SXSW Eco tackles global design challenges

SXSW Eco is in essence an annual summit, which looks to find solutions – mainly through social design – to those big global challenges which pick away at the fabric of society, the economy, and the natural world.

 Ballroom Luminoso by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock, Creative Machines
Ballroom Luminoso by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock, Creative Machines

It is worth pointing out – and you’ve probably already noticed – that it’s brought to you by the same people behind SXSW, the annual festival that has the music industry falling over itself to find the next big thing.

Both events are held in Austin Texas, and the Eco summit, which takes place over three days, looks to evolve ‘actionable and profitable solutions.’

A packed schedule awaits those attending including a keynote from Shepard Fairey under the lofty title Art Will Save The World.

Design itself is one of several overriding themes and if you hit ‘design’ and ‘keynote’ on the schedule filter, this comes up spelling out plans for talks on biomimicry, urban design, and data visualization among other things.

New this year is Place By Design, a public space design competition, which celebrates innovation and rethinking of public spaces. The finalists have just been announced and they are all invited to exhibit.

There’s some hugely imaginative and eye catching stuff here, which sees emerging talents and big consultancies shortlisted side-by-side.

Anytype by Laura Devendorf and Kimiko Ryokai, UC Berkeley School of Information
Anytype by Laura Devendorf and Kimiko Ryokai, UC Berkeley School of Information

Anytype by Laura Devendorf and Kimiko Ryokai is an app encouraging us to transform everyday environments into typefaces. This image shows it in action rather well. 

Ballroom Luminoso is a transformative underpass, which has been turned into a ‘shadow theatre’ by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock of Creative Machines.

The Looper, by  RKTL Washington DC
The Looper, by RKTL Washington DC

The Looper by RTKL Washington DC is a river barge repurposed as a greenhouse, which collects, uses, filters, and returns water to the river in a remediated loop. 

Urban Air by Stephen Glassman has seen urban billboards transformed  into suspended bamboo gardens.

Urban Air by Stephen Glassman
Urban Air by Stephen Glassman

Program manager of SXSW Eco Chris Sonnier, says, ‘The common thread linking all of the finalists is their potential to change the way we all view and interact with public space.’

SXSW takes place from 7-9 October at the Austin Convention Centre, 500 E. Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78701

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  • Ed Haynes November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Such a good idea, sustainable ideologies transcending global barriers through art! Shame the Festival is held in Texas though.

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