"Design In An Age of Crisis" a global Open Call for radical design thinking

Chatham House and London Design Biennale

Einreichfrist: 31. August 2020
On the 22nd of July 2020, London, UK - London Design Biennale and Chatham House published  the Open Call for Design In An Age of Crisis, inviting radical design thinking from the world's design community, young people and the public.

Seeking to harness the creativity that comes from crisis, the Open Call will look for innovative design thinking across four critically affected areas - Health, Environment, Society and Work – considering how to create healthier, greener, equal and prosperous societies.
The Opportunity

An exhibition of the most innovative design submissions will be presented online by London Design Biennale and Chatham House in Autumn 2020, with a selection also exhibited at the third edition of London Design Biennale at Somerset House in June 2021. Chatham House further aims to work with a number of selected submissions to help make the design thinking a reality.

The Briefs

Open to all, from established practices to budding young designers across all design disciplines, Design In An Age Of Crisis seeks to find radical and rapid responses to problems facing humanity, today and tomorrow, in response to four briefs.

The briefs address the many issues which the current Covid-19 pandemic has either shone a light on or further exacerbated, including: the poor health and unhealthy living situations of millions of people across the world; the climate emergency; social and economic inequalities; and the rapid transformations in work and the economy affecting employment and livelihood opportunities.

The OPEN CALL consists of four briefs created by an international steering group of over fifty designers, academics, entrepreneurs and business leaders:

  • Environment: Building back greener: how can we design better places?
  • Health: From illness to wellness: how can design make it easier to be healthy?
  • Society: Equality for all: how can design help empower everyone?
  • Work: Making work work for us: how can work be designed to be more meaningful?
All four briefs can be found here. For young people, there is a specially designed brief also available.
Submissions can be in any format and any stage of thought, from a simple sketch to a fully developed concept. The deadline for submissions is 31st of August 2020, and full guidelines and further details are available here.

Sir John Sorrell CBE, President, London Design Biennale, said: "In the face of a crisis, smart design thinking proves time and again to be an invaluable resource – designers are hard-wired to respond to complex problems with agility and ingenuity. Open dialogue and co-operation are also inherent to the design world. This partnership between London Design Biennale and Chatham House, and our Open Call, ‘Design in an Age of Crisis’, is borne of that collaborative spirit, and will enable both of us to show how design can be used to effect positive change where it is needed most.”

Rose Abdollahzadeh, Managing Director of Research Partnerships, Chatham House, said: "This collaboration with London Design Biennale launches the Chatham House SNF CoLab - an initiative to bring many more people into discussions about how to solve the world’s most critical problems. Our partnership brings together two London-based organisations both focused on fostering international dialogue and cooperation. By harnessing the creativity of the global design community around some key global challenges, we hope to bring the worlds of design and policymaking together to produce effective solutions."


The four steering groups were co-chaired by:

  • Alice Rawsthorn, Design Critic and Author, and Kara Hanson, Professor of Health System Economics, LSHTM (Health)
  • Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, and Keith Priest, Architect and Co- Founder, Fletcher Priest (Environment)
  • Lisa Witter, Co-Founder & Executive Chair, Apolitical, and Ben Terrett, CEO Public Digital (Society)
  • Lucy Parker, Senior Partner, Brunswick Group, and Professor Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design, RCA (Work).
Full participants available here