ECO Solidarity Unites 8 Designers + 8 Institutions to Address Climate Change Through Sustainable Design

Earth Day last week reminded us that there are few issues that are as urgent and need our attention as those related to climate change. We’re excited to announce that sustainable design is tackling these issues head on with the return of ECO Solidarity, a groundbreaking international initiative that brings together eight institutions and eight designers to address our worst humanitarian and health crises through human-centered design. The project will start at CLOSEUP, ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan’s joint specialist event from May 17th to 18th, 2021. ECO Solidarity will be presented on May 18th in two 45-minute sessions in which the designers present their work and then hold panel discussions. The first session is entitled Design with Empathy: Public Spaces and Social Impacts (10.15 a.m. to 10.55 a.m.) and includes AHA Objects, Atelier Ad Hoc, EOOS NEXT and Herrmann & Coufal. The second session is titled Sustainable Material and Process: Research and Innovation (11:00 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.) and includes Algae, Livable, NAS-DRA-Aware Design and Studio Plastique. ECO Solidarity will also be featured at WantedDesign NYC’s expanded online exhibition from June 15 to August 15, 2021. It is no exaggeration to say that the world runs on borrowed time and we need to make significant changes to keep a planet worth living in for future generations.

Project designer: Eduard Herrmann from Herrmann & Coufal

Project designer: Lotte Kristoferitsch from EOOS NEXT

ECO Solidarity was launched in 2020 by the Polish cultural institute New York and Studio Rygalik in collaboration with WantedDesign. In this year’s second edition, eight future-oriented designers brought together a global institution from their respective countries to develop sustainable design solutions with an emphasis on ecology. Climate change, public health and well-being, and the socio-economic impact on these changes.

The designers presented are: Lotte Kristoferitsch from EOOS NEXT, selected by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in cooperation with the Austrian Chamber of Commerce / Creative Industries and the Vienna Business Agency; Sep Verboom of Livable, chosen by the Delegation of Flanders to the USA; Theresa Bastek and Archibald Godts from Studio Plastique selected by Wallonie-Bruxelles International New York; Eduard Herrmann and Matěj Coufal from Herrmann & Coufal, selected by the Czech Center; Renana Krebs and Gal Abelson from Algaeing, selected by the Goethe-Institut New York; Anna Horvath of AHA Objects, selected by Arts Council Malta in New York; Paulina Grabowska from NAS-DRA Conscious Design, selected by the Polish Cultural Institute New York; and George Marinescu and Maria Daria Oancea from Atelier Ad Hoc, selected by the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York.

Project designer: Theresa Bastek and Archibald Godts from Studio Plastique

Project designers: Renana Krebs and Gal Abelson from Algaeing

Studio NAS-DRA Conscious Design examines and designs circular economy programs, climate protection processes, bioelectronics and urban farms. Using a holistic approach in each of their projects, they look for connections and dependencies between ecology, health, industry, companies, phenomena and art.

Open Design Mold from EOOS Next enables local craftsmen to produce a urine-separating squat toilet. The separation of urine reduces the nitrogen content in aquatic systems and prevents eutrophication. It improves sanitary conditions and prevents the outbreak of pathogens, thus contributing to environmental protection and public health.

Herrmann & Coufal’s project highlights the benefits of the DIY phenomenon for individuals and society, and brings a human element into the process, creating a shared experience. Manufacturing becomes an integral part of the end product, revealing hidden ideas to users and promoting their appreciation.

Studio Plastique combines imaginative scenarios and critical considerations with in-depth studies of complex material supply chains and technological infrastructures. The studio builds networks of collaboration on issues important to today’s society and strategically positions the role of the designer in an evolving landscape of industry, culture and human experience.

There are also eight field experts nominated by each participating institution to form the show’s advisory committee, including: Martina Fineder (Austria); Axel Clissen (Belgium / Flanders); Giovanna Massoni (Belgium / Wallonia-Brussels); Danica Kovářová (Czech Republic); Dunja Karabaic (Germany); Dr. Jevon Vella (Malta); Ewa Bińczyk (Poland); and Adriana Blidaru (Romania); together with the special advisor Tomek Rygalik.

Project designer: Anna Horvath from AHA Objects

Project designers: George Marinescu and Maria Daria Oancea from Atelier Ad Hoc

The name ECO Solidarity is inspired by Solidarity, a social and political movement that unites displaced communities and different disciplines in a common cause. It led to the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union and put the nations on a course towards democracy. Last year it was the 40th anniversary of the solidarity formation (Solidarność in Polish).

The clash of these different countries, designers and institutions is enormous, as we have already seen last year what the world can do when it puts its differences aside, prioritizes its most pressing problems and unites behind a single goal. The start of ECO Solidarity at CLOSEUP is an example of how committed WantedDesign is to promoting active change in questions of sustainability and the circular economy. The founders of WantedDesign, Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, share:

The ECO Solidarity project emphasizes the common thread between sustainability and people. A priority for WantedDesign is to continue the conversation about why we should all care and how design is one of the answers to the current problems people are facing in order to reconcile with a more sustainable, conscious and harmonious way of life. We are happy to have the opportunity to bring together eight European countries and regions for the ECO Solidarity project at CLOSEUP in May and the WantedDesign online exhibition in June.

Project designer: Sep Verboom of Livable

To learn more about ECO Solidarity and to attend one or both of the sessions, visit CLOSEUP or register here.

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