The past two decades have seen a substantial increase in the number of Architecture and design events emerging out of cities from across the world. Since the first notable Architecture exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in 1932, the design community has constantly been evolving to provide deserved platforms to discuss and display ideas that could shape the future of the world. 

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However, such events in design become a success only when they make significant contributions to humanity and its future. Especially at a time when such events have also become business ventures, it is important to address the ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ of handling such a huge responsibility. 

Opportunity for Upcoming Designers

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Modern Architecture: International Style, MoMA 1932_©https://www.moma.org/d/c/installation_images/W1siZiIsIjM0ODE1NyJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcXVhbGl0eSA5MCAtcmVzaXplIDE1MzZ4MTUzNlx1MDAzZSJdXQ.jpg?sha=93f4b0d8af400791

Experts and laymen appreciate design exhibits differently. Many events open for industry experts and design professionals before accepting the public. In such a designer-exclusive environment, there are 2 major beneficiaries. 

Firstly, the participants who get a platform to take their concerns and solutions to the global level, while also getting the bonus of free advertisement. Historical milestones in Architecture like Modernism and Deconstructivism have been popularized by such design events in the past, along with the designers who preached these ideas. 

Secondly, the observers or young designers who absorb the different ideas offered, and apply them to their practice. These designers always stay ahead of the curve and eventually give back to the community. 

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Role of Public

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La Biennale de Venezia_©https://static.dezeen.com/uploads/2021/05/venice-architecture-biennale-2022_dezeen_2364_col_0-852×479.jpg

Since the issues addressed have greater significance to our daily lives, Design events have a better scope to engage with the public than art exhibitions. However, art seems to generate more footfall and interest among people, with their visual appeal and wow factor. Architectural exhibits have increasingly started to become mere art pieces that lack a powerful message for the design community. Rather than being cornered by the desire to imitate, it is time to rediscover the core ideas behind the inception of such a medium of communication.

Architecture events are a great platform to educate laymen about the significance of Architecture. It is also an opportunity to share what we know as professionals whilst  preparing them for the foreseeable future of design and construction. 

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Why is there an Increased Interest to Host Design Events?

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London Design Festival 2012_©https://www.saydaily.com/.image/t_share/MTIwNjA4NjM4NTM5MTA1ODA0/image-title1.jpg

Design events and host cities have a strong correlation. International events expanding to the peripheries help impart culture to the issue being addressed and subsequently improves diversity and universality. The city takes a moment to reflect upon how it wants to present and identify itself. 

On the other hand, administrators and businesses have the advantage of guaranteed engagement and an increased footfall in the name of tourism at a given time and interval. This helps improve investment and thereby the quality of the output. The key in such a scenario is to find a balance between the interests of the different shareholders. 

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Themes and Positive Trends

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Nordic pavilion at Venice Biennale 2021_©https://d1tm14lrsghf7q.cloudfront.net/public/media/56063/00TITLE_Nordic—Venezia-Biennale_Helen&Hard-Architects_Photograph-by-DSL-Studio_1.jpg

The idea of having a theme that unifies all the participants may help to give every event its own space. Themes provide a guideline and structure to the imagination of designers and also connect all individual compositions as part of a single narrative. In the absence of a theme, it becomes difficult to establish an emotional connection with the observers, who would then start to pick and choose the pavilions to visit.

Over the last few years, an important trend concerning the choice of themes is that it addresses present and future issues with a sense of urgency. Designers have come up with strong and diverse responses that add a new meaning to the idea of hosting a congregation of the best professionals from around the globe. With globalization and the increased popularity of hosting design congregations, good design is also becoming accessible to more people. 

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Ideas to Consider

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Post-pandemic design is also an opportunity to explore the future of living_©https://static1.gensler.com/uploads/hero_element/15823/thumb_mobile/thumbs/Architecture-of-Optimism_StarwoodMiami_HERO_2000px_1588616247_508x286.jpg

Most often as a designer, simply identifying a problem is not enough. It is important to be a part of the solution and make significant creative contributions. The opportunity to be a part of such events with a global reach comes with its own set of responsibilities. The designer needs to understand that their work is not just a temporary visual form but a means to address the issue at hand while also adding to the value of its host. 

Considering that the world is going through a pandemic at this point, there is an expectation from designers around the globe to find ways to cope with the new normal. However, this could also be seen as an opportunity to assess our lifestyle and the changes needed to have a long-term positive impact on society. 

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Architecture has many social implications and a wide range of connotations. Architecture exhibits are always judged on multiple fronts, ranging from the philosophy of the Architect to its impact on society. While hosting and curating design events is not an easy task, it is an important cog in the process of elevating the design community and bridging the gap between designers and laymen. 

References

  1. the Guardian. (2013). What’s the point of architecture and design festivals? [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2013/jun/21/architecture-design-festivals-biennales [Accessed 28 Sep. 2021].
  1. Arterritory.com. (n.d.). Architecture As an Event. [online] Available at: https://arterritory.com/en/architecture_design–fashion/articles/5489-architecture_as_an_event/.
  2. www.youtube.com. (n.d.). What is the purpose of exhibitions of architecture? Development of architecture and critical thought. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kifGyBLG43E [Accessed 28 Sep. 2021].
  3. Hopkins, O. (n.d.). How do you make an architecture exhibition? | Blog | Royal Academy of Arts. [online] www.royalacademy.org.uk. Available at: https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/article/how-do-you-make-an-architecture [Accessed 28 Sep. 2021].
  1. www.architecturefoundation.org.uk. (n.d.). And the Winner Is… Urban Exhibitionism? What is an Architecture Festival For? | Architecture Foundation. [online] Available at: https://www.architecturefoundation.org.uk/programme/2013/and-the-winner-is/urban-exhibitionism [Accessed 28 Sep. 2021].
  1. Vangelatos, G. (2019). How Does Architecture Impact Society? A High-Level Look | Thought Leadership. [online] HMC Architects. Available at: https://hmcarchitects.com/news/how-does-architecture-impact-society-a-high-level-look-2019-10-18/.
  1. Nast, C. (2018). Architecture and Design Festivals Will Take Over These 5 Cities in November. [online] Architectural Digest. Available at: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/design-travel-destinations-november-2018 [Accessed 28 Sep. 2021].
Author

Avneeth Premarajan is a practicing Architect and an ardent “student” of Architecture. He is intrigued by concepts, ideas, philosophy, evolution and geography of design. He is more than willing to give up a few hours of day-dreaming to write about his thoughts.

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