CityFactory: New Work. New Design.

CityFactory: New Work. New Design.

21. Juni – 1. Oktober
MAK- Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art,
Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna

Six “demonstrators” within the city and the sweeping exhibition at the MAK make visions of new fields of work in the digital future tangible from a design perspective.

In front of a background of increasing digitalization and rapid climate change, this exhibition renegotiates the topic of work from a design perspective. Advancing automation and the growing deployment of robots are radically changing our working environment. The political demand for full employment must be revisited in light of these developments.

Humans’ responsibility for climate change and the knowledge that societies in the Global North have an ecological footprint of 2 ½ Planet Earths are forcing us to rethink production and consumption. Post-industrial societies cannot continue to be concerned only with innovations for the mass market and constant economic growth. More than ever, it has become necessary to make knowledge, technologies, and materials available so that we can locally and collaboratively produce that which we need to live—without thereby destroying the environment or exploiting workers in low-wage countries.


For design, these challenges are accompanied by great opportunities, if the discipline turns to new assignments due to the transition from the industrial to digital modernity. New Design develops alternative modes of action for sustainable and meaningful design fields: The topics NEW CREATIVE WORK, NEW SOCIAL WORK, AND NEW SUSTAINABLE WORK show on the one hand that design can create work for society, and on the other, the new occupational design fields that will open up in the future.


New Design is based on a new concept of work. Social philosopher Frithjof Bergmann’s eponymous model is a concept for a more fair division of labor. He suggests a three-part system: 1/3 gainful employment, 1/3 self-provisioning, and 1/3 work that we really, really want to do. New work doesn’t ask what will sell, but what we need. The logic of the market is complemented by the logic of the common good.

Participants of the exhibition:
Air Quality Egg enables local measurement and worldwide collection of air data by citizens and provides information about one of our most important common goods—air. apertus°AXIOM is a professional, open source film camera developed with a view to longevity, flexibility, and affordability. With its installation Peak Plastic, breadedEscalope relates the masses of manufactured plastics to a human scale. With a workshop, Caritas/EOOS demonstrate the potential of creative work—in terms of self-organization and community-building—for
people in the asylum process. Fair Cap Open Water Filter is an open source project for an inexpensive water filter cleaning contaminated water. With their motto “Fear less, build more,” Girls Garage outfits girls with confidence
and tools. With BillaBank, Alexander Hagner / gaupenraub +/- documents a creative intervention to counter the exclusion of marginalized groups from public space. Jesko Fezer & Studio Experimentelles Design show a specific place in the city where local everyday life issues can be collectively shaped. Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation further develops the WikiHouse concept and aggregates individual components into a WikiVillage. MakerNurse furnishes nursing staff with tools and resources and makes medical-technological inventions realizable right in the workplace. Mz* Baltazar’s Laboratory offers an inclusive, open, and safe approach for using new technologies. NANK | Co:llaboratory is developing a New Work center. With its Open Source Bionic Hand, Open Bionics team shows a technologically sophisticated hand prosthesis, which is intended to be affordable for affected people worldwide via 3-D printing. OpenStructures applies the principles of the commons to research the possibilities of modular modes of building for decentralized production. Magdalena Reiter transforms a handmade porcelain container into an open source design for digital production. With Lucky Larry’s Cosmic Commune, Jerszy Seymour presents an experimental community project for new living and working.  Christian Tod’s Free Lunch Society helps answer the question of how New Design can be financed. With Melting Pot Table, Dirk Vander Kooij deposits 90 kg of mixed types of plastic for all eternity. Teresa van Dongen’s Ambio generates light—solely through bioluminescent microorganisms in motion. WikiHouse is the name of an interdisciplinary team, an open design process, and a transformable modular building system for affordable housing. Wolford is developing biodegradable lingerie and hose as an example of sustainable consumer goods. Yara Said/The Refugee Nation plants a flag as a symbol for the millions of people searching for a safe place to live.

The exhibition is appointed with furniture from the Social Furniture Collection by Caritas/EOOS.

Get the New Design Manifesto here!

Curators:Martina Fineder, Harald Gruendl, Ulrike Haele (IDRV)
Curatorial Assistance: Viktoria Heinrich
Exhibition Design: EOOS – Lotte Kristoferitsch
Graphic Design: walking chairs design studio
Project Coordination: Janina Falkner (MAK)
Exhibition Management: Suzanna Futterknecht, Viktoria Calvo-Tomek (MAK)
Exhibition Dates: 21. Juni – 1. Oktober

The research laboratory StadtFabrik [City Factory] is a project resulting from the partnership between the MAK and the Vienna Business Agency with its creative center departure, curated by the IDRV. The goal of the City Factory is discovering and raising awareness about urban potentialities in the creative industries.

Photos: Exhibition, VIENNA BIENNALE 2017: Roboter. Arbeit. Unsere Zukunft StadtFabrik: Neue Arbeit. Neues Design. , MAK-Ausstellungshalle © Peter Kainz/MAK