November 26, 2010

National Design Triennial: Why Design Now?


About the Exhibition
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
2 East 91st Street, NY, NY.
On view through January 9, 2011.



The Cooper Hewitt in NYC is wrapping up the fourth in a series of design exhibitions which seeks and and presents the most innovative designs at the center of contemporary culture.  The projects on display in this Triennial program explore the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many disciplines;  from architecture and products, to fashion, graphics, new media and landscapes.

I have been following the work of some of these designers for some time. In the next few weeks, I will share with you some of their phenomenal projects in the images below. This is not only innovative thinking. These projects are impacting people just like you and I, all around the world.  A true testament to the power of design to change lives.

"Why design now? Designers around the world are answering this question by creating products, prototypes, buildings, landscapes, messages, and more that address social and environmental challenges. How can we power the world with clean energy? How can we move people and products safely and efficiently? How can we shelter communities in sustainable environments? How can we close the loop of materials extraction and disposal? How can we enable people around the globe to generate and share wealth? How can we improve the quality of life for all people through health-care innovations? How can we communicate ideas effectively and creatively? How can we discover beauty and wisdom in simple forms that use minimal resources? Collectively, designers are seeking to enhance human health, prosperity, and comfort while diminishing the conflicts between people and the global ecosystems we inhabit.
Why Design Now? is the fourth installation in the National Design Triennial exhibition series launched by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 2000. The Triennial provides a sample of contemporary innovation, looking at what progressive designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, and citizens are doing in diverse fields and at different scales around the world. Included are practical solutions already in use as well as experimental ideas designed to inspire further research. A few projects will provoke controversy, answering some questions while raising others. Each one—from a soil-powered table lamp to a post-petroleum urban utopia—celebrates the transformative power of design.
The exhibition itself is an exercise in environmentally responsible design. In collaboration with the exhibition designer, Tsang Seymour, the Museum has employed eco-safe materials, modular components, simple mounting techniques, and materials-reduction strategies wherever possible, and the exhibition design can be remade at traveling exhibition sites using local materials.
Exhibition furniture is made from Medite FR, a composite of 100% postindustrial recycled wood, finished with zero-VOC paint and varnish. Exhibition areas are delineated with recyclable FLOR Fedora carpet tiles manufactured from 80% postconsumer fibers. Large graphics and images are printed on UltraTex Organic U230 fabric, and labels are printed on 100% recyclable Ply-Corr cardboard made from 50% postconsumer waste. The catalogue, designed by Pentagram, is printed by Toppan using FSC-certified methods and materials, including Moorim papers and soy-based inks. Together, these steps make Why Design Now? the most sustainable exhibition in the Museum’s history. And we are only just getting started".  - excerpts courtesy of
Images courtesy of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

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