Objects for a New Kind of Society
Reimagining Urban Futures:
Collaborative Design for a Balanced Tomorrow
In collaboration with London-based futures consultancy The Future Laboratory - Dutch Invertuals reflected on the growth of cities and how it’s impacting wellbeing. With supply chain disruption, stark inequalities between citizens, and a lack of green spaces - the pandemic has shown how fragile cities are. Through ‘Objects for a New Kind of Society’ Invertuals explored how to pivot towards an environment that focuses on a city's flexible living, collective ownership, evolving identities, and nature-focussed initiatives.
‘We need to rethink our relationship with objects and our role as designers within our society’
Designed with ten principles in mind; from rethinking materiality and embracing regenerative principles, to encouraging a deeper understanding of our interconnectedness with nature and empowering communities within a city, selected designers were tasked to design for the future Equilibrium City.
In constant dialogue with members of The Future Laboratory, Dutch Invertuals prompted questions about the health of cities, what new tools to interact with as digital citizens in 2030, how design can ensure truly inclusive architecture and space, and how our future city could harvest energy. Through bi-weekly dialogues, designers in turn came back with references and material experiments focussing on local materials and craftsmanship to built environments, ways to engage a new digitally savvy generation to playfully interact with biodiversity, community-led design as well as challenging ideas on shared ownership.
One of the designers, Johanna Seelemanns combined local materials with ancient wisdom – collaborating with local craftswomen using reed she revived old techniques to reimagine the city’s built environment. Similarly, Elly Feldstein created a table in collaboration with citizens, crafting personal stories within it, aiming to combat loneliness.
Christoph Dichmann in turn employed digital strategies to enhance urban engagement and biodiversity, creating the gamified Butterfly Bridge to disperse seeds and foster urban butterfly growth. Dae uk Kim’s Elektra project, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of intersectional urban spaces and objects challenging heteronormative architecture.
‘In the future we will see a continuous blurring of gender codes, putting into question what we perceive to be masculine or feminine’
– Dae Uk Kim
Anna Resei focussed on nomadic lifestyles, showcasing how her Tele-nomadic Sheltering Unit would support travel, be easy to repair, and be connected globally.
Dutch Invertuals and The Future Laboratory joining forces showcased how insights can deepen designers’ practice, influencing new directions for Dutch Invertuals such as explored in Expedition Aequalis.
Team Dutch Invertuals
Elena Genesio – Concept and communications
Honor Newman – Project management
Esther Severijns – Business management
Anne Pieterse – Production
Edhv, Architects of Identity
Team The Future Laboratory
Britt Berden – Art direction
Kathryn Bishop – Foresight editor
Savannah Scott – Creative research
Edhv, Architects of Identity
Dae Uk Kim
Campaign images and digital exhibition
Dutch Design Foundation