Connecting Design and Industry – Ambient 2011
Better co-operation between industrial designers and industry is essential for innovative and competitive products
At the Ambient 2011 furniture fair at the Exhibition and Convention Centre the following event was organised: Connecting Design and Industry. Local and foreign industrial designers and representatives of manufacturing companies and educational institutions met to discuss the current state of Slovenian manufacturing companies and the untapped potential of the interdisciplinary networking between the industry and industrial designers as well as other professionals, who can together create innovative and competitive products with high added value.
The main speakers at the event were designers Ilkka Suppanen and Jure Miklavc. The Finnish designer Ilkka Suppanen from the progressive Snowcrash Design Cooperative, which operates as part of Studio Suppanen, presented the Finnish experience of cooperation between industrial design and manufacturing companies. This cooperation is good, as the innovation potential of the design profession is highly appreciated. The Finnish state has been systematically encouraging the development of the profession and its cooperation with industry for more than 60 years. “Finnish design and architecture are an integral part of Finland’s identity and are among the most important promoters of the country abroad because of their successes,” explained Suppanen. Jure Miklavc, is Head of Studio Miklavc and Assistant Professor at ALUO in the Department of Industrial and Unique Design, which is involved in the creation of products for Slovenian companies. He presented a successful example of an integrated approach to the development of Binom footwear, which directly indicates that an integrated approach to product development brings good business results in Slovenia and on international markets.
The event was concluded with a round table at which Jernej Repovš (SMJWT), Saša J. Maechtig (ALUO), Miloš Ebner (Trimo) and Jure Miklavc discussed the reasons for the poor co-operation between design and industry, the opportunities that good cooperation brings, the role of the education process and the policies of the state. The participants drew attention to the problem surrounding the low level of awareness of the potentials of industrial design and innovation on the part of Slovenian managers. Slovenian policies have, according to the findings of the speakers, no clear strategy of innovative development for the Slovenian economy, which could be comparable with the strategies of Finland, Denmark, France, Great Britain, etc. All participants agreed that the period of crisis must be regarded as an opportunity to banish bad practices and start focusing our working zeal on new approaches based on interdisciplinary integration and strategic cooperation.
Glimpses of the speakers at the event
prof. dr. Janez Koželj, Deputy Mayor, MOL:“The designer’s thinking is indispensable because it is comprehensive, analytical, integrative and oriented towards development. Our commitment to sustainable development brings us many new development challenges, which can only be successfully solved by creating opportunities for the well-functioning of the creative professions.”
Lilijana Madjar, Director, RRA LUR:“Promoting the development of the creative industries within the Ljubljana urban region can contribute solutions to the current challenges in the field of youth employment and innovation in the economy.”
Ville Cantell, First Secretary of the Embassy of Finland in Slovenia:“The experience of Finland shows that, with the considered encouragement of interdisciplinary integration of industry and the creative sectors, the two can collectively reach an innovative breakthrough.”
Tina Pezdirc Nograšek, RRA LUR:“The Institute for Economic Research, as part of the Creative Cities project, produced a detailed analysis of the situation of the creative industries in Slovenia. The results of this analysis indicate that industrial design is a sector, which has significant untapped potential in Slovenia. This is why we decided to carry out a pilot project in the coming months that will connect industrial designers and industrial companies as well as marketing experts, who can develop products with high added value by working together.”
Jernej Repovš, SMJWT:“The approach of Slovenian companies on the market is often immature and managers are not sufficiently trained for innovative business management.”
Saša J. Maechtig, ALUO:“A lack of competitive spirit and an insufficient number of finished products that are offered on the Slovenian and international markets can be sensed within Slovenian industry.”
Miloš Ebner, Trimo:“In the future, those production companies will find success that will identify opportunities for development in design and interdisciplinary innovation processes.”