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International perspective on CHANGE @RDW 2020: Paulina Kisiel

  • 18 Septembrie 2020
  • Festival news

2020 is a year of change and the 8th edition of Romanian Design Week explores this theme, so we were curious to find out how professionals from the creative industries interpret the idea of change today.

Their opinions can be found in the Possible Realities exhibition, part of @CHANGE, which takes place at Combinatul Fondului Plastic between 11th-20th of September.

Paulina has more than 12 years of experience in the world of design.Since 2012, she is involved in creating a new quality of the Gdynia Design Days festival, as well as other ongoing activities under PPNT Gdynia | Design Centre. As a Director, her daily work focuses on precise observation of trends in order to tailor the festival programme to user needs and touch on the most heavily disputed issues.

Awarded the title of Strategist of the Year 2017 by Design Alive magazine, Paulina also governs her own architectural practice — She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Gdansk University of Technology and Design Management at SWPS.


  1. How do you think the pandemic will change the world: the way we live or interact with others, with the cities we live in, and with spaces in general?

The time of lockdown has given us unexpected time. Some of us dealt with this situation by stocking up on food, others, trying to catch up, took up further development paths. Some of us turned to body selfcare, for others it was important to strengthen the contact with nature. We started to perform completely new rituals, creating a new everyday life for ourselves. A natural division was created as well – people who can work remotely, and those who have to commute to their workplace. The pandemic has irreversibly changed the way we work and the way we will work in the future. Our homes had to be quickly adapted to the needs of remote work, as to separate the private space from the professional one. In the future, this change will certainly generate many new needs and thus, solutions. In the context of the city, the means of transport and the processes taking place is in great need of redesigning. Certainly, many applications related to the provision of services, buying tickets or tracking the course of the trip will facilitate safer movement. Already, many solutions tracking our behaviour are being prototyped in order to be able to quickly and efficiently prevent the spread of a virus. However, we must remember that all devices and mechanisms that use metadata also have a dark side, and are very dangerous in the context of controlling or influencing our consumer behaviour.

  1. How will the pandemic change the role of design in the future?

During these pandemic times we cannot forget that good design nowadays requires decisions that stop the production of waste and include circularity from the very beginning of the creation process. Current shifts in design approach to circular economy gives the designer the biggest power but at the same time responsibility. In my opinion, the key to success is putting humans in the centre. That means thinking about the future not only the current present. Design always has been and will be an effective tool for solving complex problems. Especially now we need intelligent and sustainable solutions that can increase people’s health and safety to be able to change the shape of the future.

  1. Is creativity an essential tool for adapting and/or for change? And is the current trajectory of design leading us to a better world, in your opinion?

Thanks to popularizing good design – not ones with a fancy form and styling, but the wise ones that solve real problems – it is possible to expand the awareness of people not related to the industry. Free access to information, resources, and tools builds collective wisdom and thus social responsibility. Often, in a local context, we have to implement solutions and changes related to global problems, such as climate change or Covid-19. It is important to build a community that makes responsible decisions. Thanks to easy access to knowledge, as well as enabling familiarization with good practices and innovative solutions, it translates into real improvement. For increasing the awareness of an individual translates into global changes.

  1. How was the design world affected by the pandemic, and how can it become more relevant and more resilient?

Mainly it is the economic consequences – which will affect us all. All crises accelerate the changes to which we have been resistant for years. During the pandemic, many of us have certainly slowed down and reduced consumerism, and we have also tried to verify what is really valuable and strengthened the trend of socially responsible design. Today, design is more and more often not only beautiful items, but mainly responding to real, relevant needs. If it remains so, it will certainly be crisis-proof.

  1. What do you think will happen next in the design world?

I hope using mindfulness and awareness will increase. We should pay more attention to relationships and how we function on a daily basis. Not only the pandemic, but most of all climate change and the ecological crisis forced us to reduce our global consumerism. I hope that the future related to the world of design will go in the direction of reducing the negative impact of humans on the environment. I would like us to deepen relationships with other people and nature. We should focus on the common good to create a sustainable economy based not on growth but on social well-being.


Romanian Design Week 2020, an event presented by The Institute and UniCredit Bank, will take place between September 11th-20th, and this year will develop a special edition, designed to highlight the essential role of design in conceiving a better future, in a period in which creativity became more important than ever. The festival addresses CHANGE, the theme announced since the beginning of the year, updating its discourse and projects presented in accordance with the transformations and contributions brought by the creative industries during the pandemic, under the title CHANGE 2.0.