Gabriel Roland, the newly appointed deputy director of VIENNA DESIGN WEEK, offered two invitations to enjoy a private peek behind the curtain at the Festival Headquarters. In his PRIVATE VIEW, he explained his own subjective approach to the exhibition. Because, despite the 14-year history of the now venerable festival, the curation, design, and organization of VIENNA DESIGN WEEK are still one thing in particular: personal. As a result of this, all those who have spent this extraordinary year preparing this ten-day event, with all its initiatives, presentations, and experiments, have their own highly personal view of its program. In Gabriel’s tour, eyes were drawn from the concrete to the virtual and from the speculative to the applied – all without leaving the Festival Headquarters.
In his second special personal tour, Gabriel took visitors to the Guest Country Switzerland. This year, this role demanded especially high levels of stamina, courage, creativity, and adaptability. In this tour through the various positions that Switzerland had brought to Vienna, Gabriel and our Swiss guests explained how the bilateral collaboration was able to function in the face of so much uncertainty. And this could also be seen in the Festival Headquarters! In spring, while much of the world stood still, ProHelvetia clearly underlined its commitment to its Guest Country role. As the contact person responsible for this process, Gabriel Roland experienced this commitment and supported his colleagues from the Swiss institutions – primarily Design Prize Switzerland – in the design of the Guest Country program. Hence, his Team Tour through the Guest Country was both a revival of old friendships and an opportunity to become acquainted with new positions from our Western neighbor – spiced up, of course, with the odd background story and open to questions.