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TNL! In the Works: The Design of the Social

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Take a look behind the scenes of the upcoming multi-year exhibition at Het Nieuwe Instituut: The Design of the Social in TNL! In the Works.

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As of 1 January 2021, Het Nieuwe Instituut is a heritage institution. To underline this role, the institute is developing a multi-year exhibition: The Design of the Social, based partly on the architecture collection. This event offers a behind-the-scenes look at the research, and a chance to join the discussion.

The Design of the Social focuses on idiosyncratic, socially driven ideas about living together that have been put into practice in the Netherlands over the past 100 years. The case studies presented were the initiatives of smaller networks, rather than the mainstream. In some instances, they were designed out of idealism; in others, they were the result of pure necessity. These alternative design strategies sought to adhere to specific ideals and meet specific needs. Above all, they aimed at creating an equal society based on social values. Together, they demonstrate that the idea of “the social”, and what is considered “good”, are not universal norms, but concepts that are constantly being explored and reshaped.

The exhibition consists of a growing number of “rooms” that depict different scenes from this history, such as the squatters’ movement, feminist design practices and the construction of the digital city. The base material comes from the National Collection for Dutch Architecture and Urban Planning and archives from the Network Archives Design and Digital Cultures. The stories from these archives are told in collaboration with various designers and the public.

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