ECO Solidarity at WantedDesign Manhattan (May 15-17)

Nuatan Cup by crafting plastics! studio. Photo: Patrícia Kvasňovská

Designers and Studios from Nine European Union Countries to Showcase Sustainable, Future-Focused Solutions at ECO Solidarity 2022, Presented by WantedDesign Manhattan

Leading designers and studios from nine European Union countries, represented by EUNIC NY, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, will introduce transformative solutions in the third iteration of ECO Solidarity at WantedDesign Manhattan, co-located with ICFF, on May 15-17, 2022. Launched in 2020 as an international, multidisciplinary initiative and movement, ECO Solidarity brings together a diverse group of design practitioners who explore radical sustainability in architecture, urban planning, product design and development, energy and waste, standing in solidarity in the face of global humanitarian, public health, and ecological crises. The 2022 showing includes an exhibition and two talks featuring participating designers and a diversity of experts.

With the goal of uniting design and other disciplines to create ecologically-sound, human-centered, hands-on solutions, ECO Solidarity is a collective act of resistance to the climate emergency through design. The remarkably applicable projects, which can be implemented on micro and macro scales, advance the circular economy, address the key principles of the European Green Deal, and contribute to the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Encompassing research, craft and technology—or a combination of all three—these projects offer a range of approaches, from investigating the daily life of our homes and cities to examining complex systems, processes and practices that support a more equitable and sustainable future.

Participating designers and studios include: EOOS NEXT (Austria), Herrmann & Coufal (Czech Republic), Livable Platform (Flanders, Belgium), MOYA Birch Bark (Germany), AHA Objects (Malta), NASDRA Conscious Design (Poland), SUSDESIGN (Portugal), Atelier Ad Hoc (Romania), crafting plastics! studio (Slovakia).

Whether highlighting personal and environmental benefits of DIY (Herrmann & Coufal), transforming construction waste into outdoor furniture that functions as public art and reminds of the loss of significant buildings (AHA Objects), exploring the potential of alternative production materials, bioremediation and bioelectronics (NASDRA Conscious Design) or using design to raise visibility for local knowledge and to foster cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary partnerships (Livable Platform), the participating designers uncover new possibilities and contribute to changing common practices of the design industry and public. Embodying inclusion, collaboration and multiple perspectives, ECO Solidarity provides an opportunity for emerging European designers to present their work and participate in the wider discourse of WantedDesign Manhattan and ICFF.

“Placing nature, environment and people at the center of the design and production process and moving from conversation to action and implementing sustainable scenarios should be the design industry’s common goal,” said Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, Founders of WantedDesign. “As directors and curators of a major U.S. design event, we have the opportunity to give a voice to those pioneering active, scalable responses to environmental challenges experienced globally and locally. More than ever, ECO Solidarity with its call to action, should find a receptive and engaged audience in New York this May. We are extremely proud to partner with EUNIC and nine of its cultural organizations to present the initiative and projects of talented European studios in New York.”

“It is time to end the model of ‘make, take, break and throw away’ that is so harmful to our planet, our health and our economy,” said Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, “ECO Solidarity 2022 demonstrates the value of the European Union’s Circular Economy agenda in practice. It saves energy and natural resources, and allows consumers to make smart environmental choices, such as repairing instead of replacing their broken products. This is how we bring balance back in our relationship with nature, foster innovation and generate high-skills jobs. The EU has been pushing the Circular Economy since 2015. Only two weeks ago, we presented a new package of measures on eco-design and sustainability in the textile, digital and construction sectors. More circularity and resource efficiency also mean more resilience when a crisis disrupts our industrial supply chains.”

Attendees of WantedDesign Manhattan and ICFF will have an opportunity to hear the ECO Solidarity designers share their insights and vision in two informative talks held on the show floor. Talks are open to all fair attendees and the media, with no reservations required.

Sunday, May 15, 11: 30 am. ECO Solidarity, Part One: Doing It!

Moderated by Simone Rothman, Co-Founder, FutureAir
Presenters: Aha Objects (Malta), Atelier Ad Hoc (Romania), EOOS Next (Austria), Livable Platform (Flanders/Belgium).

Monday | May 16, 11:30 am. ECO Solidarity, Part Two: Doing It!

Moderator: Jonsara Ruth, Design Director and Co-Founder, Healthy Materials Lab, Parsons School of Design
Presenters: Crafting Plastics! Studio (Slovakia), Hermann & Coufal (Czech Republic), Moya Birch Bark (Germany), NASDRA Conscious Design (Poland), SusDesignHealthy and Sustainable Design Solutions (Portugal).

The 2022 edition is produced and presented in partnership with EUNIC NY, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, including the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in cooperation with Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and Vienna Business Agency, Delegation of Flanders to the USA , Czech Center New York, Goethe-Institut New York, Arts Council Malta in New York, Romanian Cultural Institute New York, Polish Cultural Institute New York, the Consulate General of Portugal in New York/ Camões, I.P., Consulate General of Slovakia in New York, and the European Union Delegation to the United Nations.

“The role of cultural diplomacy in this day of age, when the Earth’s life-supporting systems on which we fundamentally depend are in jeopardy due to our human mistakes, is to raise awareness and sensitivity around the key environmental issues, to provide space for thought and dialogue, to inspire, and to educate,” added Izabela Gola, Visual Arts and Design Curator at the Polish Cultural Institute New York. “In the spirit of the Polish Solidarność movement established in 1980, we want to resist ecological devastation. Our goal is to redefine sustainable design by inspiring the change from within industries, proving that sustainability is not just a trend, but grounds for a new state of consciousness with ready-to-be-implemented, hands-on solutions. Facing multiple crises, it is especially important to be alarmist, because whatever we do about the climate emergency in the coming years will impact the next millennium.”

The exhibition is designed and curated by Deborah Wang, architect and artistic director of DesignTO. ECO Solidarity 2022 Advisory Committee includes Jonsara Ruth, co-founder and Design Director, Parsons Healthy Material Labs; Simone Rothman, co-founder, FutureAir; Laurence Carr, founder and CEO, Laurence Carr Inc.

Location: May 15-17, 2022 | Jacob K. Javits Convention Center of New York, 429 11th Avenue
Show hours: Sunday, 05.15: 10AM-6PM | Monday, 05.16: 10AM-6PM | Tuesday, 05.17: 10AM-4PM

ECO Solidarity was initiated by the Polish Cultural Institute New York in partnership with WantedDesign and eight European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) organizations to address the imperative need for human-centered design in response to humanitarian and public health crises by focusing on ecology, the climate emergency, public health, wellbeing in public spaces, and how shifts in the economy affect people’s lives.

The name of this initiative was inspired by the Solidarity social and political movement. 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of the Solidarity formation (Polish: Solidarność) in 1980. It united displaced communities and various disciplines in a common cause and led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, setting the nations on course toward democracy.

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.

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.

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.