15 June 2012
Danish design evolution
|Chinese chair from Danish designer, Hans J Wegner. (Photo courtesy of Danish Design Center)|
But the country's designers are moving into new areas and expect that Hong Kong's Business of Design Week (BODW) next December will bridge the new kinds of demands being put on their skills, particularly in China, and more broadly in Asia. Denmark is to be the partner country for Design Week.
"Our transformation is to promote a different design mindset," said Christina Melander, Project Manager at the Danish Design Center. "We will bring many players behind the designing [to Hong Kong], telling the story of design in different media, including exhibitions, debates, lectures, education programmes, workshops, shows and other events."
Melander said the Hong Kong campaign is part of the Design Society Denmark brand. They'll be working in Hong Kong to identify issues and set up workshops for designing solutions, hopefully with lasting benefits for design and society.
That approach has been evolving since the mid-1990s. Then, the design approach for Danish design emphasised "organic functionalism". This was far removed from the hard, geometrical shapes of international ideas for functional design.
Danish designers were particularly interested in the user and how functionality fitted around people. They focused heavily on user-friendly design work, said Melander, which included respect for materials and an aim for simplification to achieve usefulness and beauty.
"Danish people demand that things work," Melander explained, "so that makes functionality very important in our design. Also, we live in a co-operative society where we jointly find solutions. Nowadays, the trend is that designers work a lot together with other professionals. They have taken more of a facilitator's role."
Evolution in areas such as technology, the economy and society at large have inspired a new generation of designers. Many Danish design firms are launching new, distinctive design. However, the evolution of the Danish design concept is more than that, she said.
"The view on design has transformed from product to process, from purely giving form to adding strategic elements in the innovation processes in both private enterprises and public organisations."
The design focus is changing from the focus of "here-and-now" to a strategic future, Melander believed. Danish design has been infused into different industries.
Examples today include Vestas (wind power), Coloplast (healthcare), Novozymes (biotechnology), Grundfos (manufacturing) and Lego (toy design and manufacturing).
Melander explained: "traditionally, companies have prioritised technology in their businesses, using it as a source of innovation and development. However, in recent years, more and more companies have discovered that design can be an equally important source of innovation. Design helps to identify people's needs and wishes, and how to fulfill them."
According to Melander, a growing trend in Denmark is to involve design in public sector projects, such as when planning a new hospital, improving public spaces and even handling social issues.
from Madelene Kornfehl, Stockholm Consultant
|Business of Design Week (BODW)||Tel: (852) 2522-8688
Fax: (852) 2892-2621
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Web: http://www.bodw.com, http://www.hkdesigncentre.org
|Danish Design Centre (DDC)
Christina Melander, Project Manager for Design and Innovation
|Tel: (45) 33-69-33-31, (45) 33-69-33-69
Fax: (45) 33-69-33-00
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org