VIENNA. The 11th edition of Vienna Design Week – Austria’s largest design festival, takes place between 29 September and 8 October 2017 with more than 100 events all over the city. The Festival is structured around two key features that change each year: the focus district with the headquarters, and the guest country. Taking the spotlight this year: the 15. Viennese urban district – Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, and Romania. „So there will be quite a few surprises!”, announced viennadesignweek.at.
Vienna Design Week will present national and international projects, positions, formation and production processes, also experimental approaches in architecture, graphics, and design in all fields: product, furniture, and social design. Most contributions are being produced on commission of the festival especially for Vienna Design Week .
The Festival is noted for its curated contents and innovative character, also for its endeavors to link up the various disciplines – a special focus is placed on the connection of design and industry. Thus the festival has established itself as a constantly growing network of creative people and business enterprises from home and abroad, which moreover is supported and used by leading players from culture, the economy and the media.
„We have achieved a great deal in the first ten years! We are motivated by the outstanding public response and the international recognition. The study commissioned last year also provides evidence of the effects of the festival in various industrial and economic sectors. Nevertheless, we still have quite a bit of work to do and know very well where we want to go, what we want to achieve. A nation of innovation like Austria needs an entrepreneurial landscape that recognises and exploits the value of creative achievements. And creative people will always need an internationally active platform.”, says Lilli Hollein, Festival Director, Vienna Design Week.
Romanian design will be shown this autumn across the board of the programme. Vienna Design Week has taken on the task with the annually changing guest country to open up an in-depth and multifaceted view of design in other European countries. The Romanian Cultural Institute has already contributed excellent work in previous years during the festival; this year the country now takes the spotlight.
„Vienna Design Week has always seen its task as well in presenting scenes and countries to the public that sometimes have not availed of an outstanding profile or image within the international design context. The focus on Eastern Europe and such a diverse landscape as that of Romania - whether topography or design – is always rewarding, ranging from handicrafts in the Danube Delta to the design scenes and designers in towns and cities like Bucharest, Cluj, Timisoara and Sibiu.”, adds Lilli Hollein.
Every year Vienna Design Week chooses a district within Vienna that takes on a special role during the festival. In 2017 the focus is on Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, the 15. Viennese urban district. The special features of the 15. district are infused into the festival – Vienna Design Week opens up new spaces, supports local traditional businesses and brings a whole array of events to Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus. The local visitors thus discover their own city from a new perspective; the international public sees another face of Vienna, off the beaten track of the tourist- teeming centers.
As usual the festival headquarters is located in focus district. This year Vienna Design Week uses two locations in Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus as its headquarters – a north and a south location. Festival headquarters north at Europaplatz 1 is centrally located at Wiener Westbahnhof and is the first contact point for visitors of Vienna Design Week. It will be showing a wide selection of festival contributions as well as housing other facilities and features for ten days, including the info point and a pop-up café. Festival headquarters south at Sparkassaplatz 4 is housed in a beautiful former bank designed by Johann Georg Gsteu – a true architectural jewel. Highlights like all of this year’s talks are going to be held there.
Within this curated format, Vienna Design Week commissions international and Austrian designers to collaborate with Viennese manufacturers to develop projects based on intensive knowledge-sharing. Collectively, and free from the constraints and procedures of commercial working relationships, the projects are realized under the curatorial direction of Vienna Design Week. Fee and travel expenses are paid by the festival. With their open, moderated processes of mutual approach between business and designer the Passionswege are a very important and highly prestigious part of the Festival. This year a number of businesses from the first district and from the focus district, Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, will take part in the Passionswege. Furthermore, there will be one partner in the sixth district – Mariahilf.
„The Passionswege, can be seen to a certain degree, as the beginning of Vienna Design Week. In the last eleven years, many interesting projects were realised between designers and Viennese manufacturers. The brilliant thing about this is that there are still so many fascinating craft businesses to be discovered. We want to make this diversity accessible to visitors and thus strengthen the awareness of production processes, both from the perspective of design as well as of the manufacturers in the city.”, says Julia Hürner, Co-Curator & Project Manager, Passionswege.
Jólan van der Wiel (NL) with J. & L. Lobmeyr
For more than 200 years the traditional Viennese company J. & L. Lobmeyr has been focusing on creating products out of glass and crystal. Through six generations, the properties of the materials have been tested and their characteristics have been explored. The extensive company archive serves as a source of inspiration and the steady dialogue between craftsmen, designers and clients, leads to unique products and innovation. This year the curators teamed up J. & L. Lobmeyr with Dutch designer Jólan van der Wiel, who also focuses on the characteristics of materials as well as on natural phenomena. This results in unique design experiments.
zerunianandweisz (AT) with Wiener Silber Manufactur
A passion for silver – this is the philosophy of Wiener Silber Manufactur. Its product repertoire is inspired by traditional handicraft and covers styles from nearly 100 years of design. Past co-operations with national and international designers – also within the format Passionswege – have resulted in outstanding design collections. The designers Nadja Zerunian and Peter Weisz are also specialized in traditional craftsmanship. Since 2014 the design duo has been active for the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership, in collaboration with Roma families from Transylvania. At last year’s Vienna Design Week, their narrative assemblages thrilled the festival audience.
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