«Urgent Legacy»: How is the Swiss design scene shaping the future?
At the Milano Design Week 2023, the Swiss design scene shows how it is dealing with pressing issues of our time. The group exhibition «Urgent Legacy» brings together emerging designers, independent studios, established brands as well as education and research institutions at the «House of Switzerland». This platform, located in Casa degli Artisti, is organised by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Presence Switzerland in cooperation with numerous partners.
The inclusion of «House of Switzerland» in this April’s Fuorisalone 2023 follows on to the successful collaboration between Pro Helvetia and Presence Switzerland together with other partners in 2022. «The House gives each partner individual scope while concentrating interests and means on a common goal, which is to raise the international visibility of the Swiss design scene. More than 100 applicants responded to the «Urgent Legacy» open call for applications. This high level of interest underscores the significance of this joint venture» explains Jérôme Benoit, deputy director of Pro Helvetia.
Exhibition «Urgent Legacy»: Tomorrow’s solutions need today’s actions
The exhibition entitled «Urgent Legacy» shows how the design scene is facing up to the challenges of our times. What kind of social responsibility does design bear? What does it mean to produce less, to review local production, to strive for autonomy in the supply chain and in production processes, to improve co-creation with partners, and to reduce one’s environmental footprint? The exhibition presents innovative and sustainable answers to such questions and invites audiences to discuss these issues directly with the designers involved.
Alexandre Edelmann, interim Head of Presence Switzerland, puts it as follows: «Design is a field that is important in terms of innovation and artistic impact, and it currently faces numerous challenges in connection with global developments, particularly regarding sustainability. During the Milano Design Week, Milan becomes the world capital of design, attracting all the good and the great in the field. Establishing a joint platform here that enhances the visibility of the Swiss design scene and of Swiss innovation in general gives a substantial boost to the positioning of our country.»
The «House of Switzerland» provides a space in which individual approaches to the «Urgent Legacy» topic can be showcased and the entire ecosystem of Swiss design production is represented. The aim of the three-year initiative is to offer participants an international stage, to forge contacts with other industry players and to reach new audiences.
Confirmed designers and exhibitors
All exhibitors were nominated by an independent jury made up of renowned specialists (Johanna Agerman Ross/London, Valentina Ciuffi/Milan, Nolan Giles/London, Cecilie Manz/Copenhagen). The projects and design ideas involved reveal essential qualities of functional aesthetics and also contribute to the design of a more resilient and sustainable world.
The nominees comprise emerging designers and independent studios. They are supplemented by a curated selection of brands as well as institutions from the worlds of education and research. The represented brands and education and research institutions also make a major contribution to the costs of their presence at the «House of Switzerland».
The exhibits are presented to the public under the artistic direction of Adeline Mollard (Zurich/Switzerland), with visual communication and scenography provided by Work Matter (Lausanne/Switzerland) and Sara Bastai (Porto/Portugal).
Designers and design studios
- Alena Halmes Design (Alena Halmes)
- Alix Arto
- Emma Casella
- Léon Félix
- Gradient Atelier (Nadia El-Hindi, Swann Fardel, Aurore Péry)
- Paula Cermeño León
- Studio Carolien Niebling (Carolien Niebling)
- Studio Marthins (Erika Marthins)
- Studio Topo (Moritz Gysi, Linus Maurmann, David Walsh)
- ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne
- ETH Zurich
- HEAD – Geneva University of Art and Design
- Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst FHNW
«House of Switzerland» 2023
This year’s Milano Design Week (Fuorisalone) takes place from 17 to 23 April. The «House of Switzerland» is located in Casa degli Artisti, in the middle of Brera, a vibrant district of Milan. «House of Switzerland» is a joint project run by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Presence Switzerland in partnership with Switzerland Global Enterprise/Swiss Business Hub Italy and the Swiss Design Association, with the support of Bally and the Ikea Foundation Switzerland.
Photo credit – Image treatment: Sara Bastai / Graphic Design: Adeline Mollard
Press release by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, 14 February 2023