Designing the Cities of Tomorrow
From February 15 until June 23, 2012 Paris's Lieu du Design, a space dedicated to the art of design, is presenting Sous les pavés, le design (a play on words that alludes to the famous French protest slogan of the 1960s "Sous les pavés, la plage"). The exhibit attempts to reveal the role that the designer plays in the development and improvement of public spaces.
Showing emblematic examples from France as well as cities all over the world, the emphasis is placed on large cities and sustainability concerns. Some of these projects are linked to transportation, some are purely digital, while still others are intended to better equip city spaces for public usage—like plans to give La Défense a makeover by adding structures for seating and shelter. Projects like Tim Fendley's "Legible London" or the sound design of Tokyo's JR East subway line give a glimpse of the goings-on in cities across the planet. By visiting this exhibit, guests of the Hotel Regencia can clearly see that designers play a strategic role in shaping the cities of tomorrow.
The exhibit itself was created with usability and visual appeal in mind, and as visitors easily traverse the minimalist space, the goal of each station is clearly marked in some creative way. Thanks to a variety of stations offering visual and auditory stimuli, visitors can see and hear how concerns about design enter into the conception and execution of urban projects. Notions of comfort, shared usage, accessibility, durability, social relationships and cultural identities all come into play when reflecting on such developments.
The exhibit presents "The Designer" as occupying eight distinct—and quite ambitious—positions: humanist, inspirer-creator, innovator, economic actor, responsible engager, problem solver, mediator and identity demonstrator. But perhaps only one word is needed to describe the designer, as presented by this exhibit: indispensable.
Le Lieu du Design
74 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine
Metro: Ledru-Rollin or Bastille
Monday through Sunday from 1p.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.)