Designers in Residence 2019: Cosmic
Designers in Residence is a core part of the museum's programme. It has two main aims: to provide designers in the early stages of their careers, time and space away from their regular environment to develop their practice and produce new work, and to offer museum visitors an opportunity to engage with live design projects.
Located on the museum’s top floor, see the designers in action and find out what they are working on. Following their seven-month residency, the finished projects will be displayed in a collective showcase.
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Today designers are engaged in shaping life at every scale, from the micro to the macro. At one end of the spectrum, they use gene editing software and synthetic biology to develop biological parts and systems. At the other end, designers also collaborate with scientists and engineers to address planetary scale problems, such as designing for the Anthropocene – or, indeed, inter-planetary ones, such as space travel. The growing ambition to reach Mars – explored in the Design Museum's upcoming Mars exhibition – has opened a debate about the human colonisation of untouched planets. This cosmic scale of activity brings design into contact with science, ecology and the supernatural, and raises questions about what it means to be human. There are issues of under-representation here, with movements like afro-futurism imagining a more inclusive future. Meanwhile, the use of astrology, crystals, and meditation highlight our spiritual desire to believe in something ‘bigger’ than ourselves.
Designers were encouraged to interpret the brief as openly as possible.
Meet the residents
Mále Uribe Forés is exploring the surface of materials as a medium to create alternative narratives and worlds. Mále will use the residency to explore spatial surfaces as cosmic portals which help us to consider some of the complex systems surrounding human and environmental issues.
Marta Giralt will demistify the universe of nanotechnology. Working to develop a series of physical and digital artefacts which show how graphene (a material developed by nanotechnology) is created and the way it functions at a nano scale. By ‘making the invisible visible’, Marta’s project will enable the public to explore this microscopic cosmic world in an interactive and intuitive way.
Robert Johnson will examine ‘waste’ materials that can be reformatted and revalued. Identifying fat as a powerful resource that is often misused in our society, Robert’s project, ‘Fatconomy’, offers us a more sustainable future.
Stiliyana Minkovska will use the residency to challenge society’s perspective on child birth, exploring how we can make the experience more human centred. By developing an alternative environment for child birth, Stiliyana will create a cosmic birthing experience for expectant mothers making pregnancy and childbirth more wellbeing centred and less clinical.