Platform21 = Repairing

Stop recycling. Start repairing.

13 Mar 2009
30 Aug 2009

Platform21 = Repairing is a cultural project about mending things, initiated and organised by the Amsterdam creative centre Platform21. With its Repair Manifesto, Platform21 celebrates repairing as the new recycling and offers an alternative to our outmoded ways of designing and consuming.
In a five-month programme consisting of an exhibition, lectures, workshops, Repair Clinics, a contest, and a forum held in Milan during the Salone del Mobile, Platform21 will investigate ways of revaluing repairing as a contemporary activity. Emphasis will be placed on creative solutions and the sharing of knowledge among designers, artists, repairpersons and the public.


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Platform21 = Repairing starts with the idea that repair has been underestimated as a creative, cultural and economic force. If we don’t start looking at repair as a contemporary activity soon, an incredibly rich body of knowledge – one that contributes to human independence and pleasure – could be lost. The situation is especially puzzling when you consider current global interest in other ideas related to sustainability, such as recycling and the cradle-to-cradle philosophy.
Platform21 = Repairing aims to raise awareness of a mentality, a culture and a practice that not so long ago was completely integrated into life and the way we designed it.

In the hope of spurring a reappraisal of repair, Platform21 has written a manifesto describing the benefits of fixing things and calling upon designers and consumers to break the chain of throwaway thinking.

Repairing on display

Designers and artists have been asked to create interactive work. This resulted in six new mending techiniques, which you can use to repair your broken possessions. Designer Heleen Klopper came up with Wool Filler, a beautiful method to mend holes in wool sweaters. Jan Vormann, visual artist, repairs porcelain figurines with limbs from 'action heroes' and gives you the chance to do the same. Designer Rachel Griffin gives new examples for repairs with duct tape.

Please bring items that need fixing to the exhibition - even if repair seems impossible. In that case you can leave your item in the space with a tag attached and a request that it be fixed, and a repair specialist might take pity on it.
The Repair HUB is a database of information on these repairpersons. People usually jealously guard the phone numbers of skilled Mr and Ms Fix-Its who still know the tricks of their trades. The HUB, by contrast, requires us to share hard information like names and addresses as well as positive personal experiences and long-lost techniques. The Repair HUB will grow into an on-site and online map of the extensive repair knowledge still available around us today.

Repair contest

You can also participate by entering the competition. After successfully collaborating on the popular project Platform21 = Hacking IKEA, Platform21 and Dutch magazine Bright are holding a second design contest, this time calling for remarkable repairs. We invite submissions of clever, funny, skilful or creative repairs, with their stories attached, from all over the world. The best entries will appear in the June issue of Bright and in Platform21’s exhibition. The winner will also receive a special Repair Award.

Repair participants

Participants in Platform21 = Repairing include Jan Vormann, Cynthia Hathaway, Krijn Giezen, Yuri Suzuki, Rachel Griffin, Satyendra Pakhalé, Guy Keulemans and Martijn Dijkhuizen, Ernesto Oraza, the Lloyd Hotel, Daan van den Berg, Nina Katchadourian, 5.5 Designers, the TXT Department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Helmut Smits, Eran Nave, the Prince Claus Fund, and Heleen Klopper. During the five-month programme, the list will keep growing, as more and more people get involved in bringing back repair as an integral part of design and the world.

Platform21 = Repairing
13 March–30 August 2009
Open: Friday through Sunday, 12:00–18:00
Free entry