Skip to content
Arnolfini - est 1961

Åbäke, Droog, Daniel Eatock, Electronest, Ann-Sofie Back, Will Holder, Peter Jensen, Onkar Kular & Noam Toran, Alex Rich, Savage, Yuri Suzuki, Metahaven


On Purpose: Design Concepts looks at conceptual design practices, the emergence of

‘meta design’, and the question of who or what can define something as design. The exhibition will present interventions and work by a selection of the most interesting and ‘speculative’ designers today. In recent years, the field of design has evolved significantly having embraced conceptualism and technology, and is now offering advanced parallel theoretical practices to contemporary art. Yet the renowned principle that has been given to design in order to differentiate it from contemporary art is still a point of contention – that it should have specific purpose. On Purpose looks to investigate this tension around the definition of design, questioning whether ‘purpose’ is actually its ultimate constraint.

Focussing predominantly on interventions within Arnolfini, some of which may become semi-permanent, On Purpose will also be used as an opportunity for designers to offer proposals to reshape the existing infrastructure of Arnolfini. It will look at every public facet of the institution – physical and virtual – and will aim to rethink it afresh. On Purpose is the second in the Concept Store series of projects at Arnolfini, exploring the realms of marketing, design and experience economy.

On Purpose: Design Concepts is twinned with Wouldn’t it be nice… Wishful thinking in art and design (17 Sep – 7 Dec 2008), Embankment Galleries, Somerset House, London.