Festival Highlight

Teenage dreams and why they are essential for future innovation

A new exhibition wants to encourage us to listen more to teenagers and leverage their openness to new ideas, helping us break free from conventional thinking and adopt radically different approaches.

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Festival Highlight

Teenage dreams and why they are essential for future innovation

A new exhibition wants to encourage us to listen more to teenagers and leverage their openness to new ideas, helping us break free from conventional thinking and adopt radically different approaches.

What do teenagers dream about? And how are their needs different from those of adults or children? These questions are the focus of a new exhibition at the Danish Architecture Center (DAC).

Pernille Stockmarr, the Senior Curator at DAC, is a Danish design historian, curator, author, and educator. She has always been dedicated to understanding our contemporary world and exploring the potential of design and architecture for a better future through her exhibitions and writings.

We asked Pernille Stockmarr how teenage dreams are shaped in today's society and why it is important to focus on them.

Tell me about the exhibition Teenagedreams?

"Teenagedreams at DAC explores a possible future for the teenage room. What do teenagers dream about? And how can these dreams be manifested in inviting dreamscapes with functions and features that reflect the changing values and needs of teenagers today? The exhibition invites conversations about how we can think and do things differently when we design and inhabit spaces. How can we design future spaces that are climate-friendly, fulfill the need for digital features, and are inspiring places that enhance well-being?

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The exhibition presents three installations created by three young Danish design studios: Our Shifts, Natural Material Studio, and Krøyer-Sætter-Lassen. With themes like “Recharge,” “Fluidity,” and “Transitions,” each studio offers its perspective on how digitalization, sustainability, mental well-being, and the use of social media influence and change teenagers' needs and desires for their private spaces.

The exhibition also features videos of young teenagers sharing their dreams and thoughts, as well as the photo project “Still Life of Teenagers” by sociologist and photographer Barbara Marstrand, which provides an intimate look into contemporary teenage rooms."

In the making process images of Fluidity by Natural Material Studio.

Why is it important to talk about teenagers and design?

"Teenagers are the future and the creators of tomorrow’s world. In Denmark, we have a strong tradition of recognizing the role of design and architecture in creating welfare and a better world for everyone. We’ve developed houses and designs for families, with a special focus on children. However, teenagers and their transitional life stage between childhood and adulthood have received less attention.

Currently, there is significant focus on teenagers' high screen usage and increasing mental health issues, but less focus on how we can listen to them and create environments that better meet their needs. Teenagers are in a unique phase of cognitive and emotional development. Designing for their specific needs can significantly support their growth and well-being. They also have distinct preferences and behaviors that differ from both children and adults. Teenagers are often early adopters of technology and play a crucial role in setting trends. They are also far more open to sustainability and recycling. By understanding teenagers' behaviors and preferences, we gain valuable insights into addressing our shared challenges in more inspiring, innovative, and sustainable ways."

Inspiration from the installation Transitions by Krøyer-Sætter-Lassen

Why is it important to focus on dreams and teenagers?

"Dreaming is crucial because it allows us to envision possibilities beyond our current reality, inspiring innovation and progress. When designing for the future, dreaming helps us break free from conventional thinking and imagine new solutions that address the emerging challenges we all face. Teenagers are particularly interesting because they are at the forefront of setting and adopting new trends. Their openness to change and fresh perspectives can lead to groundbreaking ideas.

Additionally, teenagers represent the future; their needs, preferences, and aspirations provide valuable insights into what tomorrow’s world might look like. By incorporating their dreams into our designs and listening to them, we can create more relevant, innovative, and sustainable solutions that truly resonate with future generations."

The installation Recharge by Our Shift use old tents from Roskilde Festival.

What is your dream for this exhibition?

"I dream that the exhibition will encourage people to think more deeply about how we can radically reimagine spaces and what spaces and materials can truly mean for us as humans. I hope we can listen more to teenagers and leverage their openness to new ideas, helping us break free from conventional thinking and adopt radically different approaches—essential for future innovation. Teenagers will be the ones shaping the future, so it’s important to show that they can help change the status quo.

One example from Barbara Marstrand’s book Still Life of Teenagers

My dream is that visitors will engage with the installations, seeing them less as precise visions of future teenage rooms and more as ideas and dreams about how we can organize our spaces. I hope it will spark conversations and reflections about how we can reuse materials or create new natural materials that can be continuously recycled, how spaces can gain new functions as our needs evolve, and how music, sound, materials, light, and space affect us—an essential consideration when designing for the future. And teenagers can show the way."

Teenagedreams is opening during 3daysofdesign and will be on show from June 12 to January 5, 2025.

There will be free access from June 12 to 14 to experience Teenagedreams. The rest of DAC requires a ticket.

Sustainable Design Effort
At 3daysofdesign, our commitment extends beyond showcasing the latest trends in interior design and furniture. We strive to facilitate meaningful discussions, debate, and actively contribute to pushing forward a more sustainable approach within the realm of interior design and furniture business. Join us in our mission to inspire positive change and promote a greener, more responsible future for the industry.

Events mentioned in this article

12 Jun
Exhibition Opening: Teenage Dreams
Come to a festive opening of the exhibition ‘Teenage Dreams’ at the Danish Architecture Center. In the exhibition, three young Danish design firms present their visions for what a future teenage bedroom could look like. At the opening, there will be beer, music, live performance, and free admission to DAC.

Designers mentioned in this article

Exhibitors mentioned in this article

Danish Architecture Center
Bryghuspladsen 10, 1473 Copenhagen
Danish Architecture Center (DAC) is an international cultural attraction for everyone who wants to experience and understand how architecture and design create the framework for our lives. DAC is located in the heart of Copenhagen in the spectacular BLOX building which is situated right at the harbor front and as part of Copenhagen’s Cultural Quarter. Through exhibitions, tours, events, learning and networking, Danish Architecture Center creates space for inspiration, enjoyment and immersion.
Danish Architecture Center
Teenagers are the future and the creators of tomorrows world
Pernille Stockmarr, senior Curator at the Danish Architecture Center (DAC)
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Since its inception in 2013, Signe Byrdal Terenziani has facilitated the growth of the design community in her role as Managing Director. It all began as a small design event held in an old warehouse in Nordhavn, a harbour area overlooking Copenhagen’s waterfront. Four Danish brands launched the event as a joint initiative: Montana, Erik Jørgensen (now owned by Fredericia Furniture), Anker & Co, and Kvadrat. At that time, Copenhagen lacked a proper design festival, since the previous annual furniture fair at Bella Center closed down some years before.

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Pack your bags, book a hotel and come to Copenhagen! 3daysofdesign is open to the general public and everyone is invited to visit the showrooms, exhibitions, workshops and design talks. All events are free of charge – however this his year we're using a new QR ticket system to make your experience smoother and more enjoyable. Simply download our app and register as a visitor to gain access to all the exhibition spaces and events.

Please check the programme, which is updated on an ongoing basis, at 3daysofdesign.dk

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