Design Week 2021: the Future seen from the future

BASE issues a rallying call to new generations and universities to devise new ways of living, through design

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01/03/2021 - BASE issues a rallying call to new generations and universities in Italy and abroad to devise new ways of living, through design. From a week to a year, Fuorisalone becomes an opportunity for long-term joint design with a transdisciplinary approach, developed four-handed by BASE and the other entities involved to chronicle the direction our society is taking.

Let’s imagine we’re in 2033, looking back at 2020 and picturing the Design Week that never was. At the time, the Venice Biennale of Architecture curator Hashim Sarkis’ question, “How will we live together?”, seemed like a speculative take on a distant future. Real life showed us otherwise. The call to find new ways of living together thus became a necessity.

Taking the present as a starting point and fuelled by the desire to build a new future, BASE is already looking ahead to the next Fuorisalone, opting to dig into the most pressing issues to arise from this particular moment in history by embracing the concept of anthropological design, from identity building to patterns of social behaviour. This investigation will be conducted through the gaze of the younger generations and the leading national and international learning institutions that represent them. How? By issuing a Call to universities, academies, and less conventional places of learning, eager to find innovative solutions to address the inevitable phase of worldwide re-examination currently underway.

Today it is more important than ever to view design as a tool of cooperation and joint construction which enables us to reconceive society as a collective creative project in which centres of learning have a vital role. Design has, in this sense, moved closer to art, social sciences, sociology and, to an even greater extent, anthropology.

Long-term involvement, joint design and trans-sectoralism will be the linchpin of BASE’s Design Week 2021: from a week to a year-long project, in the light of our experiences over the last few months, BASE has decided to reconceive Design Week as a longer journey, set to endure beyond Fuorisalone by establishing collaborations and design projects both before and after the week itself. The project will be developed over the course of various occasions throughout the year and will culminate during Design Week, one of the greatest moments of creative expression on the international stage, unfolding in the city of Milan.

There will be ample room for joint design to be displayed and to flourish, with a series of special, site-specific four-handed projects, developed together with BASE and the entities involved, residencies, introductory courses with workshops, and a public program to delve into the issues explored.

With this in mind, BASE will involve design universities as well as academies and a range of cross-disciplinary learning experiences so as to offer a more complex view featuring architecture, urban design, social design, relational design, public design and also graphic design and the art world. Trans-sectoralism will serve to further reinforce the concept of a long-term project, envisioning additional landing places within BASE’s wide-ranging programme.

What impact can we see the health crisis having – or what impact should it have in future – on our approach to design, the built environment and urban planning? What social, political and cultural effects might we fear or hope will be brought about by this global state of emergency?

There are numerous questions and reflections that will carry us into Design Week 2021: over the last few months, daily life has been put on hold; new codes of conduct have tested our sense of coexistence and cohabitation and our connectedness beyond the digital. In this context, design becomes a tool for diving into a broader project involving the environment, habitat, domestic and social rituals, relationships between public and private space, and other new forms of anthropological design.

From product design to service design, fashion to interaction design, branding to experience design – design’s fields of action have expanded, its spheres of influence becoming ever more numerous: design helps us investigate the direction our society is taking.

For this reason, BASE has chosen to issue a rallying call to universities and the wider world of learning: to mark Design Week 2021, BASE will select and welcome different experiences of learning, research, and experimentation from across national and international higher education. 

Building on the experience that started in 2019 alongside Ventura Future, which saw the ex-Ansaldo complex filled with projects by the best schools and emerging designers from all over the world, BASE is once again set to become a fulcrum of research and experimentation through a project that will extend beyond Design Week, and, most importantly, feature disciplines outside the realm of design.

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