OK, we have to admit that, these days, the definition of what is still special is open to discussion. But in the context of a carefully curated design festival that has always seen itself as duty-bound to root out and reveal the latest tendencies and burning issues, one could continue to define the term as follows: Special means thinking about design in a new way. In this case – in our format Special – the focus is on people, products and approaches. And achieving something special is also the objective of the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK team in their roles as communicators, ambassadors, event organizers, supporters, educators and advisors who are working to enhance international awareness of design. 

The format Special presents a mixture of noteworthy cooperative approaches, unique interventions and special projects: While the exhibition DESIGN EVERYDAY in the Festival Headquarters once again brings together outstanding examples of contemporary Austrian product design, the AA nanotourism Visiting School is working in the Focus District Meidling on the much-discussed idea of local tourism in the time of COVID-19. In turn, the exhibition of the Distributed Design Platform addresses design as a tool of democrat empowerment with the help of the suddenly ubiquitous face shields. The contribution from Felix Lenz literally moves at another level. He sheds light on the alarming relationship between politics, climate change and war in the form of an installation that is quite impossible to ignore. Questions such as why and how design festivals make programs like this possible and how this range of content can be democratized even further are being researched by Rosa Rogina, in her role as the festival's Curator in Residence. Also joining us from the United Kingdom is the London-based designer and researcher Helga Schmid, who uses an experiment as a means of questioning our very understanding of time. Take your time!