EKA Designers at “Estonian Design Days” in Mexico

EKA Designers at "Estonian Design Days" in Mexico. Photo: Kirke Tatar

On March 1, “Estonian Design Days” began in Mexico, which are held in cooperation with the Estonian Designers’ Union (EDL), the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) and the University of Mexico, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM).

The week-long event kicked off with a sustainable clothing design show curated by Reet Aus, followed by a presentation on Estonian design by Ilona Gurjanova, head of the Estonian Designers’ Union. The evening ended with a tour of Kärt Ojavee at the Material II exhibition dedicated to biodesign.

“The interest in Estonian design and the event has been great and the feedback has been positive. We are already planning the next steps for cooperation. The first days have been very meaningful – we are looking forward to what results and contacts the week in Mexico will bring Estonian designers,” said Gurjanova. In the following days, Estonia’s best-known material designers from the Estonian Academy of Arts and the University of Tartu will give lectures and conduct workshops.

The cooperation between the designers of the two countries began at the 2022 Design Night, when a delegation of design students from the University of Mexico (UAM) headed by Professor Sergio Davila visited Tallinn at the invitation of EDL to present the final projects of the bachelor’s study in biodesign. Noticing that green design or sustainability alone is not enough, EDL, EKA and UAM found common ground in cooperation on the subject of biodesign. Biodesign offers a deeper cooperation with nature, a shift of vision from the Anthropocene to the Ecocene, where the human environment and the natural environment work together, supporting each other. During the festival, I found out that many Estonian students and designers have several similar initiatives on this topic, and then the decision was made to organize the next international event “Estonian Design Days in Mexico” already on the other side of the ocean.

“A partnership has been established between the two countries through biodesign projects and circular economy initiatives. Two countries so far away and seemingly separated from each other have a lot in common. I think that in the end it is crucial to rapidly change social practices and work processes to show new ways of production and problem solving. As institutions, it is we who should promote this movement, which promotes a certain shift in culture,” says Sergio Davila.

In the curatorial exhibition “Material II” by Kärt Ojavee, Annika Kaldoja and Marie Vihmar, 30 best examples of biodesign and materials from Estonian designers are exhibited. 1.-8. until March, lectures will be given by designers Kärt Ojavee and Juss Heisnalu, as well as Marie Vihmar, a PhD student at the University of Tartu, who will also conduct a workshop where hygromorphic robots made from organic residues will be studied. Students will have the opportunity to listen to Riina Uuna’s presentation and make an outdoor sculpture from food waste, and finally join a workshop where together with designer and doctoral student Marta Konovalov, techniques for repairing fashion items will be explored.

The event is supported by Erasmus+, the Estonian Ministry of Culture and the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.

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Posted by Andres Lõo