- Social Design, an exhibition at the MKG in Hamburg
If you're taking advantage of an extended spring break to travel then be sure to head to Hamburg, Germany and visit this exhibition. Social Design at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) showcases a selection from the broad spectrum of activities that fall under the umbrella term of Social Design, helping us to understand how design – a term that crops up everywhere these days and that does not have a clear definition – can serve a number of different purposes. Since the design of urban spaces, buildings and communication networks, as well as products and processes, always reflects political and social conditions, designers play a decisive role in our world.
Social Design is based on transparent design processes involving a multitude of players and fosters exchange on an equal footing together with the joint development of ideas and strategies to come up with an appropriate solution. So, often it comes down to co-creation, a participatory process where designers are seen as partners who put their know-how to work on the project and open it up to other participants, at the same time keeping a close eye on the project's creative quality and sustainability.
More user-friendly cities are the outcome of this process, with places and situations that make a real difference in their surrounds: metropolises as much as rural areas. The exhibition called Social Design is broken down into different categories: urban space and landscape, housing/education/work, production, migration, networks, and the environment. These range in size and geographical position and there is an emphasis on the part played by responsible design in creating new possibilities for the territory and users concerned. The international examples include Solar Kiosk by Berlin-based firm Graft and Andreas Spiess, where the kiosk delivering charging services for electronic devices turns into an extremely important infrastructure in a world where more than 1 billion people still do not have access to the power grid. Social design also means making proposals for a sustainable approach to the environment that enables people to live in dignity and respects the social and cultural contexts for which we find initiatives linked to agriculture based on respect for biodiversity as promoted by the Slow Food foundation, but also the beautiful Lycée Schorge school building by Francis Kéré in Burkina Faso, just to name a few of the works on display.
Something new as part of this exhibition is the fact that MKG, a museum and cultural institution – whose underlying premise is design – is for the first time stepping into the fore as a civil player that actively promotes change. For this reason, the museum has started the temporary neighbourhood project called ARGE unmittelbare Nachbarschaft (close-knit neighbourhood), whose results are gradually shared in the exhibition. Another exhibition module is an online map of Hamburg showing some selected social design initiatives in the city: visitors can add to this map any other projects that they know of, in addition to the ones already shown.
Social Design is an exhibition organised for the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich by its curator Angeli Sachs. The exhibition in Hamburg is supported by the Ernst August Bester Foundation, the Hans Brökel Foundation for Science and Culture and the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. The show was adapted in collaboration with the Studio Experimentelles Design of the Hochschule für bildende Kunst Hamburg and will run until 27
Exhibition - Social Design
29 March to 27 October 2019
curated by Angeli Sachs
Museum für Kunst und Gestaltung, Hamburg
Find out more: https://www.mkg-hamburg.de
Images: see captions
Exhibition View 1, photo: Michaela Hille
Architectural office Graft, Solarkiosk, since 2009, Graft / Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Thomas Willemeit with Andreas Spiess, © Andreas Spiess, SOLARKIOSK AG
Kéré Architecture, Lycée Schorge Secondary School, 2014–2016, Photo: © Iwan Baan
Exhibition View, photo: Michaela Hille
ARGE Unmittelbare Nachbarschaft, Front yard of the Drob Inn, view from MKG, photo: Michaela Hille
Exhibition View, photo: Michaela Hille
More Than Shelters, DOMO / Schnackenburgallee, Hamburg, photo: © More Than Shelters/ Malte Metag