RMIT’s Design for Impact festival and accompanying international exhibition showcases flexible, intelligent systems that challenge design, the materials we use and the way we do things.
Led by RMIT’s Design Research Institute (DRI), the <em>Design for Impact</em> festival includes a series of events and activities that showcase the breadth of RMIT’s design research and promote collaboration between researchers, industry and government.
Events include a Brain Waves Symposium; a Co-design for Sexual Health Wellbeing and Aging; Disaster, Design and Development: Learning from Nepal symposium; Fashion and Textiles Industry seminar; and Service Design and Visualisation in the age of Big Data.
Director of DRI, Professor Swee Mak, said the Festival helped to explain the role of design in achieving effective and sustainable solutions to complex societal issues.
“Designing for meaningful impact is also a way of thinking that can lead to more effective solutions that affect every aspect of our lives.
“This ranges from the quality of living to national security, from public policy to economic, health, social, cultural and environmental benefits – all of which make this festival and its outcomes crucial for Australia’s future,” Mak said.
“The Festival will put multidisciplinary design research with meaningful impact in the spotlight and provides a key opportunity for interactive engagement between our research community and a broad mix of community, industry and government partners.”
The accompanying international touring exhibition – Smart Flexibility: Advanced Materials and Technologies at RMIT’s Design Hub – is curated by Materfad, Barcelona’s renowned materials centre, and comes to Australia for the first time as part of the Design for Impact festival.
Smart Flexibility presents 115 new materials and interactive installations that are responsive to a visitor’s movement, smell and temperature – striking an intriguing balance between form and function.
Materfad, Materials Library Manager, Valérie Bergeron, said the Smart Flexibility exhibition illustrated the result of combining flexible structures and active materials to form systems that interact with the environment and/or user.
“Bringing this exhibition to Melbourne is a great opportunity for further research in the field of Smart Flexibility, as well as being a key collaboration for us with a prestigious Australian university of technology and design,” Bergeron said.
Displaying the local next to the global, Smart Flexibility includes responsive works such as Lumina: A Luminous Cloud by Dr Chin Koi Khoo from RMIT’s School of Architecture and Design.
“Experiencing the exhibition is like having a conversation with the future – visitors will be challenged and inspired by designs that will shape the future,” Mak said.
The exhibition seeks versatile solutions to everything from intelligent textile fabric to elastic metals, all in the context of energy efficiency on the borderline between matter and structure.
“Design for Impact and Smart Flexibility will show that design is much broader than just a method of planning or doing that leads to better products,” Mak said.
Smart Flexibility: Advanced Materials and Technologies is on until Sunday 9 August at RMIT Design Hub.