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Designers in Residence Kortrijk celebrates tenth anniversary

Our Designers in Residence programme is celebrating its tenth edition this year. Every year since 2014, Designers in Residence Kortrijk, organised by Designregio Kortrijk, receives three recently graduated designers from all over the world and from different creative disciplines for a residency programme in Kortrijk. The programme is unique in Belgium and the only residency for designers.

During a three-month residency, the selected designers get the unique opportunity to develop an experimental concept through confrontation between citizens, society, entrepreneurs and education in regions like Kortrijk. Each year there is a different theme around which the three residents work.

The first edition of the project in 2014 brought designers from Italy, France and Sweden to Kortrijk, who were impressed by the potential and facilities offered by the city. They were particularly impressed by Buda Island as a location and fertile breeding ground for creativity, as well as the city and region's promised commitment.

It was immediately clear to them that the small region of Kortrijk nevertheless offers very powerful connections, not only as a community in general, but also specifically within the design landscape that Kortrijk boasts.

The three designers saw the city's small scale as an opportunity. They saw it as a challenge to design for the community, or even 'design the community', but also as an added value for themselves as designers and for the city. These are exactly the goals of this project: giving and receiving knowledge, added value and opportunities.

The Designers in Residence project has since successfully contributed to fostering creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. In 2017, Kortrijk was awarded the label of UNESCO Creative Cities Network, a global network of 350 cities committed to creativity to create a more liveable, even more pleasant environment for their inhabitants. Kortrijk was awarded within the field of design.

But the residents themselves also have a bright future afterwards. For instance, Guillaume Morillon, Designer in Residence in 2016, is now a designer at the world-renowned studio Sabine Marcelis; Yun Pei Hsiung, who was one of the three residents in 2019, is now Creative Director at The Hive Lab in Shanghai; and Nicolas Zanoni, who last year reflected his impression of Kortrijk in a collection of unique objects made of raw aluminium, is now assistant designer at Destroyers/builders.

Through our Designers in Residence Kortrijk programme, designers from Taiwan, Syria, Italy, United Kingdom, Korea, Portugal, India, Japan, Germany, Sweden and USA, among others, came to Kortrijk for a residency on themes such as 'Urban Nature', 'Urban Leisure', 'small living and tiny houses' or 'daydreaming' over the past ten years. We gave them support, opportunities and a workplace, they gave us new insights and knowledge. Through this system of giving and receiving, we create growth, both as a city, as a community, as a company and as a designer - on a personal, professional, physical and intellectual level.

Lise Van Tendeloo, Project Manager Designers in Residence Kortrijk

2024: All the Small Things

In collaboration with Design Museum Gent, the theme "All the Small Things" was chosen for this anniversary edition. "All the Small Things" aims to focus on the role of small details in creating a sustainable future. It explores the possible relationships and synergies between low-tech and high-tech design to find sustainable design solutions for the future.

During the residency period, designers will be inspired by the community in Kortrijk and Ghent and challenged to experiment, research, knowledge exchange and imagination.

The selected designers will also participate in the LIVING SUMMERSCHOOL, a annual informal education programme that brings together young people to lead multidisciplinary experiments in territorial innovation in response to the urgent need for quick, effective action to address socio-environmental problems within realistic social models.

During the WONDER Creativity Festival from 17 October to 3 November, the residents will also have the chance to showcase their (ongoing) research to the general public.

This year's residents will be announced in mid-July. The residency programme itself runs from Monday 2 September to Friday 29 November.

If you would like to connect with our residents, be sure to contact Lise Van Tendeloo at lise@designregio-kortrijk.be.

Dieter Van Caneghem PHENOMENA0 1 010
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