BAU Design Forum

BAU Design Forum

As an avid follower and practitioner of sustainable and ethical fashion, I am kept up to date via Instagram with the goings ons at Fashion Revolution.  It’s founder Carry Somers, just so happened to be speaking this year at the 3rd edition of the BAU Design Forum on the 22nd September in Barcelona. So of course I signed up.

With not a lot of time to read up on the speakers and their lecturers AND their subjects, I had a lot of catching up to do the morning of the event.

The BAU Design Forum was created with a view to becoming a meeting place for reflecting on the multidisciplinary dimensions of design. It is an event aimed at all students, alumni, teachers, professionals and researchers who are interested in exploring the new ethical, social and political horizons of contemporary design. How can design integrate the need to transform the world of today with the need to conserve the ecosystems on which it relies? How can design deal with both the urgency of the questions and the complexity of the solutions?

Tt see the full list of Keynote Speakers and find out more about the event, here is the Design Forum Website

I was really taken by the subjects of the speakers as they all spoke about designing for the human condition & social innovation, which is very close to my personal & work heart.

I’ve noted below a list of the four Keynote speakers, whose subjects and talks that I was most interested in, as well as their website links:

*some quotes & excerpts taken from BAU Design Forum Website

  • Virginia Tassinari  – DESIS Philosophy Talks – Design for Social Innovation meets Philosophy  – Virginia spoke about contemporary design and research practices in design for social innovation, how these are engaging people in communities to get involved and have conversations about common interests, which can turn into collaborations in their communal spaces. People then have the potential to come together in the moments of crisis for example, when “one can question the progress-oriented values informing them, and possibly regain access to their relational nature, and re-experience what it means to play an active role in society.” Virginia spoke about Arendt’s idea of democracy in The Human Condition and how it reflects in many of the contemporary design practices. The word I took away from her talk was Reciprocity and a quote from founder of DESIS, Ezio Manzini, “stretching the idea of participation: from choice to action” – –


  •  Joan Miquel Gual  – La Borda  – Joan introduced us to the project of La Borda which is the “first collectively-owned housing cooperative to exist in Barcelona which was a designed as a creative collaboration between the members of the cooperative”. With a general overview of the project, he spoke about “the architecture and collaborative design of the building, including the negotiations with the administration to secure the transfer of the land and the collective drafting of the statutes”.  The research from Denmark and Uruguay was also surprising!
  • It was interesting to see how a building could be so cleverly created in a small space. The designs seemed naturally intuitive in a way. Along with this, Joan showed how the input of so many members of the community was collected; how their lifestyles could be improved and changed, what they desired from the project and their homes. Ultimately all of this data and statistics were collated in a visually impressive format, with very clear graphics (not boring either), making it possible to be shared back to the community, as well as in presentations and possibly for potential investors and future projects. A great example to many.  –  –


  • Merce Rua – Holon – Design with the emerging Paradigm. Define what sustainability means for a SMEs & larger companies and non-profit organisations, “From experience to eco-system”  &  “…aim is to share projects that highlight the clients and organisations which we collaborate with, and the areas where our designs intervene. Interventions and areas that range from work culture – how we can strike a balance between authenticity and impact.”
  • Some of the words and phrases I noted doen from Merce’s speech were: Organisational strategies. Creative Communities. Sensing and Responding. Practices and Stories. Sustainable. Interconnection. Accessability. Integration. Also some organisations and links which she mentioned that i’d like to share are:
  • OuiShare :Our mission is to build and nurture a collaborative society by connecting people, organizations and ideas around fairness, openness and trust.
  • UN Eco Innovation Manual  : Eco-innovation can help SMEs access new and expanding markets, increase productivity, attract new investment into the business, increase profitability across the value chain, and help them stay ahead of regulations and standards


  • Carry Somers – Fashion Revolution – A global coalition in 100 countries calling for systemic reform of the fashion industry. Introduction to the Fashion Transparency Index, which ranks 100 of the world’s top fashion brands  by how much information they share about their suppliers, their supply chain policies and their practices, as well as the social and environmental impact of the companies. –
    Fashion Transparency Index 2017

Also special mention and adoration to Laura Costa from the Fashion design course who presented us with her Lorem Ipsum mini fashion collection and research, a study of consumer behaviours and their likeness to zombies. Heartless and unfeeling, but brilliant.

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