The digital programming around the 2020 edition of the Swiss Design Awards was structured around the question: “Failure is Not an Option?”. The program aims to question the idea of failure as a malfunction, embraces the reassessment that the absence of normality permits, and entertains the idea that failure might be a better option. In this context, I was happy to moderate three conversations with design luminaries Aric Chen, Catherine Ince, and Matylda Krzykowski, where we sought to frame the present moment and its challenges.
The first conversation, with Aric Chen, curatorial director of Design Miami, reflected on the digital turn, the progressive focus on local and regional realities, and a plural, decentered future for the design discipline. With Catherine Ince, chief curator of the V&A East in London, we talked about the role of museums after the pandemic, the importance of creating conversations, and how institutions can become revolutionary spaces of care. And with Matylda Krzykowski, curator and designer, we discussed different forms of isolation from the desert to the city, the need to embrace new categories for design and its practitioners, and how young designers can claim their space. Thank you to the Federal Office of Culture and the team lead by Anna Niederhäuser for the invitation!
Below an excerpt of one of the essays, which can be read (alongside other excellent pieces) over at the Swiss Design Awards blog.
The 2019 Swiss Design Awards (SDA) display a snapshot of contemporary design concerns and directions, both within Swiss territory and undertaken by Swiss practitioners at a global scale. This year the SDA analyses and disseminates the work of the nominees by focusing on the broader themes that they bring into play, and placing the discussion around their work in a wider context. Various authors will contribute to this platform, analyzing the themes at play in the nominees’ work, while each individual project is presented by answering five practical questions: who, what, where, when and why? These inquiries will continue as well in the SDA exhibition and the public program associated with it.
Together, the work of this year’s SDA nominees showcase a wide variety of paths for contemporary design, away from silos and predetermined boundaries. The many facets of their work help push the boundaries of design, towards a discipline that becomes more inclusive, more conscious, and more self-determined. We look forward to showcasing their projects and visions their propose, as well as sharing the nominees’ stories in this platform over the course of the next few months. Design is Dead. Long Live Design!
Participants of the One Woman Show talk at the Swiss Design Awards 2018.
I was honored to moderate the One Woman Show talk which took place at the Swiss Design Awards exhibition during Art Basel week. Organized by the Bundesamt für Kultur with the Zurich chapter of Ladies, Wine and Design, the event sought to explore how women work independently as designers and creative practitioners. Discussion topics circled around business and creative leadership, working independently, courage in creativity, work ethics and how to go from fear to freedom. We were lucky enough to be able to hear insights from multiple generations, with participants including Rosmarie Tissi, Cécile Feilchenfeldt, and several of the designers exhibiting as part of the Swiss Design Awards exhibition of this year. The conversation provided an interesting space for the sharing of many different stories, and it was fascinating to see how many of the challenges faced by previous generations are the same – albeit in different scales – as those of the practitioners of today. I am thankful for this opportunity, which was an incredible learning experience.
An impression of the atelier of Cécile Feilchenfeldt in Paris. Photo Marc Asekhame.
In May we presented the results of the latest volume developed for the Swiss Grand Award for Design series. The 2018 laureates of this award, given annually by the Swiss Confederation and the Federal Office of Culture, are Cécile Feilchenfeldt, Rosmarie Tissi and Felco. Once more I had the pleasure to interview all these wonderful practitioners and help make the book that celebrates their professional achievements. This year, the photos were by Marc Asekhame, and the graphic design by Krispin Hée.
Spreads from the Swiss Grand Award for Design 2016 publication.
I was delighted to edit the publication celebrating the 2016 edition of the Swiss Grand Award for Design, a career prize bestowed upon distinguished Swiss designers of all fields. This was the tenth year of the award, which is given by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, and the winners were Claudia Caviezel, Hans Eichenberger, and Ralph Schraivogel. I had the pleasure to interview them and get to know better their work and practice, and it was also fantastic to work with the Federal Office of Culture, in the person of Patrizia Crivelli, and designer Jonathan Hares.