A transformation of the hand-free umbrella Nubrella devised for the safety of delivery workers, sweepers, police officers, reporters and others who contact people frequently. (COVID19 Design Challenge)
The annual Herald Design Forum, hosted by Herald Corp., has entered its 10th year. Having started with the intriguing title “Design changes the world” in 2011, the design forum has connected the insights of world-renowned design gurus, and inspired many who believe in the power of design for the past decade. Seeking to become the Davos Forum of the art and design world, the Herald Design Forum has grown into Asia’s largest design knowledge platform.
At this year’s design forum, we look back on the past 10 years, and think about the coming decade. The unexpected COVID-19 epidemic has completely changed our lives. Airplanes are grounded, and factories have stopped. The virus that spreads through humans restricts our activities. No more business meetings, schools or gatherings with families and people we love. But just because we can’t physically meet with people, our lives should not and cannot be stopped. We buy groceries and meet loved ones online. We care for others and wear masks. Things that we never imagined before are taking place as part of the new normal.
A draft image for a mask-wearing campaign to be used on Facebook and Instagram (COVID19 Design Challenge)
The design forum will also be held virtually this year, for the first time. The ideas, wisdom and insights from the speakers will provide new perspectives on life in a contact-free society. The essence of design, which is to reflect human lives and social values, has become ever more important.
In March, when the whole world was going into lockdown, one country after another, designers faced a single question: “What kind of work can designers do in a pandemic era?” The COVID-19 Design Challenge, a collaboration of the World Design Organization, IBM Design and Design for America, began from this question.
“In times of crisis, design enables collective action to make the greatest impact,” they said, suggesting that designers help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and overcome the pandemic through design-oriented thinking. Each organization gathered more than 180 projects based on the question “What do you think are the most important and urgent challenges that designers could help to address regarding the coronavirus crisis?” Over 225 designers from 33 countries took part in the challenge by offering prototypes and solutions.
They collected ideas for five project initiatives – awareness and communications; essential workers; vulnerable communities; remote learning; and healthy habits. The outcomes included a “Wear a Mask” image of Mona Lisa; information on how to stay connected with vulnerable communities such as senior citizens or non-salaried workers; and uniquely-designed personal protective equipment for frontline workers that create physical distance without causing claustrophobia or scarring on the face.
The power of design is needed more than ever. Even if COVID-19 goes away, the era of pandemics will not have ended, and the new normal is already here. The next 10 years and beyond will depend on what actions we take now.
This year’s forum will deal with a wide range of topics from architecture, fashion and art, to life engineering, media design, advertising design and urban development. Following a congratulatory speech from Richard Armstrong, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, one of the world’s most innovative design and art galleries, acclaimed industrial designer Ron Arad will give a keynote speech. Hans Ulrich Obrist, world-famous curator and artistic director at the Serpentine Galleries in London, and Tomas Saraceno, an artist known for participating in the “Connect, BTS” project, will talk about the future of design, based on their own experiences.
Our lineup of Korean speakers this year is also more glamorous than ever. Architect Kim Chan-joong; creative director Jung Kuho; D’strict CEO Lee Sung-ho; Dolphiners Films CEO Shin Woo-seok; and Z_Lab architect Noh Kyung-rok will share their views, philosophies and ideas.
The real-time webinars of this year’s design forum will be conducted in collaboration with video technology startup Jocoos, which will provide seamless video streaming and enable real-time communication between the speakers and the audience.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org