Chic and Ecofriendly 'Design Act' Takes Over Winzavod

Design Act 2009The "Tulipa" vase by Dutch designer Lotte van Laatum, whose work will be featured at this year's Design Act festival.
If your house is full of junk you never use, don’t rush to throw it all away — you might be in possession of a hot industrial design item. Old socks can be turned into an elegant cell phone case, while cardboard boxes can be made into a chic coffee table. Or so it seems at the industrial design exhibit "Design Act 2009," which started Thursday at contemporary art center Winzavod.

“Our goal is to introduce the Moscow public to the latest happenings in Russian and international design, as well as create a networking platform for clients, customers, designers and the government,” said Igor Shulinsky, the founder of the "Design Act" festival.

The festival will host over a hundred Russian and international designers, whose creations blend contemporary art and everyday function, along with public workshops by Boeing, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, UIdesign Group and Holland’s Mobile Workshop Group. Twenty-five thousand to 30,000 visitors of various backgrounds — from oligarchs to the spotty teenagers — are expected to come, say the festival organizers.

The highlights of the exhibit will include the exposition “5 Interviews” from the Italian company Alessi, famous for having Philip Stark, Norman Foster and Karim Rashid work for them, which will present interviews with five of its leading Italian designers. “Electrolux Design Lab” by Electrolux will come out with an ecofriendly vacuum cleaner made from recycled automobile plastic, while U.S. journalist and blogger Olga Omami will dedicate her show “Stolen Beauty” to the “simultaneous inventions syndrome” — the way people from different countries come up with the same ideas for industrial objects but give them a unique designer’s touch.

“'Design Act' brings together the hippest and best designers, whose creations will revolutionize any potential buyer’s home. This year we plan to host Alasdhair Willis’ [Stella McCartney’s husband, former publisher of Wallpaper] Established & Sons — the top designer brand on the market at the moment, along with the Russian brand Open Design & Concept that was awarded the “Red Dot 2009” — "the equivalent of an Oscar in the design world,” said Shulinsky.

One of the accents of this year’s "Design Act" will be on ecological design — objects of street design made of recycled and ecofriendly materials. According to Shulinsky, organizers wanted to tell people the story of ecological design through the exhibit “You’ve Got Mail” and, had it not been for the crisis, would have made an even larger exposition of green design.

Shulinsky also added that the financial crisis has impacted the benefactors of the Design Act, including the Moscow city government, which has in previous years helped with advertising and “overcoming different types of difficulties.”

“The first 'Design Act' festival coincided with Putin’s official motto “Let’s boost industrial design” and so, fortuitously, our project received a lot of help from the government. But now, with the crisis or for other reasons, the government has stepped into the shadows. Perhaps, someone needs to recite Putin’s motto?” said Shulinsky.

Apart from the expositions, workshops and lectures, "Design Act" will include a Design Market, where visitors will be able to purchase design items. The festival organizers say the average item will cost 50 euros ($70) to 200 euros ($285).

"Design Act 2009" will take place at Winzavod, Aug. 27-30. 1 4th Syromyatnichesky Pereulok. Metro Chkalovskaya, Kurskaya. See Designact.ru for a schedule of events.