The power of 106 events with 400 national and international labels in 30 days – those are the figures describing Design Month Graz, which opened on May 10. Still, there is so much more to this event: a selection of the best posters addressing the topic of death in a humorous way, an international expert conference organized by the International Council of Design (ico-D), an exhibition that, like a global marketplace, showcases design products from 7 UNESCO Cities of Design, and an interesting exchange with the inspiring UNESCO City of Design Istanbul, which transforms the river Mur in the Bosporus for three days – just to mention a few examples of what to expect.
From May 11 to June 9, 2019, the international interest in design will once again focus on Graz, when for the 11th time, people get the chance to immerse in good, intelligent and sustainable design. For design does not wish to shine on the surface, but it wants to dig deep. The festival is the perfect proof by displaying Styrian design approaches and guests from Istanbul to Saint-Étienne to Mexico City and Puebla. Internationality and versatility form the cornerstones of the extensive program featuring 106 events. For 30 days, Graz bundles its creative power as a hot spot in terms of good design.
Within the community of UNESCO Creative Cities, Graz enjoys a good reputation as an unconventional source of ideas and an excellent networking organization. This can be seen and felt everywhere during Design Month Graz – thus two of the most active cities, Graz and Montreal, developed the format “World Wide Things” to accelerate the exchange between the cities. Now Istanbul, Mexico City, Singapore and many other cities are actively involved in the program.
The centre of Design Month Graz can be found right in the heart of the city: Key events such as the poster exhibition “To Death with a Smile” are shown at Joanneumsviertel. The exhibition “World Wide Things Collection” is displayed at Neue Galerie, just like the collection “Village Chairs” by architect and designer Carlo Malerba from the UNESCO City of Design Turin. The “Istanbul Design Collection” settles at designforum Styria and the Murinsel stages the cooperation with Istanbul
The creative industries as a significant economic factor
“Styria is well known for its strong creative industries far beyond its borders. They have become a significant economic factor and today, there are 4,400 active creative companies in Styria, which corresponds to around nine percent of all regional companies. Each year, these companies generate sales of 1.7 billion Euros and employ more than 16,000 people,” says Minister of Economy Barbara Eibinger-Miedl and thus emphasizes the impact of the local creative industries for our state.
Active partner in the UNESCO network
“Within the last years, Graz has earned an excellent reputation as an international creative city and is a strong partner in the network of UNESCO Creative Cities. This is the result of intensive networking, which is visible every year during Design Month Graz. When guests from all over the world revisit Graz this year, they do not only expect an exciting program, but also a modern metropolis characterized by tolerance and respect as well as variety and diversity,” says Mayor Siegfried Nagl.
Questioning traditional positions: “With the focus Women & Designs, Design Month Graz creates a platform to deal with the difficult contexts of the topic in terms of design, question traditional positions and break up firm and deadlocked attitudes,” says Eberhard Schrempf, Managing Director of Creative Industries Styria and the organizer of Design Month Graz. “Design for sure does not care about stereotypes. They remain subject to trivial, mediocre superficiality whereas design, on the other hand, digs deep.”
Hosts for the ico-D expert conference: As part of Design Month Graz, Graz hosts a top-class expert conference: the international Council of Design (ico-D) is an international umbrella organization comprising designers, national design associations and educational institutions for design. In May, Creative Industries Styria and Graz, as a UNESCO City of Design, host the special meeting that strengthens the international design community and supports inter-entity collaboration.
Highlights of Design Month Graz 2019
To Death with a Smile: Launched 14 years ago by the Mexican design museum MUMEDI, the contest calls on designers from all over the world to deal with the topic of “death”. For us death is a thoroughly masculine concept, from the Grim Reaper to “Gevatter Tod” to the hangman, but in other cultures, like Mexico for example, “La muerte” is a female character. The results of the competition are quite surprising posters, of which a selection of the 106 best posters will be exhibited during Design Month Graz at Lesliehof. The poster exhibition goes even further: it is dedicated exclusively to the female view of death as all showcased works were created by female artists.
World Wide Things Collection: A unique collection becomes the marketplace of global creativity, accelerating the exchange of ideas, designs and products between the UNESCO Cities of Design through Hyperloop networking. Due to the “World Wide Things Collection”, Graz is not only the venue of an impressive exhibition, but also the portal for a world trip in terms of design. During Design Month Graz 120 design products from the UNESCO Cities of Design network will be displayed at Neue Galerie. Each of the objects by 100 designers from the 7 UNESCO Cities of Design Istanbul, Puebla, Mexico City, Detroit, Saint-Etienne, Singapore and Graz was designed, conceptualised or manufactured in one of the cities and displays an authentic relationship to the region of origin.
World Wide Things Collection | May 11 to June 9, Tues – Sun 10.00 – 17.00, Wed 10.00 – 20.00 | Neue Galerie Graz, Joanneumsviertel
Getting to know the design scene of Istanbul: Design Month Graz impressively stages the inspiration related to the UNESCO City of Design Istanbul in Graz. As a result of many years of Creative Industries Styria’s networking, the focus is manifested in several highlights:
During a three-day program on the Murinsel, the event “Istanbul @ Murinsel Graz” guarantees that interested visitors can really get to know Istanbul’s design scene. The format “Design Talks” hosts representatives of various design institutions who share their knowledge on design. Additionally, there are different workshops in which participants become acquainted with Turkish craftsmanship and local art. The design competition “Creathoncity” is an ideas competition focusing on “Bicycle Design” and everything related to the topic of cycling.
Istanbul @ Murinsel Graz | May 16-18 | Murinsel Graz: designforum Steiermark launches the exhibition “Istanbul Design Collection”, which includes works from graphic and industrial design, fashion and architecture as well as traditional handcrafts. In short: a selection of Turkish design culture from several decades.
Istanbul Design Collection | May 11 – 29 (Opening May 11, 18.00) | designforum Styria
Village Chairs: The collection “Village Chairs” by architect Carlo Malerba from the UNESCO City of Design Turin, merges the typical skylines of well-known cities with modern furniture design and creates special seating areas. They were inspired by archetypes that are present in the collective perception of every city. Each chair tells a story that relates to architecture.
During Design Month Graz, the extraordinary pieces will be presented at Joanneumsviertel.
Village Chairs | May 11 to June 9 | Foyer Joanneumsviertel
Design in the City : As part of Design Month Graz, you can discover something special in a total of 37 shops: design-savvy stores offer exceptional products and creations that you can normally not see or buy there. Additionally, they stage design activities beyond the normal “shop routine”. It is this attractive combination that defines the nature of the format “Design in the City”.
Hence, the topic of design is made accessible to a broader public in an enormous variety of ways: tattoo art on leather at BoConcepts, soap bubbles luminaires by Doris Darling at Lost Soles, a fashion exhibition by the Berlin-based label Rianna + Nina at Brillenquartier, polarizing and idiosyncratic exhibits by Hans Schullin – just to mention a few. Unusual guitar prototypes by designer Dennis Stradner at Hausfrauenpalast, mesh bags by the label Sagan Vienna at Kastner & Oehler, the world-famous monkey lamp by Italian designer Marcantonio Raimondi Malerba at MuR are also on display during “Design in the City”, as well as stringed and plucked instruments by Daniel Furian. And there is so much more …