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Why Design Now? : The National Design Triennial Series
Why Design Now?
The National Design Triennial Series
Laurie Olivieri + Jennifer Northrop, October 5, 2015
Why Design Now? (was presented at the Cooper-Hewitt - National Design Museum and organised by curators Ellen Lupton, Cara McCarty, Matilda McQuaid et Cynthia Smith)  explores the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many fields of design from architecture and product design to fashion, graphics, new media and landscape design. Organized by Cooper-Hewitt curators Ellen Lupton, Cara McCarty, Matilda McQuaid and Cynthia Smith, the Triennial will be global in reach for the first time, reflecting the connectedness of design practices and the need for international cooperation to solve the world’s problems.

Adaptive Eyeglasses. Joshua Silver (British, b. 1946), Adaptive Eyecare Ltd. and Oxford Centre for Vision in the Developing World_CVDW
Adaptive Eyeglasses. Joshua Silver (British, b. 1946), Adaptive Eyecare Ltd. and Oxford Centre for Vision in the Developing World_CVDW
 
The exhibition title asks the question “Why Design Now?” to examine why design thinking is an essential tool for solving some of today’s most urgent problems; what draws creative thinkers, makers and problem solvers to this crucial field of discovery; and why business leaders, policy makers, consumers and citizens should embrace design values. Key developments across design disciplines will be presented through eight themes: energy, mobility, community, materials, prosperity, health, communication and simplicity.

Inaugurated in 2000, the Triennial series seeks out and presents the most innovative, forward-thinking designs at the center of contemporary culture from the previous three years. The exhibition showcases design solutions that promote environmental stewardship, social equity, accessibility and creative capital in more than 125 projects.

Adaptive Eyeglasses. Joshua Silver (British, b. 1946), Adaptive Eyecare Ltd. and Oxford Centre for Vision in the Developing World_CVDW
Adaptive Eyeglasses. Joshua Silver (British, b. 1946), Adaptive Eyecare Ltd. and Oxford Centre for Vision in the Developing World_CVDW
 
“This groundbreaking exhibition gives voice to a revolution taking place within all areas of design practice, from how materials and products are planned and conceived to how goods and services are manufactured, distributed and reclaimed worldwide,” said McCarty, curatorial director of the museum. “‘Why Design Now?’ takes a positive look at the intriguing and ambitious projects shaping this revolution.”

The curatorial team chose the designers and firms by group consensus and also collected nominations from the public through a dedicated Web site, which brought in nominations for projects such as Trove wallpapers and Etsy.

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