The Politics of Design
Vitra Design Museum, Weil/Rhine
– 10 March 2019
Designed as both a retrospective and an exhibition of themes, “Victor Papanek. The Politics of Design” at the Vitra Design Museum on show until 10 March 2019, examines Papenek’s life and work and also his vision of using design to solve complex (global) issues.
Since the 1960s, Victor Papanek (1923–1998) has been one of the best-known pioneers of social design. The most famous work by the author and industrial designer, “Design for the Real World” (1971), still serves designers today as a basis for topics such as inclusion, social justice, and sustainability.
The exhibition shows a variety of exhibits on these themes including drawings, objects, film documents, manuscripts, and prints. In addition, works by contemporary witnesses such as George Nelson, Richard Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan as well as the radical design initiative, Global Tools, are on show, too. To further explore Papanek's influence on today's design scene, 20 works by various contemporary designers from the fields of critical design and social design are also on display.
As socially committed as Papanek might have been as early as the 1960s, it does not absolve designers today from the responsibility of thinking yet further and transposing their approaches into our time. A more detailed review of the exhibition can be found in the upcoming issue of form 281.