What Design Can Do

Design and Society
Last Thursday and Friday the Municipal Theatre of Amsterdam was all about design. No actors on stage but architects, graphic designers, fashion designers, all disciplines were represented. During the conference ‘What design can do’ they talked about their thoughts, inspiration and work. The speakers came from all over the world: India, China, Brazil, America and Europe. The diversity in speakers highlighted the differences in approach to design. There was also space for a critical note in relation to the dominant Western modernism. The initiative for the conference came from different designers, with Richard van der Laken as the front man. He felt the need for an event where different disciplines come together. What can we learn from each other? It seems like a good incentive in a time when working together is the new way of thinking. Together you can achieve more. On Friday, Lidewij Edelkoort ended her presentation with the phrase, ‘the sky is the limit’. Anything is possible, the best ideas come from small mistakes, combining disciplines sometimes leads to surprises, that nobody could have imagined. Design is establishing itself as a force in society. With this in mind, as well as the deafening applause at the end of the day, it’s inevitable that this successful experiment will become an annual tradition.


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