No prizes for guessing the topic of this event, which celebrates its 14th year in 2020. The Vienna Design Week does what it says on the label, with an eclectic array of events across the city.
- Annual international festival of design held throughout Vienna
- Features both regular themes and one-off tracks
- 10 days or so of events for both professionals and the curious layperson
- 2020 dates: Sept 25 – Oct 4
- See also: Fesch’Markt Wien | Blickfang Design Fair
What’s the DESIGN WEEK all about?
The festival showcases design projects, innovations, processes, and approaches through a wide range of exhibitions, workshops, lectures, tours, and more throughout the city. In doing so, it presents design as an interdisciplinary endeavour, where aesthetics, sociopolitics, and practical application meet. (Phew.)
A strong international flavour always runs through the programme.
Regular tracks include, for example:
- A guest country: Finland was the last choice, represented through such events as the Wild at Heart exhibition of contemporary Finnish design
- A guest Viennese district: Alsergrund carried the baton in 2019. Vienna’s 9th district is just north of the old town and was home to Sigmund Freud, for example
- The Path of Passion: a track that brings together design and industry
The main location changes each year: the 2019 HQ, for example, was the Althan quarter, specifically the building above Franz Josephs Bahnhof railway station, site of an ambitious and ongoing urban development project. But events take place throughout the city, with dozens of programme partners contributing with everything from major exhibitions to one-off talks.
Since the previous Design Week only just finished, I don’t have any information on what’s happening in a year’s time. But to give you a flavour of what to expect, here some highlights from the 2019 event. With so many to choose from, I can only offer a few instances where my curious eye alighted on some particularly intriguing themes:
- A channel of events around game design. For example:
- You could go inside the Game and Graphics Laboratory to watch designers working live on their creations
- The Game Jam event offered a similar opportunity to view students and pros working together to build playable games in a short period of time
- The creations of Austrian game designers featured in the Press Start interactive exhibition
- The Blackbox project used the perspective of a smart device to explore how sensory input defines stories and narratives
- Events around city work. For example:
- The Cooking Up Stories mobile booth highlighted commonality and catalysed cross-cultural dialogue through live food preparation
- In A Search for Traces, an interactive scavenger hunt took you behind the facades of Vienna’s 9th district
- A track exploring urban food production, nutrition and future consumption. For example:
- A Chromatic Dinner created under the influence of art, science, and philosophy
- Designers and bakers explored and discussed pastries as part of local culture in Taste the Now (Editor’s note: cake is culture in Vienna)
- The Contemporary Silverware project revealed how cutlery might look if designed as a reflection of social food consumption trends. Ever seen a fasting fork?
For full details of the festival and the myriad of associated events, visit the official website.
The next Vienna Design Week takes place from September 25th to October 4th, 2020.
How to get to the design week
Events take place across the city. Once the organisers announce the 2020 HQ, I’ll post travel tips for it.