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How do you envision the society of the future?

05 October 2021

5 min. to read

How can design help in finding solutions to major social issues? To find out, five years ago, Dutch Design Foundation initiated the annual round programme World Design Embassies. Upcoming Dutch Design Week (DDW), you can visit eight different thematic Embassies, in which we explore the society of the future together with designers and partners. What can you expect to see there? The curators will tell you!
The Exploded View: Beyond Building
Β© Company New Heroes

Embassy of Circular & Biobased building

In the future, will vegetables grow from your walls? Will your kitchen be made from leftovers? And will your doors be mainly constructed from algae? The Embassy of Circular and Biobased Building is all about sustainable building. In this interview, curator Lucas De Man of Company New Heroes talks about circular materials, construction methods, and their philosophy: “Many people are now focusing on wood as a sustainable material, but there are so many more possibilities. Consider making walls out of sustainable, cement-free concrete, hemp, or bacteria." Sustainable construction is more than just the building. It is about our value system and about the change that will take place. Upcoming DDW, you can set foot in the house located right in the middle of Ketelhuisplein. The Exploded View: Beyond Building is more than a house made of circular materials. It’s the start of a renewed value system.

Β© Bernard Hermant

Embassy of Food

What can we expect from the supermarket of the future? And what kind of food will you be able to buy there? That is what the Embassy of Food is researching. The production and consumption of food will change, the curator of the Embassy, Chloé Rutzerveld, is convinced of that. We will have to discover in the coming years exactly how these changes will take shape. Food designers and innovators play a crucial role in this because they dare to think different. In this interview, Chloé says: “We can see with partners such as Albert Heijn that the consumer is the starting point in the food transition. But how long should we continue to pamper consumers?” she wonders. “Now the transition is going very slowly because the customer is always king. We could also say that the old food doesn't exist anymore; this is the new food. If we want to move forward with technology and make food more sustainable, fair, healthy, and environmentally and animal-friendly, we have to take more radical steps.” Why don’t we create new (fantasy) animals, for example?

Want to learn more about this topic? Join the Embassy of Food Conference on Thursday 22 October.

Embassy of Health

How do we ensure a healthy society, now and in the future? That's a vast question to which there is no definite answer. The Embassy of Health is investigating the possibilities. It will not only concern the healthcare sector but also society as a whole. “Everyone must and can commit to their health and that of others. However, that does not mean that everything suddenly must change completely,” says Embassy curator Jetske van Oosten in this interview. “Sometimes it's the little things.” “Purely saying that someone should live a healthier life has never made anyone healthier,” says Van Oosten. “The transition of healthcare requires a different approach. For example, it is important to start a conversation and see what we really think is important. That can also vary from person to person. Just because someone is physically healthy does not mean that someone feels healthy. And vice versa, of course.” 'Chronically healthy' is the title of the Embassy of Health exhibition. The name refers – with a wink – to the increasing number of chronic diseases. Because what is normal? No one is 100 per cent healthy.

Want to learn more about this topic? Come to the Embassy of Health Conference on Friday 22 October.

Β© Studio Corvers

Embassy of Inclusive Society

How inclusive are you? Black Lives Matter, a burnt rainbow flag, #MeToo, something is going on in society. In response, WDE created the Embassy of Inclusive Society in the past year. It is a plea for a more diverse design field. In this interview, Embassy curator Jorn Konijn explains that the Dutch design field is often a masculine world of Western European, white, highly educated men. "A designer designs for a wide range of people. The question is to what extent these designers can always empathise with these different groups in society." The Embassy shows how designers are already working on this changing society and what can still be gained. "At the same time, we want to attract a more inclusive audience to DDW." How then, you ask? In the middle of the exhibition, you will find a fully functioning hair salon, often located at the heart of a community, and this year at the heart of DDW. Every day, a different hairdresser from Eindhoven moves its salon to Ketelhuisplein. Thanks to the designed experience of social designer Manon van Hoeckel, you will not only walk away with a new haircut but also with new insights into inclusiveness. Are you cut out for it?

Embassy of Mobility

The pandemic has forced us to reconsider mobility. How can it positively contribute to the liveability of a city? And to the environment? These questions are critical to the Embassy of Mobility. "These times allow us to go back to the drawing board and completely redesign mobility," says Embassy curator Rob Adams, in this interview. "Previously, the car was central to urban planning. As a result, the car now owns 70 to 80 per cent of the space." Think of roads, but also of parking spaces, for example. "In the average residential area, you first have a road, then a strip of parking spaces, and then there's a little room at the edges for walking or cycling. It should be the other way round. People should be at the heart of mobility design. Not only for the improvement of today's society but also future generations. "We want to leave the world in good condition, and healthy mobility plays an important role in this," says the curator.

Want to learn more about this topic? Come to the Embassy of Mobility conference on Wednesday 20 October.

Plantbased paint
Β© Fairf

Embassy of Rethinking Plastic

Plastic. It's an environmental problem, but at the same time, it is indispensable. We use it for medical products, in cars and the paint on our walls. We cannot simply ignore plastic. “People quickly think of a doomsday scenario in which plastic is primarily the problem, but it is also an opportunity,” says Embassy curator Leonne Cuppen in this interview. “To see that opportunity, we need to look at plastic differently.” During DDW, the Embassy of Rethinking Plastic will show what is possible to do with plastic in a surprising and stimulating way, how to deal with it better, and the possible alternatives.

Embassy of Safety

"We live in a time in which we get tangled up in many complicated issues," says Tabo Goudswaard, curator of the Embassy of Safety. "Also within the security domain." Such as the undermining effect of young people getting into drug dealing or the increasing risks online. 'Surprising safety' is the result of the police, Dutch probation service and the Public Prosecution Service (OM) working together with- among others- designers and artists. " New and surprising parties will contribute, as well as existing parties who will show surprising behaviour."

Want to learn more about this topic? Come to the Embassy of Safety conference on Tuesday 19 October.

Embassy of Water

Water, we often take it for granted. We turn on the tap, and it flows out. Sometimes water causes a 'nuisance' or leads to disaster, such as this summer. We protect ourselves from the water. “We prefer to dispose of it as quickly as possible,” says Embassy curator Anouk van der Poll in this interview. “Drought is a much bigger problem. We need to look at water differently, let ourselves be amazed by water and stop taking it for granted. ”For example, we have known for 30 years that we can flush our toilets with rainwater, but why don't we do it?" In the Embassy of Water, we want to rethink our relationship with water. "Just so that we start looking at water again and see how special it is, something that we should cherish."

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