While “design” is often lauded as part of the solution when it comes to “solving our world’s most pressing social challenges”, it’s clear that many of its’ lazy or compliant applications can also serve to reinforce our worst social habits or pathological relationships with nature. Predatory apps, obsolete or addictive gadgets, unsustainable cities, even floating plastic landfills in the Pacific Ocean — all of these were “designed” either as reasonable or unintended responses to a design brief, “solving for x”.
As an alternative to mainstream design culture “optimising” for pre-determined outcomes, Speculative Design is a method which helps us frame different questions, expand the space of possibility and propose more appropriate design interventions across more appropriate timeframes, scales and disciplines. This workshop asks how trans-disciplinary designers can work with various speculatively to communicate more ambitious, ambiguous and open-ended concepts to wider and less conventional audiences.
Working in small groups (2-3 people), participants will create atypical speculative design urban briefs and produce unexpected proposals in narrative or cinematic formats.
In producing these, groups will:
- Learn about speculative design and a range of creative and generative design frameworks
- Prototype scenarios and extrapolate initial research and insights into bold propositions
- Storyboard, script, edit and present a final design pitch
The workshop aims to develop participants’ design and communication skills, presenting a range of precedent projects and examples actively redefining the “urban” in relation to unconventional scales and already-existing but overlooked realities.
Participants will also learn concrete and applied ideation methods:
- The articulation of a research-driven hypothesis;
- The staging and editing of a design concept or response;
- The visual synthesis and delivery of a compelling design proposition.
The participants will also learn to strategically combine theory with various software tools such as tools for modelling (Rhino), 2D and 3D compositing (Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D) and editing (Adobe Premiere) in order to weave a strong cohesive design argument.
As a result of the workshop each group will produce a 5 minute design pitch and a 1 minute cinematic trailer.
Nicolay Boyadjiev is an architect, design strategist, and the Design and Education tutor of The New Normal programme at Strelka Institute. He has taught at many academic institutions including the HSE in Moscow, McGill SoA in Montreal, KADK in Copenhagen and IAAC in Barcelona, as well as the internationally based Digital Earth fellowship for research and experimentation. Before TNN at Strelka he was a researcher in the “Hybrid Urbanism” education programme, where his 2016 speculative design project Google Urbanism was featured among the finalists of the Fast Company 2017 “World Changing Ideas” awards.
Don Toromanoff is an architect based in Canada and Sweden, and a recent graduate of The New Normal programme. He holds a Master of Architecture from McGill University. Most recently, he was part of the design team at Pelletier de Fontenay Architects, where he participated in numerous international competitions, namely Place des Montréalaises with Bureau Bas Smets. His own research investigates transport and infrastructure, energy use in Nordic countries and architectural visualisation. He has been invited critic at MIT School of Architecture + Planning.
The “Design (as) Designation” workshop is an opportunity to extend the concept of “Speculative Design” further out of the realm of representation and critique in the art gallery context and into more practical applications.
The workshop will begin with a lecture about the notion and value of speculative design in the current context, whilst also initiating a discussion on the relevance and strategic application of various ideation techniques, explored through examples and short exercises. On the second day participants will collaborate to work on their final design propositions and projected outcomes through tailored tutorials.
Participants should have strong interests in design, technology, urbanism and storytelling. No prior experience with software is necessary but if participants have done 3D modelling, video editing or presentation design this will be advantageous.
Please make sure you bring a laptop with all standard design software pre-installed (Adobe Suite + modelling software as minimum requirements). A preliminary reading list, extended brief and schedule will be sent a week before the course.
The workshop will be held in English. Please note that translation will not be provided.
This workshop is part of a 4-workshop series based on the experience within The New Normal speculative design programme and think-tank. Each of the workshops introduces participants to new ideas, concepts and skills and provides a glimpse into The New Normal and education at Strelka. The workshops will range from a theoretical seminar to film & fiction, VR and a speculative design charrette.
Participants of three workshops will have a discount price of 6000rub for all, and 8000rub if you choose to participate in all 4 workshops.
Apply before August 13. Please note that the number of participants is limited. Contact Strelka's producer Artur Safonov at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.