Dezeen Day

Designing for the future.

Some 450 design professionals (including AP's Director of Practice Jacques) gathered in London on the occasion of the first Dezeen Day to discuss an agenda for architecture covering five main topics: Design for the Circular Economy, Post-plastic Materials, Future Cities, Fixing Education, and Entrepreneurialism. The role of design and architecture in finding ways to pursue a more sustainable and more equitable future was the central theme of the event.

Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at MoMA, set the tone for the day when she invited the audience to consider the inevitability of human extinction and the legacy we will leave to future inhabitants of the Planet. Drawing on the main themes explored at the XXII Milan Triennale exhibition ‘Broken Nature – design take on human survival’, she noted that “We may as well accept that fact and design an elegant extinction so that the next species won’t think we are morons”. She emphasised the importance of considering humanity as a community, where all are important and where leaps of imagination in the way that we perceive the world are needed, and noted that “the only way to live well is to be for others”.

A number of young and seasoned professionals who are pushing the boundaries of design education and practice went on to present over the course of the day, with discussion focusing, amongst other themes on the future of materials, transport, the challenges of the circular economy, education and practice. Amongst these, Dutch architect Richard Hutten, emphasised the urgent need to shift to post-plastic thinking and the importance of good design to counter a culture of disposable items – he noted that the most sustainable aspect of design is to design objects that people want to keep.

Artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg gave the final keynote, inviting the audience to critically consider the use of the word ‘better’ and to consider that better is not necessarily good and may fit any agenda. She ended the day on a hopeful note, pointing out that as humans ‘fundamentally we are hopeful animals’.

The debate about the role of design strikes at the heart of lifestyle and societal questions and about the role of design and design thinking in considering a more sustainable world.