Slovenia’s travelling design exhibition, The Future of Living, showcases products that tackle some of the trickiest questions humanity is facing today.
“In the future, we will have to halve our energy consumption, reduce the volume of industrial production, and so on. Such a scenario is at odds with consumer trends and sales promotion. The question for the creative industries is therefore: how to survive in a world where the production of the “new” is redundant?” Mika Cimolini, Head of Programme of Ljubljana’s Centre for Creativity — the organisers of the show — tells The Calvert Journal.
Showcasing in Zagreb after presentations in Vienna and Berlin, the exhibition presents 90 design products using traditional craftsmanship and made from recycled waste materials.
One such product is Toasted Furniture by Nuša Jelenec and Nina Mršnik — mismatched tables and chairs with a distinctly punk feel. “Each piece of furniture [they’ve] produced is unique, as every panel is itself unique,” Cimolini explains. “All products can simply be re-formed into new plastic sheets, as they are made from just one type of material – HDPE high density polyethylene HDPP polypropylene. Or, they can be disassembled (unscrewed) and re-assembled into a new, different product.”
Also melding green aspirations and traditional craft is Darja Malešič‘s Wicker Vision: reusable bottles covered in wicker plaits. Using local, sustainable materials, such as willow, corn husks and straw, the products are made in collaboration with one of the last Slovenian companies that still preserves the tradition of wickering. “The modular design allows it to be repaired,” Cimolini says. While the bottle inside the willow case is now made of recycled plastic, the next version of the product will be produced from borosilicate glass with a stainless steel top.
In addition to material designs, the exhibition also includes virtual products, such as Eli, a digital personal assistant for people with dementia, produced by Kofein Dizajn. With the help of machine learning and a personalised user profile, the Eli scheme offers users customised content, adjusted according their daily habits. “The Eli program makes online services accessible to those who are simply left out of the equation,” Cimolini explains. “As we age, new technologies become increasingly difficult to manage. For many technologically-illiterate elderly people, digital services that connect, entertain and educate from the comfort of one’s home are practically non-existent. The app encourages us all to think about how technology can bridge physical and generational gaps, as well as help combat loneliness and marginalisation, especially during situations such as the COVID pandemic.”
A promotional event for the Slovenian Presidency to the Council of the European Union, the show will travel across 50 destinations, stopping next in Budapest and Eidenhoven.