What Design Can Do to tackle the problems of the city
Good design can make the city safer, put unoccupied buildings to good use, and ensure fewer tourists lose their way.
The second edition of What Design Can Do — a two-day international conference — focuses on the best of social design from around the world. All sorts of issues — from solving problems with faeces in Africa to harnessing the potential of architecture in the slums of Brazil — will be spotlighted on 10 and 11 May at the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam.
What Design Can Do seeks to deploy the power and appeal of design in tackling social problems. Creative director Richard van der Laken: ‘Designers think of solutions. Why limit their intelligence to the design of pretty lamps? We want to mobilise designers to deal with social issues.’
What Design Can Do was held successfully for the first time in 2011, when a choice line-up of top international designers and design thinkers convened in Amsterdam for two days. The second event will once again be active in character. Genuine design solutions will be worked out in so-called break-out sessions. The results of all that thinking will be gathered into a Big Book of Ideas by the end of the conference.
One of this year’s key guests is interior designer Marcelo Rosenbaum, a hero in his own country of Brazil, where he makes use of the ‘aesthetics’ of the slums to strengthen Brazilian identity. The British fashion designer Suzanne Lee will show her BioCouture. Fashion made out of cultivated organic material.
Professor Kees Dorst from the Netherlands will explain his project Designing out Crime (DOC), an approach that has already resulted in a reduction in crime in many places thanks to good design. Other conference speakers from the Netherlands include designer Hella Jongerius, landscape architect Piet Oudolf and graphic designer Harmen Liemburg.
What Design Can Do is supported by DutchDFA, SNS Reaalfonds, Mondriaan Fund, Premsela Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, CapitalD Design Cooperation Brainport, the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB), Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi), Het Parool newspaper, Design Indaba, Items magazine, Lenoir Schuring, Association of Dutch Designers (BNO), Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, Lloyd Hotel, Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA), the Dutch Association of Interior Architects (BNI) and the Modint trade association.
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