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‘Urgent Legacy’ exemplifies Swiss design at Brera Design District
At Milan Design Week 2023, the House of Switzerland Milano presents a collective show Urgent Legacy
Image: © Sara Bastai

‘Urgent Legacy’ exemplifies Swiss design at Brera Design District

At Milan Design Week 2023, the House of Switzerland Milano presents a collective show, highlighting the innovative power and legacy of the emerging Swiss design scene.

by Sunena V Maju
Published on : Apr 22, 2023

With the aim of raising awareness on the innovative power and legacy of the Swiss design scene, during Milan Design Week 2023 , the House of Switzerland is presenting a collective show, Urgent Legacy at Brera Design District. Emphasising solutions for current issues in the design world, seven exhibitions, a panel discussion and a workshop are occupying the different floors of Casa degli Artisti in Milan , Italy . Spread across three floors, these events are discussing concepts of local production, new materials, reusing waste, upcycling, promoting inclusivity and tackling the climate emergency. The various Swiss designers being showcased were nominated by an independent jury of internationally renowned experts: Johanna Agerman Ross (London) , Valentina Ciuffi (Milan), Nolan Giles (London), and Cecilie Manz (Copenhagen) . Urgent Legacy, with its exhibitions, intents on embodying key qualities of functional aesthetics, whilst simultaneously helping in making the world a more resilient and sustainable place.

On the ground floor is the exhibition, Junkyard Diving - Exploring and creating out of our waste by students from ECAL/ University of Art and Design Lausanne. The exhibition underlines existing yet under-exploited opportunities for recycling that design must unveil. The exhibition Common Ground showcases a selection of long-lasting objects, produced locally and sustainably. Under David Glättli’s concept, seven Swiss design brands and manufacturers—Embru, Lehni, Lichtprojekte Christian Deuber, Röthlisberger Kollektion, schindlersalmerón Seledue—are a part of the exhibition. All lighting and furniture products displayed in Common Ground are designed using as little material and resources as possible.

ETH Zurich’s interactive exhibition Inclusive Design sits on the first floor, showcasing how design can break barriers, through a selection of state-of-the-art and award-winning assistive technology projects. In Paper Trail by NOV Gallery, six designers and design studios explore and revisit the attributes of paper in unexpected ways. “The exhibition is NOV Gallery’s call for a disruptive approach to a new materiality , in which designers become agents of change, tasked with the responsibility of taking apart and rearranging the building blocks of the design process,” states the official release. Along with these two exhibitions, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, with the support of the Ikea Foundation Switzerland presents Emerging Talents—an exhibition introducing a new generation of Swiss and Switzerland -based designers who attempt at building a shared and long-lasting legacy.

Students of the Space & Communication Design MA program at HEAD, Genève's University of Art and Design, pay tribute to seven female designers— Ray Eames, Daisy Ginsberg, Eileen Gray, Anab Jain, Sophie Taueber-Arp, Magdalene Odundo, and Valentine Schlegel—from the past or present, with Spirits.Excellent for the Head. Displayed inside a scenography that plays with political interpretations of women’s illicit alcohol consumption during prohibition are seven blown glasses containing a unique cocktail.

New Territories.Shaping design cultures displays the output of three labs which focus on design culture, sustainability and material, and digital integration. Presented by the Institute of Contemporary Design Practices ICDP, Basel Academy of Art and Design FHNW, New Territories encourages visitors to engage with questions about cultural norms, diversity, and paradoxes.

Expanding beyond exhibitions, Urgent Legacy also provides platform for three other events—Monocle Radio, Making Things Public and DIY Academy by INNER LIGHT—throwing light on the Swiss design scene. Recording and hosting live from the House of Switzerland Milano, Monocle Radio presents a series of interviews, live news coverage, and round-table discussions. Making Things Public.The design of institutions now and then presented by mudac (Museum of Contemporary Design & Applied Arts) in Lausanne was a breakfast conversation exploring the challenges and opportunities of building future-facing design institutions.

Moderated by Beatrice Leanza , director of mudac, the discussion included renowned personalities such as Aric Chen , general and artistic director of Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam) , Johanna Agerman Ross, curator of Twentieth Century and Contemporary Furniture and Product Design at Victoria & Albert Museum (London), and Ewan McEoin, senior curator, Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture at National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne) . DIY Academy by Swiss collective INNER LIGHT and presented by Istituto Svizzero invites visitors to join them in giving new life to their favourite garments whilst learning about the different ways clothes can be upcycled, including silkscreen printing and sewing.

STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2023 showcases the best exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands, and special projects to look out for. Explore Euroluce 2023 and all the design districts—5Vie Art and Design, Brera Design District, Fuorisalone, Isola Design District, Tortona District, and Milano Design District—with us.

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