Universal design, a principle that seeks to design products and services that are accessible to the widest possible group of users. Our aim is to better map how this topic is perceived by designers and architects in the Czech Republic, what is the potential for further development and to encourage the involvement of a new generation. 

Within Europe we observe different perceptions of this principle, and therefore Zlin Design Week creates a space for discussion, different perspectives and experiences. The partners of the project, which is supported by the EEA Funds, are Kreativní Praha and Design and Architecture Norway (DOGA). Indeed, Norway is among the countries that have been incorporating the universal design approach into legislation and strategies for more than 15 years, and has become a huge role model for other designers and architects in Europe. 

What the project brings?

  • trips to Norway and the Czech Republic, which will be available to selected students
  • interesting speakers at two conferences (Zlin Design Week 2022 and 2023)
  • research mapping the perception of universal design among Czech designers and architects (autumn/winter 2022)
  • workshops to test the principle on a specific assignment and to connect young designers, business and the public sector (Zlin Design Week 2023)
  • an exhibition dedicated to universal design (Zlin Design Week 2023)
  • an independent web platform that will serve as a basis for the long-term development of the issue

Design and Architecture Norway

The goal of DOGA is for Norway to use design and architectural competence to create economic, social and cultural opportunities, environmental value for the business community and the public sector. Therefore, they focus on connecting creative talents and business, thereby empowering design and architecture in the country’s development process, social conditions, and creating solutions to meet future challenges. Their projects are based on three key principles: connect, experiment and learn. These create a space for new solutions, their testing, discussion, increasing competences and the value of innovation. 

Creative Prague

Creative Prague is an organization of the capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague. Its goal is to conceptually develop culture and creative industries and implement these knowledge to specific culture projects and the development of Prague Creative Centre. This is based on the belief that culture and human creativity are indispensable for high quality life and cities. Creative Prague’s approach to this change is through systematic data collection, conceptual approach to culture, raising awareness about creative industries and business and cultural emancipation of the city centre. It is important for them to base these activities on interdisciplinary cooperation, communication, knowledge sharing and strategic approach to the city culture.

What was the first field trip to the Czech Republic like?

The first field trip to the Czech Republic took place from 6 to 13 May during Zlin Design Week 2022. The excursion was attended by Jannicke Holen and Knut Bang (DOGA) and 3 Norwegian students. You had the opportunity to meet Jannicke and Knut as speakers at the ZDW Conference, where they presented inclusive design thinking. Did you miss the Conference? Listen to the podcast that Design KANTINA prepared with them! The students visited the conference, workshops, openings and fashion show, where they met other designers from the Czech Republic and abroad and also actively participated in the festival programme themselves – Herman Freng Bilett, one of the students, prepared a workshop for the visitors about inclusive design in intergenerational relationships. The excursion also included a tour of local businesses. 

What were you able to experience and who did you meet at the ZDW 2022 Conference?

Rama Gheerawo, Ivelina Gadzheva, Bori Fehér, Mariana Chytilová as well as Jannicke Holen and Knut Bang. The Conference brought together diverse personalities from across Europe who are committed to creating more inclusive environments, products and services through design. We had the opportunity to compare different approaches from Norway, England, Hungary and Bulgaria and compare them with accessibility solutions in Czech institutions. The Conference also included a panel discussion with representatives of the creative industries in Zlín, a podcast was created which you can listen to right now and in the meantime you can look forward to the online recordings which we will publish in spring 2023. 

ZDW Exhibition Design Lab 2021

ZDW Exhibition Design Lab is a project created on the basis of a growing demand for interdisciplinary and capable young designers, artists and managers. A project that brought new collaborations, ideas and visions.

As part of the project, we focused on the interaction between the work of art and the audience, both offline and online. Our goal was to provide participants new skills and support sharing across different cultures and parts of creative industries.

In February 2021, we hosted the ZDW Exhibition Design Lab Conference, inviting several interesting personalities to present their views on the presentation of art in a virtual environment. We continued with a workshop for young artists from the Visegrad region and Serbia, created an online exhibition for Zlin Design Week 2021 and finally we met in person in Zlín.

What’s next? The ZDW Exhibition Design Lab is officially over but further networking and sharing of know-how is certainly not. We are currently working on new things and let you know about them in time!

How did the ZDW Exhibition Design Lab look like?

A group of young cultural managers, designers and others involved in the creative industries met during the last meeting in Zlín. In addition to exploring our favorite city, the program included a workshop with Richard Loskot and the UAII Studio during which participants discussed current approaches to presenting a work of art, interacting with the audience and created their own exhibition concepts.

The project partners were also given space to hold a diverse range of lectures related to their focus and we met with local entrepreneurs who introduced what is currently happening in the field of creative industries in Zlín.

Online talk: Journey to Trenčín 2026

Did you miss the ZDW Exhibition Design Lab this year? Don’t worry! We saved one online lecture for you with our partner, the festival of digital arts Sensorium. Lucia introduces you to the journey of the Slovakian city of Trenčín to become the European Capital of Culture 2026.

ZDW Exhibition Design Lab Conference

Want to learn more? You can also watch recordings from the Conference on exhibition design in the online environment. This is the great combo of lecturers who you can learn from:

Anything Else Besides the Logic of Gaming and Film?
Curating in Pandemic Times: from Challenges to Advantages
Design experiences for safety, intimacy, and delight
Designing a video exhibition: bringing a physical experience into the screen
Festivals: Virtual Worlds and New Audiences
Moving online? Not so fast. Exhibitions between physical and virtual environments.
Creating an online experience
WebXR in art and education

The first workshop and outcomes

Full of a new gained inspiration from the conference, we threw ourselves into practical testing of possible tools and approaches for creating online exhibitions. 25 participants lead by Anika Kronberger from FH Joanneum in Gratz created a concept for the upcoming exhibition Zlin Design Week 2021. The exhibition presented dozens of projects by young designers from several countries on the topic of COOPERATION. The exhibition is already closed but you can have a peek into its catalogue or the video:

Who are the project partners?

The project is supported by the Visegrad Fund