The Vienna Design Week, Austria’s largest design festival, has been held annually since 2007 at changing venues in Vienna. The secret of the event’s success, which goes back to the “Passionswege” curated by Tulga Beyerle, Thomas Geisler and Lilli Hollein in 2006, which dealt with the interaction of craft and design and is still one of the most varied formats of the Design Week, lies in the skilful combination of constant formats, changing locations and focal points. The so-called festival headquarters, the main venue, changes year after year, as does the host country. Until 2010, the founders ran the festival as a trio. From 2010 to 2013, Beyerle and Hollein served as co-directors. After Lilli Hollein was appointed general director of the Museum of Applied Arts Vienna (MAK) in May 2021, the previous vice-director Gabriel Roland succeeded her as festival director.
This year, Vienna Design Week will take place from 16 to 25 September, one week earlier than usual. This year’s focus district is the sixth district, whereby in Mariahilf, in addition to the festival headquarters, there will also be a special concentration of programme items dealing with topics relevant to the district. In the “Urban Food & Design” format, designers work out concrete innovations in cooperation with companies from the food industry and – supported by the Vienna Business Agency – test circular economy solutions. After a short break, the “Passionswege” are also part of the festival programme again. This time, sustainable business models are to be developed in cooperation with co/rizom in an “open-ended dialogue between design and crafts”.
The Social Design format “City Work” deals with the exchange between local providers and residents under the title “Exchange – Share – Act”. Under the name “Platform”, the previous programme partnerships now form the basis for the presentation of works and products by external partners and for networking with the public and the creative scene. In the “Debut” format, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the “forum journalismus und medien” (fjum) will be guests in 2022. And last but not least, the new group exhibition format “Focus” presents objects that “explore the possibilities of design in a free way”, with a “space-consuming scenography” framing the pieces selected by guest curator Liv Vaisberg. In addition, there is a series of thematic conference days called “Conference Circles”.
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