Review: 2020

We are taking place! Under this hopeful motto, and against all odds, a large part of the planning of the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2020 took place. Looking back, we can now proudly claim: We took place – and how!

Festival preparations were already in full swing when the first lockdown for Austria was decreed in March 2020 in response to the rapid spread of the Corona virus. A few days earlier, a small Passionswege retrospective was just able to return from Brussels, where it had been shown at the generous invitation of Collectible. New confidence was given by the undaunted promise of Switzerland to visit the Vienna as the festival’s Guest Country and, above all, by the decisive support of our public sponsors. Thus, despite the greatly changed circumstances, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK team was able to announce that the festival would indeed take place in May at a press conference held via live stream.

In order to design a festival appropriate for this extraordinary year, there was a clear focus on some central points: Safety of participants and visitors, decentralized arrangement as well as low-threshold outreach of the programme, introduction of new digital methods. Fundamental, however, even for a festival edition characterized by entry restrictions, mandatory masks, and the keeping of distance, was VIENNA DESIGN WEEK's core aim to commission, collect, convey, and show contemporary, unusual, playful, critical, and visionary design. This succeeded in surprising ways under the particularly challenging conditions of the pandemic, namely through concentrated engagement with quality instead of quantity and without a single case of Covid-19.

From the Virtual Festival Headquarters on Mozilla Hubs, to the multifaceted program of the Guest Country Switzerland or the 15th anniversary of the Passionswege, to the re-designed education format and classics such as Stadtarbeit or Urban Food & Design – this review documents VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2020, its events and atmosphere in words and images as a festival edition that would not have to hide even in a year without a pandemic. Enjoy looking back, while the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK team is already looking forward with anticipation to this year’s festival edition!