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Toormix and Barcelona Centre de Disseny

Design is Future was born out of a union between one of main institutions of design promotion and dissemination in Spain, Barcelona Centre de Disseny (Barcelona Design Centre), and Toormix, a design studio founded in the year 2000 by Ferran Mitjans and Oriol Armengou in Barcelona.
Toormix has previously collaborated with BCD (Barcelona Centre de Disseny) during the 2015 and 2016 editions of BDW (Barcelona Design Week) as a design agency.

Toormix has always had the intention of working with design beyond a way of disseminating experiences about the impact it has on people as well as a concern to make it visible, including other approaches to design and education in a format of fair or conference.

Furthermore, it had been almost ten years that the BCD was holding the conference of BDW, and it needed a change in its way of doing things or a multidisciplinary orientation to act as a common denominator in each edition of BDW. This is how, given the connection that had been established with the BCD organization, Toormix was able to convey its idea at a conference.

Strength in numbers

Both teams converge in that they see design as a launch pad of change when it is understood to be something that goes beyond a way of doing things. This became the main objective of the event. In order to achieve this goal, they found an innovative format that would differ from a traditional city event: a “Congresstival.” It is the fusion of the Spanish words “conference” and “festival,” fusing the two concepts into a single format which would allow room for all kinds of activities.
Otro de los objetivos fue buscar un público más amplio y profesional, más allá de estudiantes y diseñadores (equipos de marketing, research, CEO’s, profesional docente, etc).
Another objective was to seek a broader and more professional audience, beyond students and designers (marketing teams, research, CEO’s, teaching professionals, etc.).

As for the format, one of our goals was to set up a network of professionals to create an environment where speakers and attendees could interact and have conversations around new visions of design. In addition, focus was added to intermediary events and activities happening before and after the conference, both for speakers and the rest of the attendees.

It is a different format, made for the different types of public, more than the usual unidirectional conference presentation.

In order to reach different types of attendees, 3 blocks of structured contents were commissioned in an independent, but unrelated manner: Profession, company, society. These three areas had to talk to each other about the future of design, selecting the speakers in a way that would cover the maximum amount of subthemes in each of the blocks so that a complete vision could be brought to the event. By doing this, the presentations connected directly to new topics, which at the time were discussed, like user experience or design thinking, which brought a more transversal and profound perspective to design.

Design is Future had a presenter as a moderator, Chris Grant, currently the senior director: Experimental UX, who helped give rhythm to the event, encouraging participation and connecting the attendees with the speakers.

What content did Design is Future have during its 2015 and 2016 editions?

Both editions integrated professional groups with agencies, companies backed by design thinking and other companies that had yet to be a part of events about design. The commission in charge of finding speakers aimed to bring new points of view to design and tie it to different fields of work: science, music, etc. The process to select speakers included a consensus of content which would be considered relevant to the audience.

Throughout the event, the user experience was enriched at every level. Not only in the conference program, but also in the the post-conference discussions: there were private tours around Barcelona for the speakers, informal discussions at Casa Bonay as well as the use of the mobile app, Meetmaps, which connected speakers to attendees.

In addition to the commission process, Toormix also worked to with the conceptualization and design of the campaign, plus the graphics of the event, both that of Barcelona Design Week as a contextual framework, and of the conference itself, which was co-organized with the BCD. A double campaign with a sole concept, but worked in a different manner in visual code, and corporate and communication applications. The Design is Future congrestival was also possible thanks to the sponsors, more notably GFT, Fabrica and Wetransfer.

During the process of the last edition of the festival, there was a collaboration with an employee of the Fabrica school, Laura Sans, and a documentary was made of the 2016 Design is Future congrestival.

Click here to watch the full documentary.

A more than satisfactory result

The feedback given to us by the participating companies that in the conference was very positive. The opinion of the companies was something that the whole team in charge of organization kept in mind. The congrestival managed to bring professionals from the business world to the world of design and to Design Week.
Design is Future is one of the few events in Barcelona that has managed to create links between participants, attendees, and speakers, new jobs and even professional friendships. Toormix has also continued collaborating with many of the speakers and participants of the event in other projects.

Design is Future is one of the few events in Barcelona that has managed to create links between participants, attendees, and speakers, new jobs and even professional friendships.

Regarding the documentary, since Laura was working for the Fabrica school, it helped give the work more content than that of a news report, which was what we initially had in mind.
Lastly, it is affirmed that the second edition of the Design is Future congrestival obtained a larger audience and had a stronger impact than the first thanks to the momentum gained during the first year of life of the project. Furthermore, we can conclude that part of this success was thanks to the endless work of the commission and the experience of both of the organization overseeing the project, BCD and Toormix, which has also evolved.

What we did

  • Event conceptualization
  • Direction & management
  • Content curatorship
  • Branding & identity
  • Design and art direction