Milan Design Week 2019: Making future design and architecture accessible to all

Education and students

No human body is the same, yet we often design for a standardised, average human being. With the exhibition ‘DIFFERENT BODIES’, master students of design and architecture put an innovative approach to accessibility and universal design on the agenda. 

In the fields of architecture and design, we often perceive and treat the human body as an average figure which comes in a standard size when, in fact, each body is different. The time has come for architects and designers to take this into consideration. 

This is why master students from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK) are presenting the exhibition ‘DIFFERENT BODIES – Leaving no one behind’ at Milan Design Week, 9–14 April 2019.   

The exhibition addresses a complex problem: how can we build inclusive societies and communities in which everyone can participate on equal terms? 

 ‘DIFFERENT BODIES’ forms part of a wider collaboration between KADK and the Bevica Foundation, which focuses on how our physical surroundings can exclude people who do not live up to the standards of the so called – and non-existent – ‘perfect human being’. The collaboration aims to provide students with an inclusive mindset and an approach to universal design that will be manifested in their future work. 

As a part of the project, students have personally experienced how the blind, the deaf and wheelchair users experience their physical surroundings. They have incorporated these experiences into tangible, yet highly artistic projects that will be presented at Milan Design Week this spring.

The Exhibition
‘DIFFERENT BODIES’ comprises a number of artistic installations that interact with visitors. As an example, the exhibition addresses ‘skin hunger’, the lack of human touch, which is a well-known condition among people with disabilities. The installation includes a wall-like membrane that acts upon and reacts to the touch of others, imitating our biggest sensory organ: the skin. In so doing, visitors are encouraged to experience the power of human touch and reflect on its importance to us as human beings. 

The exhibition challenges visitors’ relation to their own body and the bodies with which they identify. The installation ‘Resonance” invites visitors into a room filled with glass containers of different shapes and sizes that resonate differently with each person. It exposes our diverse perceptions of beauty and demonstrates why beauty is undeniably present in the imperfect body. 

KADK challenges visitors at Milan Design week. Rather than presenting finished design objects, the school invites visitors to reflect on how we design, for whom we design, and how design becomes a more significant force and contributor in creating sustainable, inclusive societies.

The exhibition is created by master students of both design and architecture from the Institute of Architecture and Design at KADK.

Practical information

Dates: 9–14 April
Address: Spazio Gamma
Via Pastrengo, 7, 20159 Milano MI, Italy
Part of Isola Design District 

Opening hours:

Tuesday–Saturday: 10 am –8 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 2 pm 

Opening event: Tuesday evening 6–10 pm