Imagining Recovery Exhibition at Berlage

— by

16 June 2009 – 26 June 2009 at Berlage Institute – Botersloot 25, Rotterdam

Imagining Recovery is an exhibition based on an international competition charging designers to collectively imagine innovation recovery through design. Designers were asked to offer their expertise in designing a means of getting from the present to the image of recovery.


On 20 January 2009, the first day of the Obama presidency, began the current administration’s commitment to transparency, participation and collaboration in government. On 17 February, President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law and launched Recovery.gov, a website publishing the spending of recovery funds in the name of transparency, offering “maps, charts, and graphics” to illustrate the distribution of funds.

The exhibition calls upon designers of all types to imagine the futures these maps, charts, graphics and accounting figures serve to anticipate, and to interpret for the public the lived experience of this future by producing an image of recovery.

This moment of change offers an opportunity for designers to rethink their role in our society. Imagining Recovery promotes collaboration by pairing designers with policy makers to collectively write the competition brief, proposing a model wherein designers can actively participate in the initial imaginings of the policies they will be called upon to implement.