Keynote Events

The Keynote Events are one of the most important features of the DRS conferences, an opportunity to engage in a conversation with key people in international design research and an opportunity for our community to gather and exchange thoughts on critical topics.

For this year’s conference, a much-awaited post-pandemic hybrid event, keynote events will be central scenarios for design research to reflect upon its impact on design practice, and for design practice to benefit from the insights that design research can provide. In a fresh and renovated format, a design researcher will engage in conversation with two design professionals in a thought-provoking exchange that will also involve the public both in Bilbao and online..

The keynote events are organised around three themes: Urban Habitat, Food and Ecosystems. Each keynote night will be held in a unique venue in the centre of Bilbao and will be followed by a social event and dinner night.

Urban Habitat

  • Time MONDAY, 27TH JUNE. FROM 07:00 PM.

Organised human life in urban contexts is facing innumerable challenges: climate change and the consequent extreme weather events, the transition towards a non-fuel based mobility, migration from rural areas and other countries, the need to deal with an architectural heritage that is as valuable as ecologically difficult to tackle, the sustainability and reusability of the new built environment. These are some of the most pressing contemporary urban issues, how are architects and urban planners responding to these challenges? What new perspectives are non-Western cultures and traditions bringing to the table that might shape the urban habitat in unexpected ways? Is the countryside stealing the protagonism out of cities? We are talking to the key international game-changers that are re-shaping the way we understand architecture and urbanism.


Founder / Design Principal of Vector Architects
Foreign Member of French Academy of Architecture

DONG Gong founded Vector Architects in 2008. In 2019 he was elected Foreign Member of the French Academy of Architecture. He is design tutor at Tsinghua University and Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Visiting Professor at the Polytechnic University of Turin, Italy.

He and Vector Architects have been invited to various major exhibitions, including the first Chinese architecture exhibition at MoMA and the 2018 “FREESPACE” Venice Biennale. DONG Gong’s practice has earned international recognition through his representative works, including Seashore Library, Seashore Chapel, Alila Hotel in Yangshuo, the Renovation of the Captain’s House, and Changjiang Art Museum.


CHRISTOS PASSAS, ZAHA HADID ARCHITECTS Christos joined Zaha Hadid Architects as a Senior Designer in February 1998 and has
been a key member in the development of the overall artistic evolution of the Studio, its business development, the office culture and leader of a wide range of build and unbuilt projects and competitions within the practice.

Christos taught Parametric Design and Urbanism at the Architectural Association with Patrik Schumacher in London between 2007 and 2010, working on the exploration of digital and parametric techniques for the formation of large urban settlements.

Through his engagement with ZHA, Christos has developed a series of visionary projects with an innovative outlook aiming to bridge the gap between Ecology and Technology, formulating a research agenda for the habitat of the future in the years to come. This ongoing effort and developed knowledge in issues of global concern, resulting in a deep understanding of the area and an enhanced and intensively productive dialectic collaboration, always looking to achieve the high targets set by a culture of excellence and innovation.


  • Time FRIDAY, 1ST JULY. FROM 07:00 PM.

What are the challenges of the food industry in the near and distant future? How are professionals of cuisine innovating their work processes in light of a more sustainable perspective? How are they investigating new materials with less impact on the world’s economic and ecological balance? How ready are we to challenge our culinary – therefore cultural – habits in light of the critical decisions humanity is called to take? How is cuisine understood today in a post-pandemic more-socially-aware world? We’ll use design research to eviscerate these and more topics related to the key area of food transformation and sustainability together with Michelin-starred chefs who dedicated their lives to researching and innovating in the culinary arts.


ANDONI ADURIZ Since 1998, Andoni Luis Aduriz has been at the forefront of Mugaritz, a creative project that allows the freedom to create without ties. A creative ecosystem that gathers eternally curious minds that, from gastronomy, reflect and create together with scientists, artists, philosophers and nutritionists.

His talks at Harvard and MIT, his articles in the Spanish national newspaper El País, his role in the Board of Trustees of the Basque Culinary Center Foundation and his books are tools for disseminating the knowledge acquired by Mugaritz on creativity in organisations, healthcare, multi-sensory perception or on the food of the future.

Throughout his career was awarded the National Gastronomy Award, the St. Pellegrino Chef’s Choice Award, the Eckart Witzigmann Award and the Healthy Gastronomy Award by the Royal Academy of Gastronomy. In 2021, he has been appointed Ambassador of Japanese Cuisine, a title granted by the Japanese Government to those who spread its culinary culture.


SONJA STUMMERER and MARTIN HABLESREITER studied both architecture in Vienna, London, and Barcelona. After graduation they worked in Tokyo, before founding the transdisciplinary studio honey & bunny in Vienna. Their work is based on social and ecological sustainability. Honey & bunny consider themselves as inbetweeners. They do publications, installations, exhibitions, performances and design.

They directed the movie “food design”, curated the exhibitions “food design” at the MuseumsQuartier Wien, “food design humanity” at Lodz/ PL, and participated as designers and eat art artists in numerous international solo and group exhibitions, among others in London, Zürich, Vienna, Salzburg, Milano, Amsterdam, Gwangju, Hanover. They have performed about sustainability in Milano, London, Paris Salzburg and others.

In 2009 they published the book “food design XL” (Springer Vienna/NY) and in 2013 “eat design” (Metro Verlag Vienna). Stummerer and Hablesreiter have given many international talks, were visiting professors in Bucharest (RO), Istanbul (TR), and Chennai (IN), and currently teach at the New Design University St. Pölten and the University of Salzburg.





  • Time WEDNESDAY, 29TH JUNE. FROM 07:00 PM.

The threats the entire living ecosystem is facing are, according to many prominent scientists, the biggest that humanity ever faced. The challenges to life on the planet are enormous, and we are left with little time to act. Is there still room for humanity to interact with an endangered ecosystem? Can anthropic action be funnelled to explore new, more sustainable materials that work together – and not against – the natural ecosystem? How will humanity face a world in which our action will – necessarily – be reduced in favour of other species and beings? Are we ready for the post-human era? Design research will try to explore these urgent topics engaging in conversation with scientists and artists for the Ecosystem keynote. Is it already the moment to erase completely any borders and live in a universe where human and non-human, artificial and natural are seamlessly interwoven?


MOON RIBAS is a Catalan cyborg artist best known for developing the Seismic Sense, an online seismic sensor that allows her to perceive earthquakes taking place anywhere on the planet through vibrations in real-time. In order to share her experience, she then translates her seismic sense on stage. Ribas transposes the earthquakes into either sound, in her piece Seismic Percussion; or dance, in Waiting For Earthquakes. In these performances the Earth is the composer and the choreographer; and Ribas, the interpreter. Moon is also the co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation, an international organization that aims to help people become cyborgs, defend cyborg rights and promote cyborgism as an artistic and social movement.


SAMANTHA G.R JENKINS, (MSc Engineering (Sustainable Biotechnology) Aalborg University CPH, BSc (Hons.) Biochemistry, Maastricht University) and has an impressive portfolio of work around sustainable materials and biochemical engineering. Her international education took her from Canada, to The Netherlands, Australia, and Denmark, and shaped her global perspective on biotechnology and sustainability. Her academic career focused on molecular engineering of microorganisms for the enhanced degradation of synthetic polymers and she has published articles and a book chapter on the subject.

Her current position as Lead Biotechnological Engineer at BIOHM, a multi-award-winning R&D led, biomanufacturing company, was a step into industry and into the active application of sustainability science in the real world; a topic she is passionate about alongside her academic pursuits. She is an ardent researcher in the blooming field of mycology and aims to use biotechnology, biomimetics and biochemistry to build a more sustainable future. Her current research projects focus on myco-remediation, myco-engineering, the philosophy of biomimicry, and science communications.





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