Design Does the Future | Barcelona Design Museum and ELISAVA
A designer is a creator: everything around us was first an idea, a concept that somebody gave form. A designer materializes dreams, needs and wishes, but with bringing thoughts to life comes a lot of responsibility. In the words of Javier Peña, the director of ELISAVA, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering, ”being a designer is understanding the present in order to be prepared for the future.”
But what is design exactly: is it a method, a form of art or maybe a tool? That is indeed the question, one that will happily never have a defined answer. Debates and many questions are always on the table when we try to discuss the matter.”Design Does” is the new inspiring exhibition of the always edgy Barcelona Design Museum and ELISAVA, where those questions are on the spotlight.
The exposition doesn’t try to define what design is itself, it gives the opportunity to the visitor of exploring design as a tool to give form and answer to the challenges of our society. It empowers the spectator to the point that the exhibition itself is a work in progress, never completed till the last visitor leaves. The projects chosen for the exposition are the ones that represent a direct impact in our life, from books to weapons and even virtual reality that involves performance, these projects are ideas or prototypes that are shaping what we will be and do in the future.
We are now in times of changes, where the old fashion model of design doesn’t really work for the new market, one based on the on-demand and personalized commerce. New materials made by men are now a reality, opening a new window of possibilities for the designers. The market is now totally different from the one of ten years ago, and society is just one click away from changing.
Which is why the idea of making an exposition of pieces where the visitor needs to follow the lead of a curator and walk inside in a pre-establish order, seems far away from the actual reality. All the inputs in our everyday life force us to choose which ideas to follow and which ones to ignore. This is one of the factors that make this exhibition so unique, as it´s made not only considering the ideas of the visitor but also the freedom of the spectator on deciding in which projects he wants to spend his time in.
If you attend this dynamic and fun exhibition, a card with a sensor and an identification number will be given to you, as you walk inside you must identify yourself in terms of zip code, sex and age range. You will enter in a black room with no strict order to follow, just you and your card looking at different booths composed by see-thru purple organza curtains. Inside of the curtains, you will find that each design project is carefully explained with videos, graphics and documents.
The exhibition is constructed as a dialogue, it´s based on the fact that communication is not only one-sided, so every project showed has a question that the visitor will answer having only two possible choices. Each one of the answers of the visitors is collected into a database, one that the spectator can see at the final booth, a 360º room completely made of a screen that shows in percentage and on real-time the answers and ideas of the exhibition. One final question to answer before you leave the room: what does a designer do?
After visiting the exposition you can´t help but wonder: are the designers being respectful with the environment, are they changing our ethical beliefs? The answers will help to build a Manifesto made by ELISAVA and Deans of 25 international Schools of Design from all over the world that will find in Barcelona the perfect location to construct the new ideas, boundaries and purposes of design. “Design Does” is a critic conversation between the museum, the piece and the visitor about what really design is doing for our society, and how it impacts the way politics, science and ethics are being built for the future.