Temporary Exhibition
23.03.18 – 13.05.18

Free entry

Barcelona Design Museum
Pl. de les Glories, 37
08018 Barcelona

Below you will find the first selection of questions and projects exhibited at Design Does* at the Design Museum of Barcelona.

Design Does collectively explores how design tackles the challenges faced by society, at times offering improvements and, at others, doing just the opposite. Conceived to transcend the limits of space, time and conventional formats, this project explores the responsibility that lies with design and its impact on industry, people, social systems and cultural values. Design Does questions the designer’s role today and in the future as a provider of solutions, humanist, strategist and/or agent of change.

Can we live without plastic?

 

Plastic waste is not a necessary evil. Design has contributed to its negative impact and can also play a part in its eradication.

Plastic is one of the basic materials of our society: it has helped to produce affordable goods and democratize access to many products. However, the throw-away philosophy; a production model that designs, produces, packages and sells in different countries; or the use of non-renewable materials are some of the underlying reasons behind the environmental crisis we face today. A consequence of this is the so-called “Great Pacific garbage patch”, approximately 1,400,000m2 of plastic waste which has been gathered in one place by the currents of the Pacific Ocean.

Since product design has played a decisive role in creating this situation, it also has the capacity to find non-polluting alternatives to the packaging of the products we consume.

Ooho!

by Skipping Rocks Lab, 2017

 

Every year, a billion water bottles are thrown away throughout the world. Aimed at eliminating such wasteful packaging, this English sustainable design startup has developed a bubble that contains the drinking water within an edible membrane made from a natural seaweed extract. This flexible packaging biodegrades in 4-6 weeks, about the same time as a piece of fruit, and can be used to contain other liquids, such as alcoholic drinks or cosmetics.

The best designs:

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Are created by nature.

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Are created by humans.

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What came first, flags or identity?

 

Symbols epitomise, explain, unite or divide groups of people and ideas. Throughout history, design’s capacity for synthesis has been used to create flags.

Symbols provide people with shared spaces of recognition. They are open tools for communication, integrating diverse meanings, and serve as graphic representations capable of unifying something as complex as the history, culture, territory or hopes of a group of people, as well as expressing a sense of belonging.

In summarising this complexity a flag can imply an imposition, but also a call for justice and recognition. Here, design, in terms of language, thereby shows its power as a tool capable of delineating, distinguishing, making visible, uniting and dividing.

The refugee nation flag

by Yara Said in collaboration with The Refugee Nation / Amnesty International.

 

The aim of the Refugee Nation project is to create a symbolic nation that represents the millions of displaced people around the world. In the context of the Rio 2016 Olympics, Yara Said, a Syrian refugee, designed this flag to represent the ten athletes who made up the first refugee team in history, drawing her inspiration from the colours used for life jackets. Although, in the end, its use was not permitted, since it did not represent an official Olympic federation, the flag has helped to raise awareness concerning the refugee situation.

Flags mainly serve to...

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Unite.

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Divide.

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How can we join together what industry separates?

 

Compatibility or incompatibility between systems, products and technologies is also designed. Standard models can put up walls, but they can also open the door to collaboration.

Design produces and reproduces standard models, in other words, patterns of use, operation and compatibility between brands, systems or products. Some of these standard models build bridges to allow different formats to function in conjunction with one another, while others look to do the opposite and create barriers. An example of this are Android and Apple phone chargers, which are not compatible between the brands. These deliberate incompatibilities look to include or exclude markets and users. This is where the politics of design is most evident.

In counterpoint to both this and the laws regulating intellectual property, DIY and free culture movements exploit the ease with which digital files can be circulated, copied and modified to promote a collective intelligence which positively rethinks and reconstructs the products that surround us.

Free Universal Construction Kit

by Golan Levin (F.A.T. Lab) and Shawn Sims (Sy-Lab), 2012.

 

Free Universal Construction Kit is a matrix of around 80 pieces that enable users to fit together the ten most popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any object to be joined to any other, the kit opens new ways to connect incompatible systems, paving the way to previously impossible designs and giving children the opportunity to be more creative. The kit pieces are open-source, meaning they can be downloaded for free on the Internet and produced using a 3D printer.

Download link: http://fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit/#download

What would you choose?

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Interoperability and open-source.

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Comfort and design.

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Do all cultures consume in the same way?

 

Global products often have a single design for a range of different users. Eventually, people will learn to adapt this design to satisfy their own needs.

Tool design is based on a series of preconceptions regarding how the tools will be used and for what purpose. This, therefore, implies a series of particular values and ways of understanding humans, work, relationships and creativity. In other words, a design is never neutral. While objects are designed with a particular use in mind, their eventual use will depend on each user.

Design, therefore, is a space for negotiation – sometimes more akin to a battleground – between companies, technical possibilities, desires, interests or ideologies. An object or service’s possible uses are flexible, often beyond the intentions of the designer.

Love me tinder

de Domestic Data Streamers, 2018

 

Love me tinder comprises five mobile phones which can be used to explore 48 profiles from the Tinder dating app.

These models, created from a study of real users, illustrate how an app designed with a specific use can be reappropriated for different purposes. This installation offers visitors an interactive experience which delves into the expected and eventual uses of a virtual space used, in theory, for the sole purpose of finding companionship.

 

 

Digital apps...

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Help us to relate to one another in different ways.

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Standardise our relationships.

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Can we design what we cannot see?

 

In a reality that evolves and changes at a dizzying pace, science and design are being asked to understand one another and even to converge.

Traditionally, disciplines like the arts, natural sciences, design or social sciences, have been perceived as belonging to separate fields. Science and design have different aims, practices and research methodologies. Science is capable of generating rigorous and significant knowledge, while design attempts to modify the world around us.

By creating spaces that bring the disciplines together, science can help design to find new interpretive frameworks, and design, as an applied tool capable of measuring and translating different forms of knowledge and practice, can generate positive ways of understanding and intervening in reality. Design and science can work together to improve people’s lives.

Intangible Design

Intangible Design by ELISAVA Research and Domestic Data Streamers.

 

Recent research has shown that water has memory: its composition maintains some of the properties that were previously dissolved in it. Elisava Research has analysed and compared the effect that different recipients have on the properties of water, which, it has concluded, are indeed affected by the form, volume, material and colour of the container.

This installation presents the results of a series of experiments carried out by Elisava Research to determine how these factors intervene in the molecular structure of water.

What are design’s best travelling companions?

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Science and reason

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Art and intuition.

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Can design pose moral challenges?

 

Immersive technologies, such as virtual reality, create spaces which blur the line between fiction and reality. This is where design can explore situations that are yet to happen.

Cervantes’ Don Quixote addressed the idea that fiction could drive a person insane. More than four hundred years later, the Internet and video games, and other media, continue to defy the limits between fiction and reality.

Throughout history we have endeavoured to destroy the membrane that separates what we believe is real from what we consider to be fantasy, and the recent advances in virtual reality have made great strides in this direction. The power this technology wields, thanks to its immersive capacity, when it comes to generating alternative realities provides a breeding ground for experimenting with new limits of behaviour which do not necessarily respond to the restrictions of the real world or the laws (whether physical, relational or criminal) that this imposes upon us.

Virtual X Kit

by Marta Giralt, 2017

 

Virtual X Kit looks at how extreme pornographic experiences, such as rape simulation, can become mechanisms that elude the moral and legal limitations of the real world. The project comprises three objects that emulate the parts of the body most commonly involved in sexual activity. It thereby unveils a possible, not-too-distant future, thus opening the debate on the use of virtual reality in the pornographic industry, questioning to what extent these practices should or should not be regulated.

Video games and pornography...

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Feed our hidden instincts.

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Help us to let off steam.

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Where do things come from?

 

The objects and products that surround us have a history. Design, as a space for research, can be used to reconstruct that history.

The services and products that we consume on a daily basis are composed of a multitude of elements and, before reaching us, undergo a series of different processes. Most of the time, uncovering their traceability is an arduous, if not impossible, task, partly because of the opacity of the processes themselves but also due to the enormous complexity entailed by any product of mass consumption.

Just as forensic science serves as an instrument to resolve crimes by reconstructing their history through physical clues, design can, beyond producing objects and driving processes, act as a research space to help us to understand how something is made, exposing the reality hidden within the objects themselves or revealing how we are using our planet’s resources.

Design can thereby serve to make industrial processes more transparent and help us to better understand the origins of what we consume.

Pig 05049

by Christien Meindertsma

 

05049 was a pig bred on a Dutch farm. After its death, the animal was cut up and distributed throughout the world, its different parts eventually featuring in a total of 185 products. Among some of the more unexpected results are ammunition, medicine, photographic paper, heart valves, brakes, chewing gum, cosmetics or cigarettes.

After three years of research, Christien Meindertsma published this book, in which all the products derived from 05049 are shown at their true scale.

Which has more power to change things?

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Industry.

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People.

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Do brands want to adapt to new business models?

 

In the information era, people look for goods and services that are increasingly adapted to meet our needs. Industry 4.0, thanks to new technologies, is capable of making this a reality.

The mass production that resulted from the industrial revolution in the 19th century provided a limited range of products. In the two final decades of the 20th century, the market demanded greater product personalisation, more in line with different sectors of the population. With the advent of the Internet and personalised recommendations came the on-demand economy, in which each individuals seek to satisfy their ever more specific consumer preferences.

In response to these ultra-specialised demands, and thanks to the technical capacities of 3D printing or the automation of processes of organisation, production and distribution, came the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, which brings the cultural and consumption needs arising from the digital world to industrial-scale production.

Futurecraft Tailored Fibre

Adidas + Alexander Taylor + Parley for the Oceans

 

Industrial designer Alexander Taylor explores the new forms of production of Industry 4.0, using technologies like 3D printing or through the development of sustainable products. Adidas has collaborated with his studio and Parley for the Oceans in the manufacture of footwear that recycles plastic waste found in the oceans to produce trainers whose parts are made from a single piece, which can be personalised by the user.

Commercial brands...

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Help us to express our personality.

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Contribute to our homogenisation.

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How can we feed 10 billion people?

 

Our current food system is highly polluting. Design can help to reduce its impact, while at the same time improving food quality.

The environmental crisis we are faced with today has led various stakeholders from the food production chain to take action. With the intention of reducing environmental impact while at the same time increasing efficiency, these actors are experimenting with alternatives to pesticides, extensive farming, animal cruelty or the staggering distances that separate food production and consumption.

In this arena, biology, agriculture, livestock farming, transport, engineering and communications all interrelate in an attempt to decode the current food system, on both a microscopic and global scale, and to design new and more sustainable models which improve conditions for us and our environment.

 

Ecosistema Aquapioneers

by Aquapioneers

Aquapioneers is a Barcelona-based startup company that develops sustainable urban agriculture and promotes self-sufficiency in cities. The technology it employs is based on the principles of aquaponics: an ancestral technique that uses the interaction between microorganisms, fish and plants in a closed cycle, to simultaneously grow vegetables and breed fish. These ecosystems produce food very close to where it will be consumed and reduce the environmental impact of the fresh-food supply chain.

In the future your diet will be based on:

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Eating what you can produce.

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Eating what you can buy.

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Who controls who?

 

Behaviour and perception can also be designed. This is not only design’s great power, but also its great responsibility.

We don’t interact in the same way with a door fitted with a metal plate than if it has a doorknob. A doorknob can tell us to “pull” or “push”. The metal plate only allows us to push.  Design creates, modifies and determines behaviour, making certain actions possible or impossible. On Facebook, for example, we can click on “like” but do not have the option to “not like”. These increasingly conscious decisions are aimed at favouring certain behavioural patterns over others and can be seen in all kinds of environments.

The field of experience design seeks to understand, drive and modulate the sensations experienced and actions undertaken by users or clients of a product or service. Here, design can be seen to wield great power, which comes, as Roosevelt once told the American people, with great responsibility.

Follow

by Daniel Armengol Altayó

 

Follow is an installation created specifically for Design Does. It is a reflection on how human behaviour can be designed.

The installation consists of two spaces of identical dimensions. One is inhabited by someone who has agreed to be there for the duration of the exhibition and is equipped with a controller and virtual reality glasses. The second is empty, waiting for someone to occupy it. Through the controller, the recent arrival can define the movements of the person in the first space.

When do you feel free?

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Leaving the house with your smartphone.

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Leaving the house without your smartphone.

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How can a material change our lives?

 

The constant revolution of materials used by humans as tools has a new milestone in its history: graphene.

Our civilisation cannot be understood without a knowledge of how people have employed the materials that surround us. We have been using silicon, for example, since the dawn of humanity. One thousand five hundred years ago, our ancestors used dry lava to build sharp tools. The early Mesopotamian civilisations learned to use silicon to make glass and, therefore, windows and bottles. Likewise, today, the so-called digital revolution would not have been possible without silicon’s properties as a semiconductor, an essential element for all electronic devices to work properly.

Like silicon, graphene is being hailed as a revolutionary material.The difference is that it was obtained in 2010. Its possibilities, like silicon just forty years ago, are unimaginable today.

Nano-futures

by Elisava Research and Domestic Data Streamers

 

Graphene, a substance composed of pure carbon, has properties that will doubtlessly bring about a paradigm change in design: it can be 200 times stronger than steel, some five times lighter than aluminium and, what is more, it has the capacity to store energy. Its applications range from the construction of vehicles or buildings to prostheses or flexible screens.

This installation, which is linked to the work of Elisava Research, proposes an introduction to the graphene molecule and poses a series of questions concerning its future applications.

What does a new material represent?

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Infinite opportunities.

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Hidden dangers.

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Should we allow everything to be automated?

 

In autonomous systems capable of taking important decisions, design does not just respond to forms and processes, but also to ethical concerns.

The idea of the autonomous machine (robots, drones, automatic cars) has been fuelling technological progress for centuries. Today, this dream is becoming a reality, and with the promise of comfort and efficiency come a series of dangers that should be addressed by design. When we delegate to a machine, this will take certain decisions on our behalf. But, who defines the criteria by which these decisions are made? Take self-driving cars, for example. Should they run over a pedestrian or kill their driver in the event of a possible collision? When faced with the decision, should they allow a crash causing costly damages or run over a dog?

These questions lead to another broader and perhaps more pressing issue: Can ethics be designed?

And if so, who should do it and how?

Death. Inc

 

by Domestic Data Streamers. Based on the research Autonomous weapon systems and the principle of discrimination by Ariel Guersenzvaig.

 

South Korea currently has autonomous weapons installed along its border with North Korea. Autonomous weapons or killer robots are robotic armament systems capable of identifying and attacking a target without human intervention. So, decisions concerning someone’s life and death, until now solely the responsibility of other people, are, today, being taken by machines.

This conflict opens a new chapter in the debate over whether we can or should programme the ethics of a machine and what the guiding principles of these ethics should be. Today, there are already various companies that have banned the production of killer robots, just as has happened in the past with anti-personnel mines.

If an innocent death is caused by an autonomous weapon, who is responsible?

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The weapon’s designer.

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The politician that started the war.

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Where is the boundary between the artificial and the natural?

 

Engineering nature implies using the properties of natural elements to explore new materials and applications.

Humans are not the only living beings that build spaces in which we live, work, relate to one another and which protect us. Ants, bees, silkworms, and birds develop materials and forms of construction which are similar to those of people.

In fact, we have used some of their materials -such as beeswax or the silk produced by worms- to create new objects. Spaces have therefore arisen where humans have exploited or collaborated with these animals, whose intelligences and capacities when it comes to engineering and design are a model to follow.

In a context of environmental collapse design can open a space for dialogue between humans and other living beings, which blurs the line between the concepts of “wild” and “domestic”, constructing ways of relating and living with one another that are more enriching and respectful between species.

LACHESIS

by Laia Mogas and Giusy Matzeu.

 

These interactive surfaces are sensitive textiles that respond to changes caused  by the rain, skin contact or emotions by altering their colour. The fabrics absorb and interpret the imbalances that arise inside and outside of our bodies and in our surroundings, through different chemical reactions. These moments, these changes, thereby leave their imprint on the silk, which evolves and transforms over time.

“LACHESIS” is a project designed and developed by architect Laia Mogas and engineer Giusy Matzeu at the Tufts University Silklab and was directed by Prof. Fiorenzo Omenetto. The team’s line of work forms part of current efforts to connect science, technology and the arts with the design and manufacture of increasingly interactive products and materials.

Which is more efficient?

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Nature.

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Robots.

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Where do data come from?

 

Open-source design is a philosophy that allows citizens to generate their own tools based on their individual needs.

Many of the devices we interact with on a daily basis work like a black box. A tablet, for example, reacts to our touch, but for most people the process that makes this possible is a mystery. There are other systems, such as Arduino for example, which are designed to be intervened in, expanded and used creatively by anyone who wants to. These kinds of technologies have been designed to be highly flexible, allowing them to provide solutions to a multitude of problems.

Using the open code concept, designers, engineers, town planners or citizens employ already existing tools to better understand and transform their environment. Here, design is at the service of social needs, creating alternatives for and with those who are affected, based on their specific needs, and generating spaces for learning and integrative creativity. New spaces are thereby opened for political and citizen participation, and to allow these actors to have an impact on the cities where they live.

Smart Citizen Kit

by FABLAB Barcelona

 

Smart Citizen offers an alternative to the centralized data production and management systems used by the large corporations that constitute the driving force behind the smart city concept. This project uses Arduino technology to enable ordinary citizens to gather information on their environment and make it available to the public. For example, Making Sense was one of the projects developed thanks to the Smart Citizen platform, which, through data collected by devices, gave local residents a voice regarding town-planning policies and decisions in the Gràcia district of Barcelona.

For the Design Does exhibition, three Smart Citizen devices have been installed at different locations around Barcelona, allowing comparisons to be made concerning the different levels of pollution, temperatures, noise and humidity in these places.

Who knows you best?

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Google and Facebook.

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Your family.

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New challenges require new solutions. In a context in which creativity is fundamental for the future, the ability to measure and apply this skill becomes yet another tool.

We live in a context of constant change in which there is a need for a great capacity to adapt. Creativity is a highly useful tool when it comes to generating new viewpoints and ways of working, and not just in the design sector, but also in business, management, logistics, mobility or politics.

Just as there are methods for identifying leadership or organisational capacities, there is also a need for systems to map and measure creative skills. This will give organisations the capacity to better understand their way of integrating and working with creativity, analysing their own strengths and weaknesses, and incorporating profiles capable of contributing where necessary in the design process.

Here, research in design can help to make visible what was previously considered imperceptible, and thus use it as a tool to improve work processes and results.

Creative Decoding Tool is a tool developed by Elisava Research which enables the user to better understand creative profiles through a series of questions related with key skills in design processes. This system has been developed with the aim of understanding the relationship between a person responsible for tasks related with creativity and the skills they can offer, and seeks to understand the tools available to them to be able to successfully perform their role in the development of projects or in their working environment.

Doer Data*

Coming soon...

Exhibition report

Available from June 14th