Design - En drivkraft til forandring

Design – a driving force for change

Interview with Signe Byrdal Terenziani 

Design can change the world and culturally enrich us. Working with design, you can create space for reflection and developments that focus on making the world a better place. One small step at a time. It was with this in mind that the internationally recognised design festival in Copenhagen, 3daysofdesign, first opened its doors. We met with its founder, Signe Byrdal Terenziani, for a discussion about creativity and design as a driving force for change. 

A deeper philosophy 
On the surface, 3daysofdesign may seem like any other design festival; an opportunity for companies to increase their sales, create value, and increase profitability - which in a way is not incorrect. But it is far from the real reason the design festival was created. There is a much deeper philosophy behind it, where design is viewed as not just another capitalist resource, but as something that contributes to cultural enrichment and helps us reflect on sustainable changes and the value of the future. For Signe Byrdal Terenziani, design can create positive changes and touch us in a very special way. 

“Design allows us to contribute to a beautiful, sustainable, and harmonious future for and with people and nature. Design encompasses so much more than just how to create products and solve problems. It includes implicitly a cultural aspect where we can inspire each other, learn from the past, and work with the future. I want to make changes that benefit us all and contribute to a better everyday life and a better future. That is the essence of 3daysofdesign.” 

A democratic focus 
The mission is the same today as it was in the beginning; to gather passionate, innovative, and creative individuals and companies in a community aimed at raising awareness and reflect on what design is and can be. They emphasise collaboration and meeting people on the ground with relevant and honest design. A core tenet of Terenziani’s philosophy is the importance of community and respect for each role found throughout the industry - from the large international company to the new entrepreneur. It is about the act of coming together and giving more than receiving. And everyone is welcome. 

“We are an inclusive but exclusive festival. Design should not be elitist and for the select few, and therefore, the festival is open to everyone. This has been important to us from the start and remains so. And Copenhagen is the perfect setting for this. Here, the atmosphere resonates with our values, design means something, it’s cozy, and there is room for people and all their differences.” 

Encouraging creativity 
Another essential part of their philosophy is how we approach design in a way where creativity and passion are crucial elements. Terenziani aims to strengthen and maintain people’s incentive and desire to explore and be creative and give a voice to those who are passionate and original. 

“It is important to appreciate and encourage creativity, both in ourselves and in others. It can help us to create a diverse and dynamic culture, where we both understand how to appreciate and take care of what we have, but also help create fertile ground for new ideas to flourish. We can find inspiration in each other’s creative expressions and contribute to a richer and better society. We want to celebrate the passionate, the innovative and creative, the original and giving. These aspects are crucial to us.” 

Fritz Hansen, EXPRESSIONS of CHARACTER, 3daysofdesign exhibition 2023

We need to reflect 
It is important for the design industry and its companies to stop and reflect on the industry and the world they are a part of, Terenziani points out. Therefore, she actively uses the platform she has created, as well as the role she has, to shine a spotlight on what she believes is important. 

“We need to reflect on what makes sense and why we do what we do. If we listen to each other, understand each other, share knowledge, and collaborate, then I am convinced that together we can create positive changes through design, and yes - better lives for each other and the world we are a part of. These are some of the conversations I find interesting, and they are important to have with the companies. I find great joy in helping to start that reflection and to see the results of it.” The desire to create room for reflection applies not just to companies but also to visitors of the festival. 

“We want to make people think, just as we want with the companies and the creative individuals that participate.” Therefore, Terenziani and her team try to create memorable experiences for everyone. 

“Experiences are important because they leave an impression, and we remember things in a completely different way when they include good or unique experiences, where all senses are involved.” 

Nothing is too small 
For Terenziani, one thing is clear; she still wants to use the position she and the festival have gained to influence and create positive developments within the industry on a very fundamental level. 

“We must continue to innovate and challenge. Doing small things can create ripples that suddenly end up making a big difference. And we should always remember that. Nothing is too small when we seek to help each other, build relations, or take care of nature.” 

3daysofdesign will take place from 12 to 14 June 2024. 

By Johanna Nyborg Bendtsen
Translation: Ann Lykke Jensen.
Published in magasinet arkitektur/design no 1, 2024.

Top Image: Signe Byrdal Terenziani. Foto: Egon Gade




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