For five whole days the organisers of the DMY Festival invited designers and a specialist public from all over the world to a colourful design spectacle by the Spree.
We were impressed this year by DMY Berlin in its role as a presenter and communicator of design. The DMY has now achieved a credible position as a pure design event, without leaving the unpleasant after-taste of being simply a product trade fair in disguise. With an enormous increase in the number of exhibitors and a much wider programme of events the festival has escaped from its ‘new kid on the block’ image, and has established itself as a well-curated platform for progressive design concepts.
Focusing the exhibition on two main locations this year has proved itself to be a good decision, with the DMY Youngsters show at the Arena in Treptow for the first time being supplemented by an exhibition featuring the DMY Allstars at the IMA Design Village, an old brick factory in the heart of Berlin Kreuzberg. Here 150 more or less established designers, related festivals and curated exhibitions -for example Designhuis from the Netherlands –presented their creations. In the Arena up-and-coming designers and schools of design showed their works on a generous area of 7000 m². The size of the area provided plenty of space for extensive installations and created an inspiring atmosphere — giving it a decisive advantage over the effective but less original Milan ‘box system’ of the Salone Satellite. Another attractive feature was the refreshing mixture of established and up-and-coming designers, which rather undermined the differentiation between Allstars and Youngsters. As a result it was difficult to define specific differences between the two locations.
The attraction of the festival in terms of content was accentuated above all by a well chosen accompanying program: the DMY Symposium in the slightly shabby but all the more charming ‘Kunstfabrik’ included lectures, roundtable discussions and workshops led by prestigious designers such as Chris Bangle, Arik Levy and the well-known trend researcher Li Edelkoort, who had previously surveyed the work of the Youngsters in the Arena. One thematic focus of the symposium was ‘Alternative Strategies’. On this subject, for example, the designer Jerszy Seymour, a resident of Berlin, explained his almost ‘situationist’ interpretation of product design. With his often improvised and amateurishly implemented objects the Canadian calls into question the mechanisms of industrial production techniques. The Israeli designer Ronen Kadushin responded to the challenge of finding alternative design strategies with his interdisciplinary concept of ‘open design’, in which he transfers to product design the open source idea — in other words the global and creative cooperation among designers, manufacturers and dealers.