Tag Archives: society

London Design and Anti Design Festivals 2010…

LDF at V&A

Last Friday I had a chance to visit London Design Festival and after last year’s good timing and awesome events my expectations were rather high. And truthfully, this time was different: horrible weather, bad ankle resulting in limping, and not many great inspirational moments.

I don’t wish to go on about everything I saw, but to pick out some of the memorable bits (you can also check more photos on my Flickr page):

A dark room with cabinets displaying objects, all pure white. Next to the cabinets, stories related to the objects building a saga of a fictional mixed background family. (I Cling to Virtue at V&A)

Miniature design doll house, magical, it can hold your gaze for hours.

The printed guide had no maps! You can stuff pages with advertising but not bother with a map. Pffft.

Stumbling through a door way into Anti Design Festival headquarters, and managing to get a free ticket to the afternoon talk Renewal & Strategy to Destroy and Rebuild featuring designer celebrities and their pals and some interesting artists.

“There’s  no such thing as grown ups, we’re just winging it because we have to.”
– Gerald Laing

Adrian Shaugnessy getting excited about magical Wales and praising young designers’ will to do social design projects instead of clamoring to be the next Neville Brody…

Shaugnessy’s realistic insights – we all need to make a living but it’s not an excuse to do something different either.

Peter Kennard’s vivid reminders of the simple power of image. His Cafe of Equivalents is a truly inspiring project: it made people rethink the value of money and the value of their earnings, and provided a space for discussion. A project worth looking up.

“The middle is not a great place to be” – Stuart Semple on the danger of the homogeneous middle

Barnbrook’s shifty nature not being allowed to talk about his work – felt like he was talking to students – again.

Brody being ripped into with criticism about “all talk no action plan” by a gentleman, watching Brody slither around responses.

Anti Design Festival space showing work by maestros and students alike, side by side on the walls without captions – interesting.

Hel Yes! Design and food from Helsinki

Hel Yes! warehouse converted into a hangout/ café/ restaurant/ discussion space, Finnish brunch to warm my soul, free coffee, use of wood branches to create tables connecting us back into nature.

Ok Do! talk Borderlands highlighting increased collaboration with co-creators and resource providers. “Friendship as an important catalyst for collaboration” – still resonates strongly within me, like a warm fuzzy feeling that tells me there is truth in those words.

Spotting parallels and common themes that have been popping up in recent workshops and events I have attended:

  • the need to embrace and explore collaboration and co-creation
  • engaging with society and the citizens living in it – inclusive design
  • the title “designer” losing its gravity and significance: we fall under different roles more and more
  • embracing technology to create future possibilities for participation, freedom of speech, debate, co-creation and strengthening networks for knowledge sharing

That’s it folks, tried to keep this short and hopefully shared some interesting observations. Please do share comments and thoughts.

Myth vs. fact

The title of this blog post refers to posters I saw at the Harlow Town Show in September. They were displayed at the local NHS stand and grabbed my attention straight away.

I thought this was such a good example of simple messaging and design. It stops people in their tracks – we all have people with mental health problems in our circle of friends and acquaintances even if we are not aware of this.

I have a personal stance in talking openly about mental health problems after witnessing too many occasions when they have been brushed under the carpet or they have cause feelings of shame, despair or even guilt in people close to me. My stance is strong also because there is really hardly any honest publicity about raising awareness of these issues. In social situations, it’s not “appropriate” to admit to one’s weaknesses, especially if those feelings of weakness are in one’s head. Mention therapy or the thought of getting help, things get awkward.

So here it goes: I have been to therapy to see a counselor on a regular basis. No, I didn’t have a nervous breakdown nor did I have a scary sounding mental condition that would make me feel like I couldn’t cope. There are so many states of anxiety and depression that get a grip on people these days – and is it really a surprise? Having had a fairly open-minded attitude towards getting help for mental health concerns, even I found it hard to cross that threshold to contact someone to get help.

And you know, counseling is great. I think everyone should get some at times just to get a fresh look at where it’s at. It’s easy to loose sight of things in your life, whatever they may be. It’s defeatist to deny the need for an objective outside opinion, which you can’t always get from your family or friends.

Openness – it is the key to many things. I wish it could be embraced better in public – after all, we are not machines but human beings with imperfections and faults which make us all the bit better for it. Say yes to that.

On chaos and balance

I have always been enthralled by mythology; weaved stories of our world and anthropomorphic characters harnessed to portray beliefs and abstract concepts.



JOKER. The arch villain of the Caped Crusader, but also the archetype: the Trickster. Legends, folklore and religious texts depict a Trickster in one form or another: Loki, the Coyote, Puck, the Fox, the Serpent…

The trickster deity breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously (for example, Loki) but usually, albeit unintentionally, with ultimately positive effects.Wikipedia

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