The New European Bauhaus at the center of the BDW 2021

On June 10 took place the round table “The New European Bauhaus” where different representatives of companies, schools and institutions of Barcelona reflected on this new project of the European Union and the three concepts in its backbone: beauty, inclusivity and sustainability. Mention was also made of the importance of the project for the economic reactivation and business fabric of the city.

Xavier Torras, Director of Brand and Communication at Roca, highlighted the suitability of the New European Bauhaus at the time we are living: “it is the appropriate platform for the spirit of transformation. The pandemic has shown what is necessary and that has led to the society, the industry, the administration… look at the deficiencies they had and accelerate processes that in the past were more difficult to implement due to more conservative attitudes”. Regarding the creative industry, he assured that it is “the one that can find different solutions to current problems”.

Salvi Plaja, Simon‘s Design Director, turned his attention to the industry. “If the idea is to grow through sustainability, the NEB seems like a great way to reindustrialize Europe”. Regarding the difficulties faced by companies this last year (scarcity of resources, no local manufacturing, the difficulty of logistics…), Plaja added that “design without industry makes no sense and industry without design will not be able to achieve the objectives of the NEB”.

Jordi Díaz Giralt, Senior Project Manager at Kave Home, spoke mainly about sustainability: “the product has to be sustainable for the end customer. I would not like that in the end it causes a rise in the prices of the raw material to be able to follow this logic and that the end customer cannot access a product of quality and economically sustainable”. To do this, he proposes “to create a product with an attractive design and that has durability, that is within the concept of the NEB, that includes the artisan, new technologies”.

Anna Ramos, Director of Fundació Mies Van der Rohe, stressed that although the initiative is completely new on the part of the European Union, the movement has been underway for some time: “In the field of design, architecture, urbanism we see our cities transforming. The NEB has to be an accolade to what is already happening and help to detect these vectors that are still obstacles, but what was an alternative stream must become the mainstream”.

For Alessandro Manetti, CEO of IED Spain, the New European Bauhaus “is a historic opportunity for all of Europe. As after all disasters on a historical level, there has been a reaction from society. In this case, this reaction can be guided through the process of design, cultural and creative economies in order to rethink the model of European society in which we are living, and think not only about people but also about the great challenges of the  contemporary complexity of life: sustainability, generating projects that have a deep social impact, using technological tools in a correct way in favor of the human being, generating a new humanism from the cultural point of view, integrating cultural diversity and exporting a model of life”.

Albert Fuster, Academic Director of Elisava, highlighted the focus of the NEB, which is design, and not so much the political or economic lines. “There are great challenges in the digital environment, of materials, of sustainability, of humanity, and I think the opportunity that is offered is very important, an assumption that design greatly conditions the way of life“. He also spoke of the importance of networking and projects. “Design schools believe in projects and we believe in the performative capacity to create the world, to generate spaces for human coexistence, for inclusion. I think that in a network and with an open workspace there is a lot of potential”.

Isabel Roig, Director of Barcelona Design centre, reflected on the importance of elevating the conversation about design to other dimensions. Regarding the European Union, she added “I think it is important that they have made this move, because it is a way of positioning that design goes far beyond objects, final resolutions, but that we are really rethinking this world in which we want to live with a slightly more humanistic vision, perhaps less technological”. She also highlighted the need to include businesses and to link the initiative with NextGeneration EU funded projects.

The round table was held at the Roca Barcelona Gallery facilities, was moderated by La Vanguardia journalist Felip Vivanco and had a zero row headed by Félix Ortega, General Director of Barcelona Activa, Mireia Escobar, Director of Disseny Hub Barcelona, ​​and Oriol Estela, general coordinator of the Barcelona Metropolitan Strategic Plan (PEMB). They all highlighted the importance of allying industry and design in order to achieve the goals of the New European Bauhaus and the Green Deal.