Written by Darrel Ronald

ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam – Space and Place

ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam – Space and Place by Darrel Ronald


Experimenta Design is an existing festival from Lisbon that has been invited to Amsterdam for the first time starting this September (2008). With a great line-up of events and conferences, the festival is very promising. The Droof Event 2: Urban Play aims to attack the streets of Amsterdam with urban interventions. And of course, any reason to visit Amsterdam is great.

About the festival:

After 4 successful editions in its native Lisbon, ExperimentaDesign, the international Biennale dedicated to design, architecture and contemporary culture, was invited by the City of Amsterdam to branch out to the Dutch Capital. As a result of this, ExperimentaDesign will now take place in alternating years in Lisbon and Amsterdam, each with different programmes.

In 2008, Amsterdam hosts its first edition of the Biennale, from 18 September to 2 November, under the theme Space and Place – Design for the Urban Landscape.

ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008 highlights urban culture as the playground for the global citizen. The world’s cities are not only home to over half of the world’s population, they are also a metaphor for today’s cultures and a testing ground for new forms of conviviality and interaction. Throughout its three core exhibitions, the Biennale turns the spotlight on innovative urban design as a process of social action, exchanges and experiment.

As in previous editions of the Biennale, ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008 promises to set the city’s pulse racing with a challenging, multidisciplinary programme that combines exhibitions, urban interventions, lectures and debates. For over a month and a half, the Dutch Capital will be host to a fresh selection of international talent, buzzing with playfulness, interactivity and creative energy.

During the Opening Week – from 18 to 21 September – Amsterdam is the ultimate place to be, as the Biennale launches with four days of lively exchange of ideas held in emblematic venues throughout the city.

About the theme – Space and Place: Designing for the Urban Landscape:

For the first time in history the earth’s population is more urban than rural. This means that for most people on this planet, the city has become their natural habitat. When in this context we speak of growth and blossom, terrain and flow, or use other natural metaphors, we speak in fact of engineering, architecture and design. We talk about the city as a landscape, that we have created ourselves and continue to shape.

Shaping a place is as much about imagining it as it is about building. Look at a child playing and you can recognize an arch-instinct shared by all living beings. Stepping over an imaginary line, and closing a virtual door behind him, the child says: now I’m in my home. If he has only sticks and stones to play with, he will use these to demarcate the difference between inside and outside, between a place and its surrounding space.

In design for the urban landscape, such symbolism meets the existential needs of the city’s inhabitants, who use it to define their habitat as a place to be. ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008 focuses on the new urgency with which we consider urban public space. We highlight the latest strategies for enhancing public places as theater of public conviviality. From informal – and sometimes illegal – interventions which reclaim the street as the meeting place for independent citizens, to proposals by architects and designers to develop the city’s public space as a playground for social interaction. Plus reflections on how to transform a neutral space into an individual place by an international range of cutting-edge designers.

ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008 invites designers, architects and other creatives from all over the world to meet their audiences in one of the finest urban playgrounds of all: the city of Amsterdam.

  Comments ( 1 )

  1. […] For many design­ers and artists, they will already be famil­iar with some of the work. And for many of us, we’ve already been involved with our own DIY actions for many years. In this regard, the exhi­bi­tion is espe­cially impor­tant in its pre­sen­ta­tion of these largely hidden actions to the greater public. In com­pil­ing the 99 works together under themes such as: Excess, Choice, Fric­tions, Guer­rilla, Plan­ning Smarter and Shar­ing; the public finds their own worlds recon­tex­tu­al­ized through an optic of change and imag­i­na­tion. This is hugely impor­tant to soci­ety, that an atti­tude of DIY per­me­ates through­out or col­lec­tive con­scious so that our daily lives become more cre­ative. In essence, this is a con­tem­po­rary stim­u­la­tion of the inner ten­den­cies that many avant-​garde urban utopias, such as Constant’s New Baby­lon (images) project, and the Sit­u­a­tion­ist’s Dérive cham­pi­oned. His work, based on the­o­ries of Homo Ludens, now finds itself in nearly all urban exhibits around the world, most recently in Ams­ter­dam (related arti­cle). […]

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