Ineke Hans Salon

Furniture & economics

studio-salon #3: Furniture & economics

The world of furniture design is a very complex whole of fairs, production companies, design shops & galleries, consumers, designers, press and more. Where it used to be a process initiated by clients and industry the process is now often started by the designers proposing ideas or starting to produce and sell their own designs. Digitalisation has rapidly changed how furniture is sold and online sales have effects for galleries, shops, showrooms and the visibility of design. How are these systems financed? How do we get informed if not in showrooms and shops anymore?

Although Mendini recently declared that ideals in design where gone, lately values like 'daring, caring and sharing' are continually coming up and we are urged to take up a 'holistic approach' towards design (* see below: On Manifestoes). Can these new values get valid or become a new economic model? How can we deal with this sincerely or is the danger that these values become just the next marketing tool? Can 'wellbeing' be the new profit? And how do we finance that? What are the new economic parameters for design?

This 3rd Studio Salon looks into different financial situations and unpaid positions across the design world and viable alternatives, we look at new models to finance design and to sell it, but we also plan to explore how critical ideas and Manifestos could become profitable, not only financially but also from a 'wellbeing' point of view. 

Start-up speakers:
- Peter Marigold is designer and recently became crowd-fund expert by his formcard project. He will talk about his ideals and experiences with it.
- Rose Etherington is Editor-in-Chief for which enables people to buy innovative contemporary furniture directly from its creators. Rose will talk about online sales of design, informing customers and empowering design brands to grow.
- Edwin Heathcote is Design Editor for the Financial Times and he set up Design Reading, an online archive of critical writing about design. Edwin will present a column investigating new and upcoming economic models** based on equality, sustainability and less focus on financial growth and how the design world and Design Manifesto's could benefit from this.

Moderator: Johanna Agerman Ross

Find a report on the evening here

* On Manifestoes:

The 20th century was characterized by all kind of -ism's and ideals (modernism, postmodernism, Bauhaus, Dieter Rams, Memphis, Droog). Recently Mendini declared ideals in design where gone, but there seems to be a flood of Design Manifesto's calling for change and responsibility: 
ICON, DAMnº and a holistic approach: 7 principles of Holistic Product Design (Yves Behar, 2011), Beyond the New (Louise Schouwenberg & Hella Jongerius, 2015) and What is sustainable? (Ilse Crawford, 2016).
Interested in more Manifesto's from the past? See: 11 must read manifesto's | 24 manifesto's (the manifesto project) | 100 years of manifesto's | Reading Design Manifestoes

** On economics:
There are a number of people currently looking at economics from another perspective:
- Thomas Piketty's Capital emphasises on inequality of wealth and income in our society. 
- Kate Raworth is currently preparing a book in Oxford on doughnut economy where unpaid work (value that not gets capitalised in our current economy) and exchange of activities plays vital a role. To her there is more to economics than just financial growth.
- John Thackara recently published How To Thrive In The Next Economy, describing how sustainability and a more social approach - instead of an economy obsesssed with stuff, money, and endless growth - can be embedded in the next economy.
All of these thinkers and writers touch issues that are perhaps be very interesting for the world of design where shared (unpaid) involvement in projects is a reality for quite a while over the entire scope of it.