Panel discussion. Business workshop. Rio de Janeiro

On Monday, 6th of April, Centro Carioca de Design hosted a panel discussion with the main theme: Design in Brazil and in Poland. Similar or completely different challenges? We were delighted to share our thoughts with Brazilian design experts, as well the audience, who joined us that evening.

After a welcome from Paula Oliveira de Camargo, Director of the CCD, Gabriel Patrocinio, who acted as a moderator for that evening, gave a short introduction to the topic. Monika Brauntsch talked about Polish contemporary design scene, highlighting Polish industrial tradition and history, the consequences that the Second World War had for the country, re-development of Poland in the 50s and 60s, and the way how the state supported design, e.g. through creation of the Institute of Industrial Design in 1950. Although we have a tradition of industrial design in Poland, it was really after the year 2000 that the contemporary design scene was developed, with some of the most well-known studios being created, regional design centres and major festivals, like Lodz Design Festival, being organised. Weronika Rochacka-Gagliardi highlighted fairly recent development of new ways of looking at design, not just in the context of products, but as a problem-solving process. She spoke about the „Design Thinking boom” over the last few years, development of strategic design, as well as service design, both in the commercial and public sector contexts.

Eduardo Pucu, coordinator of CRIED at the IED Rio, spoke about his experience of working in Italy, where design is very well understood, especially amongst bigger companies. The situation in Brazil, however, is slightly different, where big companies are using Design Thinking, but maybe not necessarily as a strategic tool but still as a series of one-off interventions. Smaller companies, similarly like in Poland and many other countries, are much more sceptical and designers and design managers need to work very hard to convince them about the value of design. Raquel Goulart, Brand Strategy Director at Saravah, spoke about the increasing need for seeing the deeper purpose of design in Brazil, which, by many, is seen as a superficial tool for „making things just look pretty”. She also touched upon the subject of understanding the role of branding in communicating the values that companies and organisations want to offer.

In the discussion that happened after those short introductions, we spoke about many aspects related to the situation of design in general, as well as concrete comparisons between Brazil and Poland. The main points were:
– Both countries have a long tradition of industrial design, with some amazing designers and products from the 50s and 60s but the contemporary design scenes in both cases were shaped about the same time, just 15 years ago.
– There are obvious differences between Poland and Brazil in terms of scale but also, while Poland is an industrial country, Brazil is using much more of its amazingly diverse, natural resources.
– Both countries are facing the same challenge of defining the national character of design, in the way how, for a example, Scandinavian or Italian design is recognised in the world. A very interesting comment came from Gabriel Patrocinio who observed that the view of one country’s design doesn’t come from the country itself but from the outside.
– We also spoke about the question of education and how to engage new generations with design, not necessarily just as future designers but also as conscious design buyers (clients and end-users). Some interesting examples in this area were cited from the work of the Design Council in the UK.
– Some of the audience members were asking about Poland’s experience with Euro 2012, UEFA European Championship, and whether theit is possible to compare it with Rio’s experience of hosting big sports events, such as World Cup or upcoming Olimpic Games. In both cases the need for applying strategic design in creating such huge and important events was highlighted.
– There was also a question about the future development of Brazilian and Polish collaboration in the area of design. We hope, as The Spirit of Poland, that there will be more opportunities for knowledge exchange between the two countries, especially in the light of preparations for the Polish cultural season in Brazil in 2016 and 2017, organised by

This was a very special evening for us. We could have stayed at the CCD discussing all the issues for hours. We hope this is the beginning of a great exchange and collaboration between both countries. We would also want to thank everyone involved in thie panel, as well as the audience for their active participation.

Business workshop, 7.04

On Tuesday, 7th April, The Spirit of Poland team returned to our friends at ESDI. This time, Monika Branutsch and Weronika Rochacka-Gagliardi run a 4hs practical workshop on: Designing a business. Working with Business Models. We were delighted with a presence of 24 participants, coming from different design, business and technology backgrounds, both students and professionals. Working with examples of Brazilian brands, as well as showcasing some case studies from Europe, we focused on understanding how those brands build their businesses around values. The workshop concluded with brilliant presentations from 4 groups on business ideas that they developed during the workshop, based on commonly shared values within each group.

Finally, we would like to thank our partners in Brazil, who made it possible for The Spirit of Poland to come to Rio. Especially, we would like to thank:
Paula Olivera de Camargo and the Centro Carioca de Design for hosting us.
Gabriel Patrocinio for making the initial connections and supporting us throughout the project.
Rodolfo Capeto from ESDI for a great support and hosting our workshop activities.
Fabio Palma from IED Rio for his support and hospitality as well.

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The exhibition is open until 16th of May, so if you are in Rio, please do come along to see it.