Thursday, 5 May 2011

A Redraft of Dublin

(One of 30 Pivot Dublin covers, designed by Conor Swanton)

I've just spent a chunk of this afternoon watching the videos on the Pivot Dublin website. Made to accompany Dublin city's bid to be designated 2014 World Design Capital, they communicate some of the ideas that have both led to and developed from Dublin City Council's decision to put the city in the running for WDC. Dublin's entry into this international competition (for want of a better word for it) not only causes you to question what it is or what it could be that makes a city a design capital (does a city have to have a longstanding tradition in design to be a design capital?) but reminds you of the first principles of design (working out of necessity, problem-solving, encouraging change) and elucidates how and why design might be applied across all scales for the good of a city and its inhabitants. From any conversations I've heard or been part of since Pivot Dublin began to develop, and indeed from many of the conversations that have been happening for the past two years in Ireland, it's become clear that Ireland and its capital city are at a pivotal point: the ways of being before now don't work anymore and many facets of our economy and society need to be rethought (or redesigned). Pivot Dublin embodies this need and offers the opportunity (and the 'permission' - an interesting word that got used in all of the filmed conversations that accompany the bid) to redraft Dublin and redesign our daily lives. Perhaps being a design capital doesn't mean producing a lot of design professionals, maybe it means applying design to make the city work better and feel happier.

The short films made by Areaman for the bid take two forms: conversations and dialogue. The conversations take place in three different homes, where groups of people involved in design and the arts discuss place, well-being and systems; each of which are products of, enablers of and sometimes stumbling blocks to design. The dialogue (an excerpt of which is below) is an opportunity for a number of people to answer, and then ask, questiions about Dublin and design. If you get the chance, they're worth a watch. Some very interesting ideas come out of them, and I think they show the extent of the potential Pivot Dublin has to change modes of thinking and ways of doing.