Victor Papanek: The Politics of Design

By Magdalena Obmalko

Victor Papanek “The Politics of Design” has recently opened to the public at the Barcelona Design Museum in corporation with the Vitra Design Museum, in collaboration with the Victor J. Papanek Foundation, University of Applied Arts Vienna. The touring exhibition presents the first large retrospective focussing on the designer, author and activist Victor J. Papanek (1923–1998). Papanek was a pioneer in the exploration of socially and ecologically oriented design and dealing with complex themes such as global climate change, fluid gender identities, consumer behaviour, or the economic realities of migration.

Faber Futures will display Project Coelicolor: Assemblage 001, the world’s first garment dyed by bacteria from the 2017 Faber Futures x Ginkgo Bioworks collaboration. Our contribution highlights the value of biodesign as a tool for political transformation and redesign of production chains. Victor Papanek “The Politics of Design“ brings together around twenty carefully selected contemporary works that transport Papanek’s ideas into the twenty-first century by designers including Catherine Sarah Young, Forensic Architecture, Jim Chuchu, Tomás Saraceno and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.

The exhibition commences on the 31st of October 2019 and closes on the 2nd of February 2020. Get your tickets here.

If you cannot make it a good flip through his book Design for the Real World (1971) might do the trick. Papanek’s book is still considered to be the most widely read book on design.


Exhibition tournée dates:

C-Mine Genk, Belgium
3 March 202024 May 2020

Design Museum Barcelona, Spain
31 October 2019 – 2 February 2020

Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein, Germany
29 September 2018 – 10 March 2019



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