The Blank of Ideas at 100% Design London conceived and curated by Corridor.

question-rsaThe phone call suggested we take a last minute free space at 100% Design on the main boulevard. It was a tempting offer, but what shall we do with the space, and in less than three weeks?

The 100% Design show attracts over 35,000 people annually, so the thought of trying to harness the creative thinking and energy that passes through the space, was the ambition.

Entitled The Blank of Ideas, we invited several leading industry experts from design backgrounds, to put forward socially provocative questions. We would turn the negative space into a social thinking hub.

We called on our collective, and asked a range of thinkers, to sit down around the table to begin to answer the questions. A combination of recent design graduates, looking to rekindle some of that studio spirit, and industry leaders from a variety of design backgrounds took part in The Blank of Ideas.

There were no wrong answers, just an hour to sit down and escape the rapidly expanding product ranges that surrounded us and fill in the blank postcards.
The first provocation was set by Emily Campbell from the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts) :
“What if designers left the job half done?”
She notes that, “There’s a big gap between the professional provision of the design industry and our common competence and readiness to see and solve the problems around us – our environment, our health, the education of our children, our imagining and realisation of a good, shared future.”

A few sessions were run around this question and it was interesting to see that what initially was interpreted as a ‘glass half empty’ scenario, soon turned into a ‘glass half full’ optimism. Having different generations around the table really created a dynamic moment.
Kevin Gavaghan, from Spirit of Creation, set us a question reflecting these uncertain times and what the future holds for graduates and young people:
“In an information rich world, what are / will be the best ways to find one’s way?”

This question provoked some unexpected ideas about how to bring people together and the power of communicating across boundaries, age, experience, sector and cultural backgrounds. In a way the event itself began to answer this question in that ‘The Blank of Ideas’ became an island for people to just meet and chat before and after the questions.
Maybe the chance to sit for an hour at a busy design show helped– but the end result was really rewarding for all of the people that took part. It made us all question the role of design and how we can better use our expertise in a collaborative way to shift our culture. It left the participants thinking and seeing the rest of the show with a different outlook to the one they came in with.
Who are Corridor?
Corridor was founded by Phil Nutley and Christian Inkpen. Initiated 5 years ago, we are a collaborative design network with a focus on socially responsive projects. We enjoy the fact that our work is layered onto many different platforms and disciplines and this allows us to work with an inspiring international group of creative people.
We’re building. It’s growing.

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