ECO Solidarity returns to WantedDesign Manhattan in response to environmental and global war crises
Updated: Jun 12
In Focus: Design with Empathy
ECO Solidarity, a collaborative initiative bringing together leading European designers and studios represented by EUNIC NY, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, returns to New York’s Javits Center between May 21-23, 2023, as part of ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan. Responding to the environmental and humanitarian crises, this year’s edition focuses on design with empathy, addressing some of the world’s most pressing conditions of human health and wellbeing. The Romanian project is created by FOR, an innovative design and architecture studio based in Timisoara, Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2023, and is produced with the support of RCI New York.
Showcasing designers and design studios from nine European countries, ECO Solidarity 2023 includes a design exhibit, two panel discussions, workshops, and more. The goal of ECO Solidarity 2023 is to reexamine the roles of designers and architects in contemporary world, finding more ways to offer vital skills and deliver practical support for individuals and communities affected by environmental disasters, war, and violence. This year’s projects explore ways to improve urban domestic infrastructures, preserve and restore natural habitats, protect the health and wellbeing of people, and accommodate displacement of the most vulnerable members of the community.
ECO Solidarity 2023
Presented by @WantedDesign
May 21-23, 2023
Declared by Dezeen of the "twelve things to do and see during
New York's 2023 design week"
Visit us at WantedDesign Manhattan, Booth W1066!
In addition to the exhibition, ECO Solidarity 2023 programming includes two informative panel talks on the show floor featuring all participating designers and a diversity of experts on Sunday, May 21st, and Tuesday, May 23rd.
USE PROMO CODE: EXIV866119
On Tuesday, May 23rd (11 am), you are invited to join us for a panel discussion moderated by Cynthia E Smith, curator at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, featuring Ángel Mombiedro, Armombiedro Studio (Spain), Filip Mirbauer, Balance is Motion (Czech Republic), Victoria Yakusha, FAINA (Ukraine), and Pepe Peralta Guerrero and Maria Sgîrcea, FOR (Romania).
The program of ECO Solidarity 2023 is organized around two themes. The first focuses on prevention and research, new sustainable materials and methods of implementation that improve durability, circularity, recycling waste, carbon-neutral, and low-emission productions, with the goal of improving human and environmental habitats.
The second focuses on ethical issues that surround design and architecture, reconstruction, recuperation, and healing in response to environmental and humanitarian crises resulting from military conflicts. The emphasis is placed on repositioning architects and designers to address critical issues through community engaged design process via interactive initiatives, city walks and site-specific interventions.
Participating E.U. designers and studios include: Theresa Bastek, Studio Plastique (Wallonie-Bruxelles Region, Belgium), Eliška Novák Knotková, Balance is Motion (Czech Republic), Dorian Cani, COLLCOLL (Germany), Aušra Česnauskytė and Goda Verikaitė, Neo Futuristic Walks (Lithuania), Kamila Szatanowska and Paulina Rogalska, FALA Architektura (Poland), Pepe Peralta Guerrero and Maria Sgîrcea, FOR (Romania), Otto Nagy, Terratico (Slovakia), Angel Mombiedro, Armombiedro Studio (Spain), with a special guest, Victoria Yakusha, FAINA Design from Ukraine.
Romanian designer spotlight: FOR, presenting ON WHEELS by Pepe Peralta Guerrero & Maria Sgîrcea, members of FOR
There’s a Romanian saying that translates to “everything will run on wheels,” meaning everything is going to be fine. To answer the question about the relevance of design in fostering a sense of normality in dire circumstances, FOR displays a series of upcycled physical objects using the familiar shiny emergency blanket as core material. Packed in a simple rolling suitcase alongside an online repository of DIY objects that can be accessed through any Internet connection, the series includes items that work both in a lasting crisis situation and in instances of light hearted normality.
FOR (Timișoara, Romania) is a team of architects who decided to practice beyond the conventional boundaries of the field, offering services designed to foster innovation across the community and the city: spaces for collaborative work and growth for professionals, teams and projects, architecture services, and the ability to design, prototype and create in-house.
Pepe Peralta Guerrero is a malagueño in Timișoara. His personal experience in the Maker movement, collaborative workspaces, alternative design processes and education led him to build literally and figuratively, together with a team of creative professionals and entrepreneurs, the coworking and makerspace FOR as a pillar of the FABER hub for cultural and creative guilds. At F O R he wears many hats, from space manager, to designer&architect, course facilitator, responsible for international relations. Within FABER he initiated and coordinated the Creativa project for mapping the local creative community.
Pepe graduated from the University of Architecture in Granada, Spain, where he worked in the academic innovation initiative IntercambiaUGR. He came to Timisoara in the fall of 2015, where he was facilitator architect at De-a arhitectura and, prior to his current projects, worked at the studio D Proiect in projects related to built heritage, such as the ASTRA museum in Sibiu or Unirii 13 in Timișoara among others.
As an architect, Maria is a problem solver at the intersection where built space intertwines with the unspoken life of objects. Be it on the scale of a building or the scale of a glass, she often asks herself "how do objects come to be" or "how are they most useful to us" and channels this energy into the design studio, the prototyping studio and object design. Co-founder of F O R and co-founder of FABER, Maria looks after the FOR design studio. Her portfolio includes educational projects such as the LIGHT EDU project or De-a Arhitectura and community projects such as Ladies, Wine & Design Timișoara.
Photo credit: Seba Tătaru
Since its founding in 2020, ECO Solidarity is co-curated by Odile Hainaut, Brand director of ICFF and WantedDesign Manhattan, and Izabela Gola, Visual Arts and Design Curator at the Polish Cultural Institute NY. The exhibition is designed and curated by Deborah Wang, architect and artistic director of DesignTO, Toronto.
ECO Solidarity 2023 is presented in partnership with EUNIC NY, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, including Wallonie-Bruxelles Design Mode, Czech Center New York, Goethe-Institut New York, Consulate General of Lithuania in New York, Lithuanian Culture Institute and the Architecture Fund, Polish Cultural Institute New York, Romanian Cultural Institute New York, Consulate General of Slovak Republic in New York, Consulate General of Spain New York, Consulate General of Portugal New York, and the European Union Delegation to the United Nations. ECO Solidarity had been fueled for two consecutive years by the EUNIC Cluster Grant Award granted by EUNIC Global. This year’s special guest representing war-torn Ukraine, FAINA Design, is invited as an expression of solidarity with the Ukrainian nation. FAINA Design's participation is supported by EUNIC, Polish Cultural Institute New York, and Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, Poland.
WantedDesign is a NYC-based platform dedicated to promoting design and fostering the international creative community throughout the year. Founded in New York City in 2011 by Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, WantedDesign has established itself as a constant and staunch supporter of U.S. and international design. Focusing on emerging and new ideas in design, its main trade event WantedDesign Manhattan was acquired by Emerald in 2019 and is now co-locating with ICFF at the Javits Center. wanteddesignnyc.com
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is where designers, retailers, developers, and architects converge to exchange inspiration and ignite a competitive drive for contemporary residential and commercial interiors. With a selection of both established and emerging designers, the ICFF delivers a selection of the globe’s finest, most creative, individual and original avant-garde products showcased in one venue. Exhibitors from 36 countries come to the ICFF each year to showcase the newest frontier of high-end, contemporary interiors. Icff.com
European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) is the European network of organizations engaging in cultural relations. Together with our partners, we bring to life European cultural collaboration in more than 100 countries worldwide with a network of 133 clusters, drawing on the broad experience of our members from all EU Member States and associate countries. EUNIC advocates a prominent role of culture in international relations and is a strategic partner of the EU, actively involved in the further definition of European cultural policy. EUNIC is a platform for knowledge sharing and for capacity building amongst its members and partners. eunicglobal.eu
Mentions as part of ICFF/ Wanted Design: