versus local; digital technology versus analogue technology. The curator’s intention is not to build up a category or make a final summary of the phenomena, but to awaken curiosity in the observer, who asks himself questions and will look for the answers.

At first glance, the exhibition Who Are You may seem to be a nationalist provocation. It gathers the work of designers for whom the answer to this question is ambiguous. They are Polish emigrants, the children of emigrants, and people who never took the decision to leave, but who live and work outside Polish borders. They have had success there, and here they are unknown. They speak Polish, or they do not. They belong to different generations. If we tried to force them to answer the question ‘Who are you?’ literally, they would be in real trouble. But the curators Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka and Klara Czerniewska are not asking the exhibitors about their national identity, but about their design identity, about the sum of their experiences, which – among many – include being Polish. The implication is that the correct answer to this question is ‘I am a designer.’ What kind of designer and where they come from has no meaning today, because this does not provide any information about how someone designs.

The festival programme will feature all regular accompanying events that proved very popular and successful in the previous editions such as the make me! contest, a portfolio review, movie shows and discussions as well as events that have not been on the festival programme for long but have already won over a number of faithful fans: the Remade Market and the must have plebiscite.

What is new in this festival’s edition?

The extraordinary space arrangement by the architectural practice Centrala. The intent of the architects was to ‘weave this year’s exhibition’ by introducing colour, energy and an element of surprise into the rooms of an old spinning and weaving mill of the Naum Eitingon i Ska textile factory at 35 Targowa Street. A multi-coloured openwork structure, polychromatic layers and bunches of tight ribbons will entwine the building at all levels. The arrangement should create associations with the modern art of urban knitting, with a folk festival, but above all, with the history of Łódź and of Stara Tkalnia (the ‘Old Weaving Mill’).

Forum: Design & Architecture, or a new approach to lecturing. Our intention is to create even more space for the audience to have the opportunity not only to listen to design professionals such as designers, producers and curators, many of whom enjoy international recognition and the number is growing each year, but also to hear the answers to the pervading questions, to have discussions with the experts and to exchange experiences. Over five days, we will focus on the current topics related to the changes the world is undergoing as well as new working methods used by designers. We will talk about User Experience, design thinking, the condition of Polish design and about architecture. We will try to find the answers to a number of questions such as: Will experience design prove successful for Polish companies? How are decisions made today regarding architecture and space? Simultaneous interpretation for all speakers taking the floor during the Forum: Design & Architecture will be provided.

As we saw a growing interest from designers, we decided to announce a contest to award events and exhibitions in the Open Programme. Selected projects provide an additional context for the themes referred to in the Main Programme, but they take place in other venues across the entire city (in galleries, museums, clubs etc.), thus ensuring the presence of design everywhere in Łódź.

The range of activities undertaken last year under the motto Education. Children meet design. with the aim of bringing design closer to children will be enhanced to include new elements. Workshops, an educational playroom, an exhibition dedicated to children and their parents as well as exhibition tours with Ewa Solarz will be complemented by a calendar cut-out to inspire creative thinking and activity and to present information about the most significant designers in an understandable way. The activity will involve cutting out the images of items by top designers and freely organising them into clusters: by topic, size, function or the designers’ countries of origin. Every child visiting the Playroom is welcome to take the cut-out home with them!

Designer Zone
Over the main weekend of Łódź Design Festival 2012 (19th-21st October) we will create a special zone in the Festival Centre to present innovative tools and solutions that support designers and architects in their daily work. This will include both graphics software and new computer hardware.

MURATOR is the media partner of the Designer Zone.