Gdynia Design Days – the feast of design in the city

16.07.2019

Gdynia Design Days is a great opportunity to see what a modern city could look like if designers were engaged to improve and embellish its appearance.

Gdynia Design Days has become a permanent fixture on the calendar of important summer events in the Tri-City. Just like the Open’er Festival, happening at the same time in Gdynia, is a feast for music fans, likewise GDD is considered one of the most important industry events in Poland for design lovers. This does not mean, however, that only designers will find here something for themselves. On the contrary – Gdynia Design Days exhibition program opens itself up to each of the inhabitants: both an expert and a layman. The curators argue that even something useful can be a delight to the eye due to its unique appearance.

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The theme of the event each year is the urban space – primarily the streets, squares and buildings in Gdynia. The program is made so as to make the city the focal point of the event. Exhibitions, workshops and side events are supposed to be related as much as possible to the reflection on the environment in which we live.

This year the event was held in two locations. In the seat of its organizer – Gdynia Design Centre in the complex of the Pomeranian Science and Technology Park, was housed the exhibition centre of the festival. During the main exhibition entitled ‘Sieci’ [in English: ‘Networks’] you could see eight prototypes of devices and objects prepared by designers from Poland and abroad. The idea which inspired the authors was to design something that could improve the daily operation of the public area in Gdynia, open it up to inhabitants and make them start relationships with each other as well as delight the eye with its combination of functionality and an aesthetic, unique look.

Gdynia Design Days bench

What did the designers prepare? For example, a simple, yet unobtrusive trolley for street trading which could be rented by officials to any willing micro-entrepreneur, craftsman or even an inhabitant wishing to sell vegetables from his or her own plot. Another example is a mobile stall linked to the notice-board – a device residential communities or housing estates could be equipped with and share it with the neighbors at the backyard exchanges. A very interesting proposal is the project of cutlery for eating Baltic fish, or a system of loudspeakers and transmitters collecting coastal sounds, which can be listened to live on your smartphone anywhere around the world.

This exhibition is a great opportunity to see on a small scale what a modern city could look like if designers were engaged to improve and embellish its appearance. Besides, it is possible that one day some of the presented prototypes will appear in the streets of Gdynia or under the roofs of its inhabitants.

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Plac Kaszubski is another festival centre where the organizers built a temporary Design Terminal. The usually empty concrete area was revived by a town of containers and there opened boutiques of designer trinkets, a bookshop, a pub with a craft beer, and a small studio where each participant can take part in the workshops. The theme of most classes is a chair as it is the piece of furniture along with its artistic interpretation that the local interactive exhibition for (not only) children, entitled ‘What is design? Chairs,’ is focused on. In the terminal there is also available some space to relax – here you can rest on poufs and sun loungers, enjoy snacks from the offer of food trucks parking near or listen to music and watch movies during late night screenings.

P7040053 - Gdynia Design Days – the feast of design in the cityGdynia Design Days books

The festival curators also prepared some entertainment for passers-by who walk the whole way from the City Centre to Redłowo. At some points on the route there were placed temporary public benches and hammocks in order to create a space to spend time together. In selected parts of the city there were also set prototypes of designer street furniture and bicycle racks.

Gdynia Design Days festival takes place in the first half of July. Entrance to all the events is free.

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