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Published: 2023-04-25 Updated: 2023-05-04, 16:37

The design world turns its gaze towards Umeå

NEWS Umeå Institute of Design’s popular graduation event at the end of May is paired this year with Sweden's largest design competition – Design S - Swedish Design Awards – as it travels to Umeå. For the first time in 40 years, the prestigious event is venturing beyond the nation’s capital.

Text: Jens Persson

On May 30, UID23 | Design Talks & Degree Show kicks off. Since the turn of the century, Umeå Institute of Design's graduation event has emerged as an international hub for the design industry. For two days, students present their degree projects to a global audience through stage presentations, via 3D models and digital visualizations. During the evening exhibition, visitors can further delve into the students' visions and explore physical models, graphic posters, and video exhibitions.

On May 31, UID23 closes with a select few invited speakers. They include Beno Juarez who runs a floating fab lab on the Amazon giving local communities along the river access to technological tools to help them cope with their daily challenges with water, energy, health, food, and education. On stage, we will also see Diana Africano Clark, UID alumna and Design S nominee in the – Digital Services and Products – category for her work with Kivra.

That same evening, the Design S - Swedish Design Awards gala event is taking place at Väven in central Umeå as this year's awardees are set to be announced. During the event, winners will be presented in twelve categories, among them architecture, product design, furniture, and service design. All categories are considered with sustainability as the primary assessment criterion.

Among the nominees for Design S, we find everything from a climate calculator for the Swedish film industry, to a smart waterless toilet, to a home test for sperm quality. One of the nominees in the new category – Design for Systemic Transformation – has, with the help of VR technology, created an empathy-generating tool where polarized groups are able to step into each other's worlds.

Ambra Trotto, Design and Research Director of d.centre|EU at RISE and Associate Professor at UID, has been involved in developing the new category.

"Design has an important role to play when Sweden, and the entire EU, tackles the green transition. This applies to both digital and social transformation. This new category opens up for nominations from all over Europe, because it is only together that we can create beautiful, sustainable futures", says Ambra Trotto.

The student projects presented during UID23 also bear a strong connection to societal transformation, both social and environmental. This year's project crop includes, among others, a green digitization of small-scale agriculture, reconstruction of social networks through public transport and digital experiences for a fossil-free internet.

Yearly, the degree projects attract long-distance representatives from education, research and multinational companies to Umeå. During UID23, they will follow up collaborations with students, look at demonstrations and portfolios, and recruit the next generation of industrial designers.

UID23 | Design Talks & Degree Show takes place at Umeå Institute of Design 30–31 May, and is an invitation-only event. For the curious public, however, it is possible to follow the event live online and there is already an opportunity to get a sneak a peek of the students' visions in the UID23 | Project Gallery.

Design S – Swedish Design Awards happen on the evening of May 31 at Väven, located by the Umeälven. Design S is also an invitation-only event. Design S is presented together with Balticgruppen and Design by Umeå. The award is carried out in collaboration with RISE, SVID and Umeå Institute of Design, with the support of Polestar and Tarkett. Here, you can get a preview of the nominees for Design S in 2023.

For more information, please contact:

Jens Persson
Communications officer