D.A.R.E. #2: The Politics of Design

7 September 2007, 10:00-18:00 / Utrecht
Location: Centraal Museum, Nicolaaskerkhof 10, Utrecht
Tickets: €10

What is the role of design/designers in relation to the problems and issues that we face in the world today? D.A.R.E. #2 looks at how designers are engaging with contemporary issues. In the context of current changes in ecology, globalization, consumerism, the gap between the Western world and the developing world, the speakers talk about how they see their roles as designers or theorists in relation to these kinds of concerns, and their thoughts on the social responsibility of the designer. 


10:15 Introductions: Henk Slager, Emily Pethick
10:30–11:15 Petra Blaisse 
11:15–12:00 Hella Jongerius 
12:00–12:45 Roemer van Toorn 
Morning session moderated by Annette W. Balkema 

12:45–13:30 Lunchtime 

13:30–14:15 Guus Beumer 
14:15–15:00 Hein Eberson 
15:00–15:45 Fiona Raby 
16:00–17:30 Panel Discussion moderated by Henk Oosterling

17:30 Drinks

D.A.R.E. Speaker Biographies

Hella Jongerius (1963), product designer, graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 1993 and early in her career was one of the first generation designers to be featured in the Droog Design collection – a platform for conceptual design. Nowadays she works under the label of her own studio, Jongeriuslab, and as the art director/color specialist for Vitra, the Swiss furniture company. Jongerius gained fame with products in which she has combined traditional and contemporary techniques and iconography, craft and industry, one-offs and serial products, which have led to products such as the B-service, Repeat, plates for the age-old German ceramic factory Nymphenburg and furniture for Vitra. Some of the most recent works (Office Pets) challenge the borderline between art and design, and exaggerating a phenomenon in design: contemporary design is not about functionality but more and more about added cultural values.

Petra Blaisse (1955), interdisciplinary designer, studied both in Groningen and in London and currently mainly works on large commissions under the label of her company Inside Out. Blaisse’s projects range from textiles to landscape and exhibition design. Commissions have ranged from textiles for the Dutch dance theater in the Hague, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam and the Rotterdam Museumpark to the acoustic curtains of the Congress Expo in Lille and the Mick Jagger Center in Dartford. Many commissions have been accomplished in cooperation with OMA, the architecture studio of Rem Koolhaas. Inside Outside is specialized in the rare combination of interior and exterior design, in the weaving of architecture and landscape. The studio has gained fame through its monumental textiles which are technically very complex.

Guus Beumer (1955), studied social sciences, has worked as the art-director of Orson + Bodil and SO (in cooperation with fashion designer Alexander van Slobbe), the director of the Rotterdam Designprijs, and on many advisory boards in the Netherlands (Co-Lab, Fonds BKVB, Raad voor de Cultuur), as well as a publisher in the field of design (for Metropolis M, Morf). He currently works as the director of Nai Maastricht and director of Marres, Centre of contemporary Culture in Maastricht. In cooperation with Frame Magazine (international interior design magazine) he has initiated the Great Indoors Award – a new, biennial, international interior design award, to be awarded for the first time in 2007.

Roemer van Toorn (1954), architect, critic, photographer, and curator. After graduating from the University of Technology Delft, Van Toorn published The Invisible in Architecture (1994) in collaboration with Ole Bouman, an encyclopedic manifest outlining the different positions and issues of today’s architecture. As a professor he runs and coordinates the Projective Theory program at the Berlage Institute and is a researcher at Delft School of Design at TU Delft. He has been the editor of several issues of the annual publication Architecture in the Netherlands, as well as an advisor for magazines Archis and Domus. He is currently working on a publication as part of his Ph.D research (Berlage Chair) at the TU Delft, titled From Fresh Conservatism to Radical Democracy. Aesthetics as Form of Politics. Fiona Raby, interaction designer, lives and works in London. Raby studied architecture at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London, worked some time for Kei’chi Irie Architects, Tokyo, and with Pierre d’Avoine Architects in London. Currently she works in cooperation with Antony Dunne on experimental and hypothetical works that can be viewed as critical comments on contemporary global technological developments. Antony Dunne is the head of the Design Interactions Department of the RCA, Raby is a teacher in the same department. Dunne & Raby use design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies. They have worked with some telecommunication companies and their projects have been exhibited in museums such as MoMA and Victoria & Albert Museum and published internationally. They have written several books including Design Noir (Princeton Architectural Press) and Hertzian Tales (The MIT Press). 

Hein Eberson (1962), concept and project developer in new media, publisher. Eberson studied photography and graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and continued his studies at Dasarts, postgraduate school for theater and dance. Eberson has predominantly worked as a freelancer for cultural and public organizations, as well for Mediamatic between 2002-2004. He teaches ‘digital concepts’ at the Editorial Design Department of the HKU Utrecht and is head of Netles, which organizes courses in web design and writing for the web.

7 September 2007

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