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ECO Solidarity 2022 Moves Sustainable Design From Conversation to Implementation

ECO Solidarity 2022 Moves Sustainable Design From Conversation to Implementation

ECO Solidarity returns for 2022 with an exhibition and two talks at WantedDesign Manhattan, May 15-17 at the Javits Center. There’s been plenty of talk in recent years about the role of design in tackling climate change and ideas shared for helping the planet. With initiatives like ECO Solidarity, we are moving from conversation to the implementation of solutions. 

“Placing nature, environment and people at the center of the design and production process and moving from conversation to action and implementing sustainable scenarios should be the design industry’s common goal,” say Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, co-founders of WantedDesign.

“As directors and curators of a major U.S. design event, we have the opportunity to give a voice to those pioneering active, scalable responses to environmental challenges experienced globally and locally. More than ever, ECO Solidarity with its call to action, should find a receptive and engaged audience in New York this May. We are extremely proud to partner with EUNIC and nine of its cultural organizations to present the initiative and projects of talented European studios in New York.”

Sorgi – AHA Objects

ECO Solidarity was initiated in 2020 by the Polish Cultural Institute New York in partnership with WantedDesign and eight European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) organizations as an international, multidisciplinary initiative and movement to address the need for human-centered design in response to global humanitarian and public health crises.

“It is more and more evident that pressures, such as climate change and harmful pollutants, are challenging the health and lives of communities globally,” said Jonsara Ruth, co-founder and Design Director of Parsons Healthy Material Labs. “And it is clearer than ever that designers need to respond and can make a real difference for future generations on our planet.”

The ECO Solidarity initiative aligns with WantedDesign’s dedication to transatlantic connection, bringing concepts from emerging European studios and designers to the US audience, with the aim of the projects finding an echo here for application in the American design and manufacturing industries. The name ECO Solidarity was inspired by the Solidarity social and political movement which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, setting the nations on course toward democracy.

The Third Instance – Atelier Ad Hoc

The exhibition, designed and curated by Deborah Wang, architect and artistic director of DesignTO, and the talks at WantedDesign Manhattan + ICFF bring together a diverse group of design practitioners who explore radical sustainability in architecture, urban planning, product design and development, energy and waste.

Participating designers and studios include: EOOS NEXT (Austria), Herrmann & Coufal (Czech Republic), Livable Platform (Flanders, Belgium), MOYA Birch Bark (Germany), AHA Objects (Malta), NASDRA Conscious Design (Poland), SUSDESIGN Sustainable Design Studio & Consultancy (Portugal), Atelier Ad Hoc (Romania), crafting plastics! studio (Slovakia).

Whether highlighting personal and environmental benefits of DIY (Herrmann & Coufal), transforming construction waste into outdoor furniture that functions as public art and reminds of the loss of significant buildings (AHA Objects), exploring the potential of alternative production materials, bioremediation and bioelectronics (NASDRA Conscious Design) or using design to raise visibility for local knowledge and to foster cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary partnerships (Livable Platform), the participating designers uncover new possibilities and contribute to changing common practices of the design industry and public.

The featured studios explore sustainable design in a range of environments, from the use of public space in European cities (Atelier Ad Hoc) to safe sanitation solutions co-created with craftsmen in South Africa (EOOS NEXT). Materials are invented, developed and repurposed, from birch bark (MOYA) to cork (SUSDESIGN – Sustainable Design Studio & Consultancy) to 3D-printed bioplastics (crafting plastics! studio).

Naked Stool – crafting plastics! studio

“The designers selected for this year’s edition of ECO Solidarity inspire, provoke and delight,” said Simone Rothman, co-founder of FutureAir. “They are intuitive and get that the only way forward is thoughtful, integrative design for a new generation of sustainable products that are useful, enduring, and maybe even carbon negative for both planet and people.”

The ECO Solidarity 2022 Advisory Committee includes Jonsara Ruth, co-founder and Design Director of Parsons Healthy Material Labs; Simone Rothman, co-founder of FutureAir; and Laurence Carr, founder and CEO of Laurence Carr Inc.

Toilet Mould – EOOS NEXT
Herrmann & Coufal
Herrmann & Coufal
UNchain – Livable Platform. Photo credit Aaron Lapeirre

ECO Solidarity Talks at WantedDesign Manhattan and ICFF

Attendees of WantedDesign Manhattan and ICFF will have an opportunity to hear the ECO Solidarity designers share their insights and vision in two informative talks held on the show floor. Talks are open to all fair attendees and the media, with no reservations required.

Sunday, May 15, 11: 30 am.  ECO Solidarity, Part One: Doing It!
Moderated by Simone Rothman, Co-Founder, FutureAir
Presenters: Aha Objects (Malta), Atelier Ad Hoc (Romania), EOOS Next (Austria), Hermann & Coufal (Czech Republic), Livable Platform (Flanders/Belgium)

Monday | May 16, 11:30 am. ECO Solidarity, Part Two: Doing It!
Moderator: Jonsara Ruth, Design Director and Co-Founder, Healthy Materials Lab, Parsons School of Design
Presenters: Crafting Plastics! Studio (Slovakia), Moya Birch Bark (Germany), NASDRA Conscious Design (Poland), SUSDESIGN – Sustainable Design Studio & Consultancy (Portugal). 

Register to attend WantedDesign Manhattan + ICFF, May 15-17, 2022.

MOYA Birch Bark. Photo credit Frieder Reuter
Edible photovoltaic cell – NASDRA Conscious Design
SUSDESIGN cork chairs sustainable design
Forest Chair – SUSDESIGN – Sustainable Design Studio & Consultancy

The 2022 edition is produced and presented in partnership with EUNIC NY, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, including the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in cooperation with Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and Vienna Business Agency, Delegation of Flanders to the USA, Czech Center New York, Goethe-Institut New York, Arts Council Malta in New York, Romanian Cultural Institute New York, Polish Cultural Institute New York, the Consulate General of Portugal in New York/ Camões, I.P., Consulate General of Slovakia in New York, and the European Union Delegation to the United Nations.

By contributing editor Charlene Lam