Announcement WDE 2020

Dutch Design Week has revealed its altered plans for the 2020 edition. The festival will feature live and digital events. Also the World Design Embassies, part of DDW, are changing shape this year.

Type Topic
Date 14 September 2020
Announcement WDE 2020
The Growing Pavilion by Company New Heroes

DDW’s program will be spread over 30 locations in Eindhoven this year. Studio Strijp in the Klokgebouw is one of these spots. Here you will find the main exhibition of WDE, where a limited number of visitors can be received. Each Embassy will also present a physical or virtual presentation. WDE’s main exhibition will be curated by Atelier Rijksbouwmeester this year.

Focus main exhibition

The collaboration with Atelier Rijksbouwmeester originally focused on the theme Urban Transformations. But since the first talks on this subject at the end of last year, the world has changed considerably. Among other things, Covid-19 has led to spatial and social challenges, something in which architects and designers in particular can have an important voice. This voice will be heard in WDE’s program this year.

In the short term, we are faced with questions such as: how do we relate to each other in public space? How do you stimulate people to distance themselves from each other in a natural way? How can industries that have been significantly affected – hospitality, cinemas, theaters and festivals – return to a regular form and what role can designers and architects play in this? Numerous designers will be highlighting this theme during DDW, while the WDE program will be looking further into the future.

Government Architect Floris Alkemade indicates the challenges for the long term: “This period is much more than the temporary shutdown of society. We do not know whether the current situation is the temporary abnormal or the new normal. And even when this pandemic is over, uncertainties will remain. How do we deal with climate change, sustainable agriculture and housing, the energy transition, an ageing population and loneliness? These are far-reaching transitions, with an uncertain outcome. It is our task not to remain stuck in doom and gloom, but to make room for new dreams.”

Designers, scientists and artists are capable of doing this. Imagination has the ability to create cohesion and structure in chaotic circumstances. A well-designed image can evoke an irresistible desire for change. The government architect works from this conviction: the story shapes the world, not the other way around. Regardless of how much difficulty we are facing, we are not powerless. Thanks to our imagination, we always have a choice.

Translation to DDW

Medieval churches have often incorporated a labyrinth in the floor tiles. According to the world view at that time, desire was sung loose from reason and the world therefore takes the form of a moral maze. Something that was looked at without a melancholic gaze. It is a place where allowing feelings of doubt and constant changes of direction are perceived as a game.

These ideas are translated into an installation-like exhibition. A maze of perspex walls, reducing the one and a half meter distance to 3 mm, allow visitors to almost touch each other. A labyrinth inspired by the famous Versailles. All corridors have exhibition spaces that are escape rooms at the same time, when encountering a fellow visitor. These spaces will host physical and virtual programs of the different World Design Embassies.

Physical and virtual program

The main exhibition of WDE is open to a limited number of visitors spread over three time slots per day. In addition, each Embassy has a separate program. Visitors can wander around the virtual expo, immerse themselves in projects by world class designers, read background articles and participate in numerous online workshops, debates, talk shows and more.

The Embassies of Circular & Biobased Building, Food and Rethinking Plastic can be visited during DDW. The Embassies of Water, Mobility, Safety and Health have an online presentation on the platforms of WDE and DDW.

The exact programme of the Embassies will be announced in the coming weeks.

WDE Talks

Furthermore, WDE organizes a series of Embassy Talks featuring a different Embassy every week. The kick-off is during DDW. This series is a collaboration with Pakhuis de Zwijger and will be shared via a live stream on the platforms of WDE and Pakhuis de Zwijger.

WDE Talks will be broadcast every Thursday from 4 pm to 5 pm, starting November 1st.

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