Daniel Charny on the action of designing

At Design Indaba Conference 2013, Daniel Charny inspires future “makers”, explores unconventional ways of presenting content and talks about “fixing”.

Daniel Charny is an independent curator and co-founder of the creative projects consultancy From Now On. At Design Indaba Conference 2013, he describes the way he approaches projects and the importance of craft for society and for the future.

Charny is more interested in the action of designing rather than the products that design endeavours produce. Since 1992 he has been learning how to teach design and its processes to various people. Through education, Charny explores unconventional exhibition models, storytelling, different design contexts, borders of contemporary design and new formats of generating content.

A project titled “The Incidental” took place during Milan Furniture Fair 2010 and looked at new ways of creating content. Using various social media platforms through which the general public could voice their experiences of exhibitions, the informal side of the event was revealed. “People who couldn’t attend had a way into the conversation and experienced the event in a new manner,” he says.

Each project for me generates a new template and a new way to reach more people instead of repeating traditional formats, Charny says.

Charny is also interested in looking at how a collection can become meaningful and how using the mode of exhibiting design can become a way of understanding the impact of design on many lives.

The Power of Making explores that. The exhibition, commissioned by the Victoria and Alfred Museum in London, looked at contemporary issues of craft and how perceptions of it can be updated.

I believe craft is everywhere. It’s one of the most important things to understand in order to negotiate the future, says Charny.

The exhibition looked further at whether there are similarities between master craftsmen and people who, in some way or another, use a form of craft every day. Through the celebration of the breadth and depth of craft and the linking of skills to imagination, Power of Making became the most attended free exhibition in the history of the Victoria and Alfred Museum with more than 320 000 visitors.

Charny launched the website for his latest project “Fixperts” on stage at Design Indaba Conference 2013. In collaboration with designer James Carrigan, the duo developed an initiative to try and get the action of “fixing” back into society.

Fixing is a type of making that is very accessible and we need to embrace this concept, Charny says.

Fixperts aims to look at the kind of impact a designer can make on someone’s life and connects designers with people who need a little help. Designers are challenged to identify a problem or something that could be improved, no matter how big or small, and use flexible thinking to make life easer for another person.

Together we can discover the creative and social impact of design, says Charny.