ECO Solidarity Returns at CLOSEUP 2021

Livable; Algaeing; EOOS Next; Studio Plastique
Livable; Algaeing; EOOS Next; Studio Plastique

Eight Global Institutions Curate & Present Sustainable Design Solutions at CLOSEUP 2021 presented by ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan

At a moment when the world grapples with climate change, bold new ideas are needed more than ever. It is with this urgency in mind that eight countries have come together to announce the second edition of ECO Solidarity, an international project, movement, and initiative focused on design solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time. Eight visionary designers were selected to share products and projects that thoughtfully consider positive social impact, design empathy, and sustainable materials. ECO Solidarity will launch as part of the CLOSEUP 2021 presented by ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan event on May 18th, 2021 during two thought-provoking sessions, followed by an expanded online exhibition in June.

This inspiring movement, initiated in 2020 by the¬†Polish Cultural Institute New York¬†and Tomek Rygalik of¬†Studio Rygalik¬†in partnership with WantedDesign, continues its mission with 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 affects people‚Äôs lives. In alliance with WantedDesign‚Äôs co-founders Odile Hainaut and Claire Pijoulat, the ECO Solidarity 2021 program will also strive to address the key objectives of the Green New Deal, through interior and product design as well as spatial planning. ‚ÄúAt WantedDesign, we have focused on sustainability as a topic in our programming for several years as we understand the importance of always keeping it top of mind,‚ÄĚ explains Hainaut. ‚ÄúECO Solidarity is not only a design exercise‚ÄĒit shines the light on designers who think about our future and propose ideas that push the conversation forward and help create a more sustainable, conscious, and harmonious way of living. Pijoulat adds, ‚ÄúThe international exchange of ideas is key to what WantedDesign does, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring eight European countries and regions together for the ECO Solidarity project at CLOSEUP in May and the WantedDesign Online Exhibit in June.‚ÄĚ

To create a timely, forward-thinking project of the scale of ECO Solidarity, the eight EUNIC institutions tapped some of the most innovative emerging and established designers and leading field experts from their countries. The partnering organizations and their nominees include:¬†Austrian Cultural Forum New York¬†in cooperation with Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and Vienna Business Agency (Lotte Kristoferitsch,¬†EOOS NEXT);¬†Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA¬†¬†(Sep Verboom,¬†Livable);¬†Wallonie-Bruxelles International New York¬†(Theresa Bastek and Archibald Godts,¬†Studio Plastique);¬†The Czech Center¬†(Eduard Herrmann and Matńõj Coufal,¬†Herrmann & Coufal);¬†Goethe-Institut New York¬†(Renana Krebs,¬†Algaeing);¬†Arts Council Malta in New York¬†(Anna Horvath, AHA Objects); Polish Cultural Institute New York (Paulina Grabowska,¬†NAS-DRA Conscious Design); and¬†Romanian Cultural Institute New York¬†(George Marinescu and Maria Daria Oancea,¬†Atelier Ad Hoc).

ECO Solidarity is a platform for designers to convene on issues relating to sustainability and the circular economy. The underlying objective is to unite design disciplines and industries around the globe in a resolve to create more ecologically-sound, human-centered designs that protect the environment, our health, and ecosystems‚ÄĒthereby restoring integrity in fractured communities and addressing the current humanitarian and climate hazards affecting our world.

Flemish Field Expert, Axel Clissen says ‚ÄúECO Solidarity comes at a time where the world is realizing more than ever that joint efforts are essential to creating a unified and sustainable path forward. As such, the ambition of ECO Solidarity should lie beyond the design community as it deserves to aim for a global, broad, and diversified reach. The selection of narratives displayed show the true ingenuity humankind is capable of and aspire to in a world where nature and civilization go hand in hand.‚ÄĚ

The program will commence at CLOSEUP 2021 presented by ICFF + WantedDesign Manhattan, a platform to showcase design, and feature two 45-minute sessions on May 18, 2021 in which the participating designers will showcase their product launches, brands, and project presentations followed by panel discussions. The designers will be split into one of two categories based on their product/projects. The first session entitled, Design with Empathy: Public Spaces and Social Impact (10:05 AM EST) will feature AHA Objects, Atelier Ad Hoc, EOOS NEXT, and Herrmann & Coufal. The second session’s theme, Sustainable Material and Process: Research and Innovation (10:45 AM EST), will spotlight Algaeing, Livable, NAS-DRA Conscious Design, and Studio Plastique. Registration to attend either or both sessions is available on CLOSEUP’s website or through the following link.

A two-month-long online exhibition curated by Odile Hainaut and Claire PIjoulat¬†in consultation with the show‚Äôs Advisory Committee‚ÄĒitself composed of academic field experts nominated by each participating institution‚ÄĒwhich will be presented by WantedDesign and hosted on from June 15‚ÄďAugust 15, 2021. The entire program is formulated to bring attention to sustainable, contemporary design solutions with a special emphasis on helping fractured societal bonds. The ECO Solidarity Advisory Committee includes: Martina Fineder (Austria);¬†Axel Clissen¬†(Belgium/Flanders);¬†Giovanna Massoni¬†(Belgium/Wallonie-Bruxelles); Danica Kov√°Ňôov√° (Czech Republic);¬†Dunja Karabaic¬†(Germany);¬†Dr. Jevon Vella¬†(Malta);¬†Ewa BiŇĄczyk¬†(Poland); and¬†Adriana Blidaru¬†(Romania); along with special advisor Tomek Rygalik of¬†Studio Rygalik.¬† For more information, visit¬†

The name of this initiative was inspired by the Solidarity social and political movement. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the Solidarity formation (Polish: SolidarnoŇõńá), 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 at large. 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 via signature events like WantedDesign Manhattan and WantedDesign Brooklyn, engaging conversations, and strategic partnerships.

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.

EUNIC European Union National Institutes for Culture
European Union National Institutes for Culture ‚Äď is the European network of organizations engaging in cultural relations. Together with our partners, we bring to life European cultural collaboration in more than 90 countries worldwide with a network of over 120 clusters, drawing on the broad experience of our members from all EU Member States and associate countries.

The Polish Cultural Institute New York was founded in 2000. It is a diplomatic mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, operating in the area of public diplomacy. The PCI is one of 25 such institutes around the world. The Institute’s mission is to disseminate around the world comprehensive knowledge of Poland, Polish history and national heritage, as well as to promote Poland’s contemporary contributions to the success of world culture. The Institute does so through initiating, supporting and promoting collaboration between Poland and the United States in the areas of art, education, research and in many other aspects of intellectual and social life. The Institute’s main task is to ensure Polish participation in the programming of America’s most important cultural institutions as well as in large international initiatives.