THE GLOBAL SHIFT: WHO SHAPES THE FUTURE OF DESIGN

In April 2015, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion organized by the Vitra Museum at the Palazzo Clerici in Milan, Italy entitled “The Global Shift: Who Shapes the Future of Design.” As part of an effort to expand on their current exhibition “Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design,” the Vitra Design Museum suggests that African design and art can make a unique contribution to this discussion. To delve deeper into this subject matter, the Vitra Design Museum invited prominent thinkers and designers from the Global North and the Global South for a day of discussions and lectures. The speakers explored pertinent areas of contemporary design discourse such as the future of production, social design and the merger of analog and digital technologies. The question at hand: Can concepts that originate outside our traditional, Western-centric understanding of design offer an entirely new perspective and perhaps more relevant approaches to addressing today’s challenges? During the Salone del Mobile 2015, the historic Palazzo Clerici at Milan’s city center was the location point for intense activity, speculation, and discussion around future conditions of living. A diverse array of installations, micro-exhibitions, and events organized by some of Europe’s most renowned designers and institutions animated the Palazzo each day.