Only a few weeks until the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK - Austria’s largest design festival.

Focus District

In the center of the city, in the center of attention. Margareten, this year’s Focus District, is a typical inner-city district. Urban, densely populated, only few green areas. Simultaneously, the 5th district is known as a working-class district with numerous blocks of council flats. In the nineteenth century, Margareten was at first actually a bastion for artisans and craftsmen. A parallel to the present. Because today, too, the district is a genuine hub of the creative industries with many locally producing business enterprises. For ten whole days, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK is opening up the district and staging its activities here in new spaces, supporting old established enterprises, and spotlighting the district in all its facets. This year’s Festival Headquarters take over the former Bothe & Ehrmann Exhibition Halls, only a few yards away from Margaretenplatz. In other words, focus on all of Margareten. Also and especially with the Vienna Business Agency and its creative center departure.


Guest Country

Vítám tě! Year for year, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK shifts the focus and grants us a richly detailed insight into the creative design of another European country. This year’s guest: our neighbor, the Czech Republic. But we’re calling out “Ahoj” not only to a young generation of Czech designers in the course of the great Guest Country exhibition. The Czech Republic’s dynamic and high-quality design scene, which, similar to that of Austria, looks back at a long handicrafts tradition, is represented across the board of all festival formats. For instance, there are the tours in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Villa Tugendhat in Brno, re-opened in 2012. Or the exhibition of works created at the renowned Prague UMPRUM Academy, presenting outstanding student works of recent years. Apropos. The projects of the Passionswege and the Program Partners are also flanked in a striking way this year by the new and traditional school of Czech design.


Industrial Design & Mobility

Design is social design in the widest sense – a strategy for improving people’s lives – and this is also applicable to industrial design. The VIENNA DESIGN WEEK is accentuating this as a key theme this year. Whether service industry design surrounding a product, whether process competency, or the approach which understands design as a holistic, integrative task – it’s always about solutions that combine sustainability, user-friendliness, technological innovation, and process optimization. Solutions that only emerge through the interaction between strategic design and innovative industrial competence, through a cooperative process shared between designers and business enterprises. It is the goal of the industrial design items in this year’s program to demonstrate this, and they will play a more important role in the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK festival also in future.


The sector of communication design is expanding all the time. New media, tools, and methods are presenting new challenges, for designers as well as for recipients. At the same time, the constantly growing possibilities are introducing entirely new forms of interaction, so that designers are increasingly acting as guides in sounding out communication solutions. They network with other disciplines, open up new horizons and consistently develop established areas. The three-part symposium The New Classic presents and discusses theory and practice of very different sectors. The selected task areas should take effect at first sight as classic, hence the reason to investigate their latest development more precisely.


Passionswege – The name is the game. Because, with multiple stations in a single street, this year the format is path-breaking a way of passion through the Focus District. Four other stops in the inner city join the handicraft concerns, which are all coincidentally situated on Wehrgasse. Ever since it first started, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK has organized the Passionswege to bring together international and Austrian designers with Viennese production companies. These can then experiment, create, and transfer knowledge in open work processes, free from all commercial restraints. The VIENNA DESIGN WEEK shows the results of each collaborative project – object or installation – directly on site, granting backstage views and insights into authentic and traditional Viennese workshops and business premises.
Ebru Kurbak - Infrequently Asked Questions  © Kollektiv Fischka / Nimführ

Social Design 

Design in general makes our world more beautiful and more functional. This is especially true of social design. It addresses social issues and analyses them. It promotes knowledge sharing and challenges its public. Via an open call, a specialist jury chooses four projects that reveal special, creative qualities, and potential in dealing with social issues. Intensive and unconventional in their form of presentation, they show how design alternatives can come to fruition in our daily lives together. And something else is on show: the further development of last year’s winning project of the Erste Bank MoreVALUE Design Award by Ebru Kurbak.
 MAK Design Kids: Traumhausbau für AnfängerInnen  © MAK/Nathan Murrell
25hours Hotel - Coffee, Design, Cocktails - Festival  © 25hours Hotel

Listen & Participate

Let’s talk about it! In lectures and panels the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK addresses various aspects of design: while Hubert Klumpner for instance sounds out new paths in urban development, the curator Oliver Elser focuses on the architectural impact of the current refugee situation. Meanwhile, the departure talks take a look at the original design site of Margareten – on one hand, the 5th district is host to probably the liveliest scene in Vienna, on the other, it was here that the idea for the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK was first conceived. The journalist Ulrike Weiser turns to another groundbreaking event. With an eye on the presidential election, she discusses how metaphors generate universal images. In addition: with discourse events arranged across the board of the entire festival program, this year as well offers very many other opportunities for knowledge sharing, discussions and reflections.

Design for all! The VIENNA DESIGN WEEK with its great diversity of workshops and tour programs is inviting visitors of all ages to join in and be informed, entertained, and inspired. In short: to experience design in the flesh. Besides the fascinatingly diverse explorations through Vienna in general and the Festival District of Margareten in particular, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2016 is offering educational programs on key themes such as architecture, social design and handicrafts. And the younger generation? The various children’s workshops are the best guarantee for the designers of tomorrow. Additionally on request: individual tours with the guides of the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK, also special school tours with design°mobil.

source: press release

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