October 7, 2023 – February 4, 2024
Curated by Cynthia E. Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design, with Caroline O’Connell, Curatorial Assistant.
A publication accompanying the exhibition will be available online and in the Museum Store.
Designing Peace was organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Exhibition Design: Jensen Architects. Graphic Design by Studio Hinrichs. In-kind support by Linda Mihara of Paper Tree.
Designing Peace explores the unique role design can play in pursuing peace. On view from October 7, 2023 – February 4, 2024, the exhibition features design projects from around the world that look at ways to create and sustain more durable peaceful interactions—from creative confrontations that challenge existing structures to designs that demand embracing justice and truth in a search for reconciliation.
The exhibition opens at a critical juncture of current global dynamics, with people facing vast social, environmental, and economic inequities, and dozens of continuing conflicts, from internal insurgencies, long-standing armed standoffs, territorial disputes, and, most recently, the Russia-Ukraine war. This exhibition considers what might be possible if society were to design for peace and takes into account goal 16 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which calls directly for peace, justice, and strong institutions through the elimination of hunger and poverty, improvements in health and education, the building of more resilient cities and infrastructure, the fostering of innovation, action on climate change and more.
Designing Peace will feature 30 design proposals, initiatives, and interventions from over 20 countries, represented by objects, models, full-size installations, maps, images, and film. Visitors will encounter a wide range of design responses to the underlying reasons for conflict and division, such as socioeconomic inequality, resource competition, and environmental degradation—and will be encouraged to consider their own agency in designing peace through interactive installations, quiet moments of reflection, and opportunities for practical action.
Image: Designer: ESP; Extinction Symbol; Location: Global; 2011-present; Photo credit: © Martin Reis
Art the Arms Fair Collective
Bryan C. Lee, Jr.
Center for Strategic and International Studies
City of New York Department of Transportation
Confederation of Independent Football Associations
Design Studio for Social Intervention
Eastern Congo Initiative
Harlem Park to Park
Hood Design Studio
Institute for Economics and Peace
Jan Kristian Strømsnes
New Orleans residents
Parents of former child combatants
Rael San Fratello
Virginia San Fratello