Design exhibitions to visit before the end of the year

A rich programme invites design enthusiasts to rediscover old chapters of a still lively history of design or to question the future through speculative narratives.

Design exhibitions are usually an opportunity to discover or rediscover periods, figures, or movements that have contributed to exemplary thinking and the production of exceptional artefacts. The exhibitions of some of the most important museums devoted to design go precisely in this direction, from the Design Museum London, which offers us an articulate overview of surrealist production from its origins to the present day, to the MAD in Paris, which brings back the French 80s and their cutting-edge approach.

Alongside the focus on the past, however, the desire to investigate future themes and trends seems to be seeping in more and more. The climate crisis, utopian and dystopian futures, robots, and digital interfaces are the themes at the centre of the investigations promoted by many museums in Europe and the United States. The future even peeks out through two exhibitions – “The future is present” at the Design Museum Copenhagen and “What if? Alternative futures”, Design Museum Helsinki – calling upon design to imagine speculative scenarios. Other exhibitions look at automation and increasing digitisation – “Hello Robot. Design between Human and Machine” at Vitra Design Museum and “Never Alone, Video Games and Other Interactive Design” at MoMA NY – to question the increasingly close relationships that smart interfaces and objects are establishing with human users.

Together with these themes, there is no lack of unexpected research paths. This is the case of the exhibition “Les Mots Voyageurs at La Condition Publique in Roubaix” (France), a linguistic investigation together with a graphic translation of certain words generated by the crasis and exchange between different languages and cultures. An invitation to turn graphic design into an investigation and restoration tool firmly anchored in the present and to a rediscovered desire for inclusiveness.

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