Designing the Social is an exhibition exploring 100 years of socially driven, idiosyncratic ideas about living together. Sometimes out of idealism, often out of pure necessity, alternative design strategies were developed in the pursuit of an equal society. Designers, researchers and curators select and (re)interpret pieces from heritage collections and archives in order to tell an assortment of stories about a century of social design.
Design and society
The semi-permanent exhibition Designing the Social shows how versatile and sometimes radical the interaction between design and society has been over the past 100 years. Long before the concept of “social design” became prominent, it was professionals and, remarkably often, committed citizens and activists, who devised design strategies to bring about social change. Based on research and interpretation by a series of different researchers, curators and designers, the installation takes the visitor through a sequence of striking scenes from social history.
The question is always the same: how has design contributed to new worldviews, new forms of living, working and communication, and to a society in which we all have the means to shape our own ideas about the social?
The exhibition presents, among other things, the 'minimum dwelling', the socio-economic experiment around weaving mill De Ploeg, design strategies from the second feminist wave, the squatters' movement and the digital public domain introduced by De Digitale Stad. New themes will be added to the installation along the way. The Design of the Social will have a hybrid existence: as a physical installation in Gallery 1, on the ground floor of Het Nieuwe Instituut, and on the institute’s digital channels.
Institutional and informal archives
Case studies draw on the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning. Material also comes from both institutional and informal archives from other collections for design and digital culture. Archives are always a source for questioning and reconsideration: who collected these materials, and why? They show that history is always written from a dominant perspective. The Design of the Social connects both established and informal collections and archives, so exploring new, alternative perspectives on the past, present and future of the design disciplines.
The first phase of the project features interpretations by Uta Eisenreich & Johanna Himmelsbach, Rudy Guedj, Simone C. Niquille, Tabea Nixdorff, Arvand Pourabbasi & Golnar Abbasi (WORKNOT!), and Farida Sedoc.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam