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Barcelona Design Week will exceed the 20,000 participants of the previous year

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Barcelona Design Week, the annual event organized by BCD Barcelona Design Centre, ended its 12th edition transforming the city with over 120 activities. While awaiting confirmation of the figures for some activities and for some of the exhibitions which will remain open to the public during the months of June and July to close, it is expected that BDW will end having exceeded the 20,000 participants of the previous year.

In this respect, the success of Poblenou Design Day stands out, one of the novelties of this year’s edition organized by BCD and Poblenou Urban District, the 24 activities which could be experienced being attended by over 5,000 people. The aim was to present the talent of Barcelona’s most creative neighbourhood, and this was successfully achieved. Taking into account the good results, the next editions of Barcelona Design Week will add other districts of the city to the programme in order to bring design to all the citizens.

It should also be highlighted that this year the number of international attendees increased at the activities that BCD held in the Disseny Hub Barcelona, amounting to 20% of the total. The participants in these activities moreover came from 67 different countries, converting this year into the most international of the 12 editions.

Taking the results into account, Pau Herrera, President of BCD, indicates that this year the objectives of BDW were achieved, in so far as “attendance and participation in the activities increased, the number of activities went up by 50%, and more organizations and professionals joined Barcelona Design Week ". He stresses that these figures moreover "demonstrate that Barcelona Design Week is an event which is not only consolidated, but which also continues to grow year by year".

With the slogan 'Transforming society', this year offered a programme formed by conferences, exhibitions, workshops, talks, presentations, circuits, round tables, celebrations and networking activities, which allowed debates on design as a tool to transform society and as a key factor of innovation, sustainability and to improve the quality of life of people.

Pau Herrera highlights "the importance of having a design week in the city, an event which connects us with major international cities and which allows us to be up-to-date with the most topical issues in the world in relation to design”. Herrera adds that BDW “is also a platform which presents the design of Barcelona and its main players, professionals, entrepreneurs and companies which have transformed design into the key to their success".

The most social BDW

This year’s Barcelona Design Week has been the most social of the 12 editions, as demonstrated by the opening conference 'Design for a better world: Backing the future of Africa through creativity' by Ravi Naidoo, the creator of Design Indaba and Managing Director of Interactive Africa. During the talk, Naidoo spoke about transformation through creativity and placed special emphasis on the fact that the future of Africa can be very positive if creativity and design play an important role in development.

The installation 'Krea. Different views in creative processes', is the other social aspect covered by BDW. Krea shows a very specific aspect of integration and focuses on and explores the contribution of different views in creative processes. Disability and marginalization are factors which often favour the development of special skills which are not usual in people not affected. During BDW, 11 cases were presented and worked on belonging to very different situations and groups: creative processes which incorporate people with some physical or mental disability, homeless people, people who have come from other countries and have encountered precariousness and marginalization, and people who have experienced different situations of exploitation. The result of the 11 workshops can be visited in the Disseny Hub Barcelona until 31 August.

Transforming society through design

Once again this year, the BDW Congress included renowned speakers from the sector who this year emphasized the positive impact of design through two fundamental strategies: placing people centre stage in order to better understand their needs and promoting sustainability starting from design. This year represented a great success in terms of participation, being attended by over 300 professionals in two days. During the Congress, the participants were able to enjoy conferences and workshops led by a luxury line-up formed by 8 experts of recognized prestige, such as Denis Weil (Institute of Design Chicago); Pamela Mead (HERE); Joshua Tabak and Caitlin Sanford (Facebook); Luis Arnal (Insitum), Jonas Martens (Better Future Factory), Emma Van der Leest (BlueCityLab) and Germán León (Gestoos).

Some of the ideas and concepts set out in the conference during the User Experience, People and Purpose block gave the keys to the evolution that design and the designer must experience in the coming years. Designers must play the role of “creators, guides and integrators”, acquiring leadership skills beyond their own technical skills. Furthermore, design will not just be centred on the user, but rather will also cause an impact on the behaviour of people and therefore a social change. It will not just make the product accessible, but will also activate the system surrounding the user, and the designer will go from working with prototypes to living laboratories.

The conference also spotlighted the fact that designers not only have to solve problems, redefine and discover them, but also make the problem “relevant” with inspiration, persuasion and systemic thinking.

Moreover, during the Sustainable Transformation by Design block, it was explained that there are new techniques applied to biology, technology and design (Biodesign) which can produce without generating waste, and it was shown how we can correct, through design, misuse of some materials such as, for example, plastic. Finally, it was demonstrated how design will have an influence on the impact of artificial intelligence on our society.

In all cases, collaboration between disciplines is necessary both in companies and in institutions.

Other novelties of BDW

For the first time, Barcelona Design Week had a Talent Show which was intended to give visibility to the young creative talent existing in Barcelona. With the collaboration of the Design Museum, a conference was held which presented 17 projects by students from the schools Bau, ELISAVA, EINA, IED, LCI Barcelona, Escola Massana, IDEP Barcelona, ESDAP and ESDI.

Finally, health also played an important role in an activity promoted by the Design Cluster of Catalonia which is led by BCD, Design and Research for Health, in which it was set forth how design research can also generate innovation in the field of health.

Barcelona Design Week

One of the assets of Barcelona Design Week in recent years has been the involvement of the main agents from the sector, both from the design and from the business sphere. In this respect, it should be stressed that Barcelona Design Week 2017 included the support of Barcelona City Council; with Alhambra as the Platinum Sponsor; and with the sponsorship of Simon, HP and Adoora as Gold Sponsors, among other companies and institutions which, year after year, help to make BDW a benchmark event in the sphere of design.

Now that the 12th edition has ended, the dates have been fixed for Barcelona Design Week 2018, which will be held from 7 to 14 June.

Barcelona Design Week 2017 Picture Gallery here.

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