It’s a lovely line, isn’t it? It was uttered towards the end of the first day of What Design Can Do at Amsterdam’s Stadsschouwburg by Cameron Sinclair, a co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, a charitable organisation that provides on-the-ground architectural solutions for communities in the wake of crisis situations. As we recently wrote in reaction to the Silent World photography series, a building is only a building inasmuch as the stuff that happens inside and outside of the structure.
This Is Research at Honey and Bunny Productions (Photo: Adam Nowek)
A couple of visionary types preached to the yearning masses (well, the design masses, at least) about the places where life happens. Joumana al-Jabri and Reem Charif from the design group Febrik recalled their experiences in using the playful insights of children to enhance public space for Palestinian refugees, while Ina Jurga and WASH United are trying to raise awareness of the importance of sanitation in communities with limited access to clean water and adequate toilets. And forget about growing food in urban spaces: Suzanne Lee wants to grow microbial-cellulose clothing.
Hella Jongerius’s New Designs for the United Nations (Photo: Adam Nowek)
Considering the globe’s ongoing economic recovery, it’s high-time for the design community to remind itself that design doesn’t exist in a vacuum completely separate from the world. Rather, designers need to react to their surroundings in-time. It’s encouraging that the audience and presenters at What Design Can Do were so enthusiastic about such a move.