Alfredo Brillembourg: Design can empower people

In an interview at this year’s What Design Can Do conference, Alfredo Brillembourg spoke about the ways design can be used to rethink values and empower people.

Architect and co-founder of Urban-Think Tank, Alfredo Brillembourg believes that design can have a major impact in cities and the urbanised world we live in today. At the 2013 What Design Can Do conference Brillembourg spoke about various projects that look at uplifting communities and empowering people of all ages.

I’m less impressed by an aesthetic of a project, I’m interested in what impact it had and how it engaged a community, says Brillembourg.

Brillembourg spoke about how Urban-Think Tank rethought what a school for autistic children could be in order to make them feel more comfortable and increase their learning capabilities. “The whole building is a ramp and all classrooms are transparent. This has changed the way children feel about going to school as they can see everything that is going on around them,” says Brillembourg.

He further spoke about the ways in which he wishes to reknit architects, NGOs and industries in order to rethink cities, as they are complex.

We need to adapt design and find ways in which corporate responsibility rethinks projects and products, says Brillembourg.

Searching for an alternative urbanism, Urban-Think Tank’s Metrocable project allows people residing on a hill in an informal settlement to have easy access to the city. “The cable car allows for a tightknit community where all residents can move about freely and feel empowered,” says Brillembourg.

Believing that design will slowly move towards a space where the community has the biggest say, Brillembourg encourages local designers to add innovation, as they are the ones who truly understand the situation that need to be rethought.