Including presentations by Alan Powers and Kieran Long, this discussion event will look at the impact of design on people’s lives and the social and political contexts that define our relationship to our environment.
Since the early modernist movement, design has often been considered to have a critical social function: to provide improved conditions of living, both for individuals and the collective society. Revolving around a minimum standard of living and equal access to space, air, light, and water, modernist design was a promise for a better society for all. On the other hand, planning can only create frameworks for living, and the power of design to shape reality on a tabula rasa has been overestimated, neglecting the many and diverse relationships between people and their environment.
Including presentations by Alan Powers and Kieran Long, this discussion event will look at the impact of design on people's lives and the social and political contexts that define our relationship to our environment. From Marcel Breuer, who was employed by Gane Furniture to design a pavilion in Bristol, and his application of democratic principles and use of new technologies and materials, to activists who are taking design into their own hands.
Kieran Long is Senior Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Design and Digital at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Previously he has been deputy editor Icon magazine, editor in chief of the Architects' Journal and the Architectural Review. In addition to his role at the V and A he is the architecture critic for the Evening Standard newspaper.
Dr. Alan Powers writes and lectures on twentieth-century art, architecture, and design. He has been a guest curator at Kettles Yard and the Design Museum and a Professor in Architecture and Cultural History at the University of Greenwich in East London. He is also a watercolor painter and a printmaker. Dr. Powers was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2008.
Organised by Arnolfini and the Design Study Centre as part of The Promise, an exhibition that focuses on the relationship between a city's design and the hopes and ambitions of its residents. Exhibitions and events will take place in the Arnolfini galleries and across the city of Bristol throughout the summer.
The Design Study Centre is part of the Ken Stradling Collection in Bristol. The collection, built up since the late 1940s, is a remarkable group of works from the 20th and 21st century, including ceramics, furniture, glass and much else. It extends over three floors of a dedicated house, which is open to the public every Wednesday.