A couple of members of the team Lauren and Eden, attended Off Grid 17 this week, an experience design conference in Wellington that focused on the intersection of communication design and the built environment. Framed as a 'non-conference conference', there was a focus on experiencing Wellington as a city, participating and connecting with fellow attendees, and listening to what local and international practitioners are achieving in the field.
The conference began as an experiential journey which bought people from cities around the world, with stop overs in Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Christchurch. Starting in Auckland, the team went to Open Studio at Alt Group where the hosts showcased their work.
As part of the conference we were encouraged to take an experiential journey to Wellington, we achieved this but didn't exactly plan it (Wellington fog and diverted flights, need I say more). Highlights included excellent coffee, inspiring local talent, and great key note speakers. The diversity amongst disciplines was refreshing, key themes were inclusivity, being welcoming and creating conversations. "We are all designers. Stop separating and start collaborating for true authentic connection" – Andrew Balster, Archeworks. Morag Myerscough reminded us of the importance of play in a huge range of work – from installations in Mexico and exhibition design, to hospital wards in Sheffield, and she discussed the eternal love triangle of designer, maker, user.
"As designers we have the ethical imperative [to invent new sustainable ways of living]. As citizens, we have the ethical imperative to make our governments develop and embrace this new way of being in the world. As individuals we have the ethical imperative to everything we can do to contribute to this way of working, with the greatest possible urgency to overcome the challenges that we face! — Bruce Mau, Now we can do anything, what will we do?"
— Andrew Balster, Archeworks