Mine clearing equipment, wheelchairs for children in Guatemala, ecological urinal for slum areas and computers for young people living in villages. Design without Borders has for more than ten years developed products for and with developing countries and connected designers from the South with Norwegian companies. The objective is to create good, inexpensive solutions that can be produced locally.
The exhibition Design without borders – Creating Change presents the products and solutions in the local context for which they have been created. The ecological urinal has been placed in a slum setting, and the wheelchair can be tried out on a cobblestone street. You can try out the new mine-clearing equipment while actually searching for mines and inside an emergency shelter you will find an earthquake simulator.
Just as important as the finished products is Design without Borders’ work method. Through text, photos, and videos the exhibition communicates the important design process that lies behind the products.
The Norwegian Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås opened the exhibition 20 September in Oslo. The exhibition has received good reviews in norwegian newspapers. Guided tours of the exhibition every Sunday at 2 pm throughout the exhibition period.
Urinals and bicycle paths
The exhibition shows products and solutions developed by Design without Borders and the programme’s collaborating partners.
Here are some of the projects presented in the exhibition:
In-depth design method
The method that Design without Borders has used to arrive at the different solutions is just as important as the solutions in themselves.
Through a long-term and mutual collaboration between one or more designers in Norway and local partners in the South, design expertise is passed on to the local population and local stakeholders, while local ownership in relation to the project is simultaneously secured.
A strong focus on user input throughout the entire design process ensures that the products are adapted to the users and their local context.
The motorcycle helmet, for example, has been developed taking into account the heat and traffic conditions in Uganda. In contrast to the imported helmets found on the Ugandan market today, the newly developed helmet has good ventilation and ear holes for better hearing. The helmet is also adapted to head shapes and head sizes in Uganda.
INFORMATION FOR ALL: The children in a youth club in Uganda crowd around an early prototype of an information kiosk. Designer Neil Ryan from Design without Borders observes. Photo: Kjersti Gjems Vangberg
Building design expertise in the South
Design without Borders and Fredskorpset organise internships for designers from the South in Norwegian companies.
This experience increases the designers’ professional expertise and is considered beneficial to their future careers. The Norwegian companies also benefit in turn, acquiring professional knowledge and cultural inspiration.
In a larger social perspective, the increased competency contributes to the development of a professional community in the designers’ native countries.
Design without Borders receives funding from Fredskorpset, Norad, and Norsk Form and collaborating partners include Unicef, Norwegian People’s Aid, and a number of other international organisations and companies.
INTERNSHIP IN NORWAY: At Laerdal Medical Industrial Designer Paulina Quiñones Gonzalez from Guatemala has developed a birthing simulator that may contribute to reduce childbirth related deaths in development countries.
For the exhibition Norsk Form has produced a comprehensive, abundantly illustrated catalogue presenting Design without Borders’ most important projects. The catalogue also includes a series of texts that illuminate the theme of design and development, written by prominent professionals within these fields.
- Ravi Naidoo (Director of Design Indaba)
- Nabeel Hamdi (Professor of Housing and Urban Development, Oxford Brookes University)
- Øyvind Eggen (Senior Researcher at NUPI)
- Vibeke Trålim (Assistant Director of Section for Economic Development at Norad)
- Nita Kapoor (Director General of Fredskorpset)
The catalogue can be purchased at the DogA shop starting on 20 September, and through www.norskform.no.
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