Barcelona’s biggest design fiesta: OFFF Festival

popdot media's Sara Bosch reports from the heart of the action in Barcelona

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OFFF celebrated 15 years of creative work that have become a reference for digital design. In a sold out three-day journey in May, the Festival brought together established professionals and emerging artists at the Museum of Design of Barcelona with over 50 workshops, conferences, performances, experiments, and activities related to the digital experience.

This year’s lineup proved that OFFF is again on the forefront of ‘feeding the future’, allowing users at the museum to create together in real time. Highlights included AKQA’s showcase of modern advertising, robots from Jan de Coster or generative art by Robert Hodgin. There was also a parade of mind-bending films and animations by Monoco, OneSize and PostPanic, who premiered their CGI masterpiece film Sundays.

To celebrate this year’s party, the Festival included food trucks, special edition books, and a market with design sunglasses, clothing, skateboard decks, graffiti mapping, augmented reality, cameras, trendy accessories, and a tattoo booth.

The organisers were rather proud of the 15th anniversary: “It isn’t just an odd number, nor a year, nor a bunch of candles we’re blowing this May. Fifteen is this gigantic era of your life … your first acne, your first lover, your first turn on, your first experience.”

However, OFFF does not forget about the tradition either. Snask, Vasava and Gavin Strange pushed the boundaries of graphic design by craft and expression, rather than hi-tech tools. And illustrators such as Pat Parry or Conrad Roset proved that sometimes you don’t need technology to create great art.

Despite the success, it is still hard to define what OFFF represents. It is more than just a festival; it is a Barcelona-based creative community that combines offline/online designers, developers, graphic and motion designers, thinkers, theorists, sound designers, visual artists, art directors, professionals and students. It basically covers every discipline from graphic design to motion graphics, from data visualisation to photography. The festival believes in changing the world through digital experiences, aiming to equally provoke and innovate.

Since the beginning of this century when OFFF started, we’ve seen artists and designers embrace modern technologies in unforeseen ways. The festival has proudly joined artists such as Stefan Sagmeister, Joshua Davis, John Maeda, Neville Brody, Kyle Cooper, The Mill, Digital Kitchen, Ben Fry & Casey Reas, Golan Levin, Chris Milk, Rob Chiu, Julien Vallée, Paula Scher, Rick Poynor, Erik Spiekermann, Dvein, and the list goes on.

OFFF Festival takes place in Barcelona annually, while it tours the world as OFFF on Tour for the rest of the year. Check out the OFFF Vimeo Channel: https://vimeo.com/129067321.

You can join OFFF Barcelona 2016 in May 26–28: www.offf.ws