A new exhibition at Het Nieuwe Instituut highlights disruptive design ideas in pursuit of an equitable society through immersive installations
Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam has opened a new semi-permanent exhibition, Designing the Social, which explores 100 years of socially driven ideas about living together. The featured design strategies were born from both practicality and idealism, generated in pursuit of a more equitable society. The exhibition looks at how design over the last century in the Netherlands has represented divergent world views and values, provoked radical change and tackled the major social challenges of its time.
Long before the concept of ‘social design’ became prominent, design strategies were devised by professionals, citizens and activists alike to bring about social change. The exhibition asks: how has design contributed to new forms of living, working and communication, and to an inclusive and participatory society?
The exhibition takes the visitor through a sequence of scenes from social history in immersive installations. It presents, among other things: the ‘minimum dwelling’ concept of standardising housing quality; the socio-economic experiment around weaving mill De Ploeg, a cooperative producing household textiles; design strategies from 1960s feminism; the squatters’ movement as spatial practice; and the digital public space created by De Digitale Stad, a freenet initiative of cultural centre De Balie. New themes will be added to the exhibition as it evolves.
The first phase of the project features interpretations and installations by Uta Eisenreich and Johanna Himmelsbach, Rudy Guedj, Simone C Niquille, Tabea Nixdorff, Arvand Pourabbassi and Golnar Abbasi, and Farida Sedoc.
Photography by Aad Hoogendoorn