Posts tagged with "London design biennale":

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London pushes its Design Biennale and design fairs to 2021

Cultural institutions around the world are slowly starting to reopen or staking out tentative dates after coronavirus pandemic-related closures, but design festivals, by their international and communal natures, are by-and-large pushing things back to 2021. That includes London, where infection rates for COVID-19 are still slowly creeping upward. As a result, yesterday the organizers of three major London exhibitions and design fairs announced that they would be delaying their events to 2021 as well. The third edition of the London Design Biennale, which was originally scheduled to run from September 8 through 27, has been moved to June 2021 (no specific dates have been given yet). Additionally, the London Design Fair, which was set to take place from September 17 to 20 as part of the Biennale, will take place at an as-of-yet unspecified date in 2021. Clerkenwell Design Week, a design festival and showroom “crawl” across the eponymous London neighborhood, was originally scheduled as usual to run from May 19 through 21 of this year, but was first pushed to July 14 through 16, then to May 25 through 27 of 2021. “The countries, cities and territories in our international network are core to our mission,” reads the London Design Biennale postponement announcement. “Keeping our visitors and designers safe remains our priority and given the current international travel restrictions and potential quarantine requirements, we are postponing the 2020 Biennale exhibition to 2021. The third edition will now take place in June 2021, still at Somerset House, London.”
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Israel brings an entire design studio to London Design Biennale 2018

Instead of a single static exhibition for this year’s London Design Biennale, the Israeli pavilion will instead present an ever-rotating design studio. Exposed Nerves will feature one new design team every week of the Biennale, putting the creative process, not the end product, on display as a work of art in and of itself. The 2018 London Design Biennale will run from September 4 through 23 and will kick off with a series of talks and lectures. The theme, Emotional States, challenged each of the 40 participants—each representing a different country, city, or territory—to think about how design affects emotions. For the U.S.’s contribution, the Cooper Hewitt will return after their showing at the inaugural 2016 Biennale with an exhibition that remixes facial recognition technology into an interactive playscape. For Exposed Nerves, lead curator Hila Shaltieli and the curatorial team chose to highlight the animating energy of design as a hectic, collaborative process. Each four-person team will feature artists from a variety of backgrounds, including illustrators, architects, textile designers, and more, working to create cross-disciplinary projects. “The installation puts both the creators and the audience in an ever-changing emotional state because of the fragility and the delicacy of the meeting point,” said Shaltieli in a press release. “Everyday life in Israel is tough and hectic. The daily routine is characterized by a lack of security, both mental and physical. There are ongoing emotional and deeply rooted political, ideological, and theological disagreements and controversies between the various groups comprising Israeli society. All of these crash into the daily routine and shake it to its core.” Exposed Nerves will be split into two rooms: “The Studio,” where the artists create their work, and “The Gallery,” where work from the previous week’s team will be displayed. The teams will create daily works inspired by the news and collaborative goals, and visitors will get to experience both sides of the design profession. The lineup is as follows: Week One, September 2–10: Illustrator Asaf Hanuka, artist Nelly Agassi, architect Philipp Thomanek, and visual communication designer Nadav Barkan Week Two, September 10–17: Textile designer Gali Cnaani, visual communication designer Dekel Bobrov, industrial designer Pini Leibovich, and product designer David Amar Week Three, September 17–24: Visual communication designer Danielle Weinberg fashion designer Maya Arazi, product designer Rami Tareef, and product designer Alon Meron
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Cooper Hewitt to explore facial recognition at the London Design Biennale

The United States is returning to the London Design Biennale, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will once again represent the U.S. in 2018. In Face Values, the Cooper Hewitt will bring an interactive installation about facial recognition technology to London and will confront participants with the knowledge that their faces have become commodified data. The London Design Biennale 2018 will run from September 4 through 23 at Somerset House in central London. This is the design festival’s second year, and exhibitors from all over the world have been invited to explore this year’s theme of “Emotional States." Thirty-six countries contributed to the 2016 Biennale with pieces that scrutinized or subverted the idea of “Utopia by Design.” In 2016 the Cooper Hewitt projected 100 digitized wallpapers from the museum’s archives in The Immersion Room, converting what was once a physical skin into easily changeable digital versions. For Face Values, curator Ellen Lupton has taken a similar approach to a different topic: the conversion of a physical signifier into easily transmissible code. Face Values will feature original work from designers Zachary Lieberman and R. Luke DuBois inside a pavilion designed by Matter Architecture Practice. Visitors will be able to use their faces to control the installations and learn how corporations and governments are able to track, catalog, and monetize facial data and emotions. Both installations will create collages of visitors’ faces and mash up their facial features. Lieberman’s work will mix the features of visitors together to create new faces, while DuBois’s piece will walk participants through a range of emotions and create a portrait that averages all of the features together. A monitor will also display how each emotion is cataloged in the face tracking system. Matter Architecture Practice has designed a backdrop of intentionally synthetic-looking reeds for the installation that’s supposed to blur the lines between the natural world and the digital. “In representing the United States at the London Design Biennale, Cooper Hewitt will be furthering the Smithsonian’s goal of catalyzing new conversations around issues of global importance,” writes Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt. “While underscoring design’s purpose to address complex challenges and advance empowering solutions. Illuminating the potential of facial recognition technology to quantify, read and control our moods and movements, Face Values encourages participants to consider the vast capabilities and unforeseen consequences of this rapidly evolving field of digital design.” After the Biennale's opening on September 4, Face Values was awarded the London Design Biennale 2018 Emotional States Medal for "most inspiring interpretation of the 2018 theme." The jury panel was composed of 14 well-known designers, architects, educators, and artists from around the world.
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In conversation with Jay Osgerby of Barber & Osgerby—plus their installation at the London Design Biennale

While in Chicago for Neocon, The Architect's Newspaper chatted with Jay Osgerby of London-based studio Barber & Osgerby about their dozens of upcoming and in-the-works projects and design collaborations (including a hints about a top secret project). For the first ever London Design Biennale, which began September 7 and runs until the 27th, the designers were chosen to create a sculpture for the courtyard of Somerset House. The bienniale—whose theme is Utopia—coincides with the 500th anniversary of Thomas More's Utopia, his tale of a sailor who describes an island where everything was beautiful and had not yet been disturbed by man. They interpreted this theme in a way that would link the past and present. Somerset House was once a shipping hub and these days Britain leads the world in offshore wind farms. In the past, the spreading of language and the British empire was driven by wind. Now, wind power provide a sustainable utopian future and the UK garners 5% of its energy through wind turbines. That historied connection between England and the wind informed the design of their steel quasi-machine, quasi-sculpture which has kinetic masts and an anemometer that points to the direction of Utopia—an ever-changing state of mind, not a physical place. In the pipeline, Barber & Osgerby has a series of projects with design giants that will add to their already impressive line of furniture, lighting, and kitchen and bath products. For the past four years, they have been working on a big project that will be launched this year at Orgatec. All we can tell you is that it involves a painstakingly designed chair. In collaboration with Ozeki, who creates paper lanterns and originally worked with Isamu Noguchi on his designs, Barber & Osgerby are launching the fifth in a series of lamps that will be premiering at the London design festival in September. Puzzle, a collection of tiles that can be arranged in countless patterns, is their first experience in working with Italian tile brand Mutina but not their first foray into ceramic tile. Back in 2002, the duo created tiles for Stella McCartney’s New York store that very strongly resembled the 3-D folded paper look that has been trending this year (we saw a lot of it at KBIS back in January). Additionally, they will be a expanding their collection with Axor to create a new handshower that creates a cascading blade of water—a feature that's particularly useful for women when shaving their legs. The goal of this addition, as with the majority of their product designs, is to simplify complexity. The duo's newest collaboration is with outdoor furniture brand Dedon, whose classic pieces use extruded plastic bands in bright colors (A fun fact that Jay shared: The brand started by making the extruded plastic handles attached to tubs of laundry detergent and segued that into a much more wide range of furnishings). Their line is made of teak from Indonesia that utilizes the brand’s famous plastic as webbing under the seats for extra support and fusion. When asked if his entire home was outfitted with products by Barber & Osgerby, Jay said yes he owned quite a few pieces, including the loop table, their first product ever, along with flea market finds and antiques from his favorite place to shop, the Deptford Market on the Thames (where Henry VIII had ships made). He admits that most of the items are probably stolen by "geezers" and driven to South London where shoppers unsuspectingly buy the goods. Barber & Osgerby are also working on a large eight-piece collection with Galerie kreo in Paris, an institution that has also created editions with the Bouroullec brothers, Konstantin Grcic, and many others. For their introductory piece, have created a sculptural three-meter-long table made of oak sourced from a forest in Burgundy. (Next year will bring a group of pieces and a gallery show.) Jay said the experience has been great because they are allowed the opportunity and resources to try things out that will influence the production of pieces in the future.
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Highlights from London's first ever Design Biennale

“Utopia by Design” is the theme at this year’s inaugural London Design Biennial. On show at the three-week event are a series of installations from 37 countries, all located inside and around the grounds of Somerset House by the Thames. The show runs until September 27.

The Architect’s Newspaper was in attendance and we've collected some highlights below:


The highlight of the Biennal, Border City was designed by Mexican architect Fernando Romero. Drawing on contemporary issues such as immigration, border control, and economic zoning, Romero’s masterplan coalesces employment, trade, and cultural dimensions into the "Border City." Here, the three states of New Mexico and Texas (U.S.) and Chihuahua (Mexico) would join as one singular hub.

Romero makes use of a topographical circular map and projection screens that wrap around the exhibition space. The visually intense installation submerges the audience into a wealth of information including population growth data, demographics, consumption, and resources for the U.S., Mexico, and the world. Phrases like “special economic zones” outline where trade areas would be in Romero’s binational “Border City” as further projections take you through renderings of the fictional city.


Located on the riverside, Lebanon’s installation provides a taste of Beirut for Londoners. While kebab shops are nothing new in the capital, Annabel Karim Kassar’s work immerses audiences into a typical Beirut street scene offering kebabs, Lebanese coffee, and even a wet shave. While the smell of spices waft through the vicinity and local music fills the air, a breeze running off the Thames brings you back home. Lebanon's piece won the London Design Biennale Medal 2016 for the most exceptional design contribution.


Inside, Chile’s “Counter Culture Room” offers an insight into the utopian dreams the country had under socialist President Allende of the 1970s and how they were very nearly realized. A short film relays how the country enlisted British cybernetics expert Stafford Beer for Project Cybersyn. Beer aimed to use cybernetics as a form of governance, whereby a central control room—one that could be mistaken for belonging to a 1970s sci-fi villain—would oversee the country. It was a cyber management system that would unite workers with the authorities through a flow of information. Though these plans never made it off the ground due to Pinochet's coup, Chilean studio Fab Lab Santiago made four chairs slicing a would-be control room in two. Interesting though the backstory is, visitors can’t feel empowered as the chairs are sadly unavailable for sitting in.


Austria’s installation symbolizes the fragility of utopias. The kinetic light sculpture comprises a complex arrangement of interconnected earbud-shaped lights. When left still, the whole structure is fully illuminated, however, when moved in any way, lights close to the source of movement dim and turn off. A slight nudge can rupture the delicate ambience that exists, meaning lights out in utopia.

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34 Nations to submit works for the Inaugural 2016 London Design Biennale

Despite having an established pedigree within the creative world, London has never had its own Biennal(e)—or even Triennale, for that matter. This year however, the city is opening the Inaugural 2016 London Design Biennale, showcasing work from 34 participating countries around the theme of Utopia by Design. Set to be hosted at Somerset House, a former royal palace on the Strand in central London, the Biennale will run from September 7 to 27 this year. On display will be installations curated by leading design institutions from around the world. Participating bodies include USA's Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, DAMnation (Belgium), German Design Council, Moscow Design Museum (Russia), Triennale Design Museum (Italy), India Design Forum, Southern Guild (South Africa), The Japan Foundation, and Victoria and Albert Museum (UK). Other participating nations will be: Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Chile, Croatia, France, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, and Turkey. Judging the contributions will be an an international advisory committee and jury comprised of established figures within the industry who will "award medals to the Biennale’s most significant national contributions." “We are delighted to announce the first ever London Design Biennale to be held at Somerset House," said Dr. Christopher Turner, Director of the Biennale. "500 years after the publication of Sir Thomas More’s classic, we are inviting countries to interrogate the contentious theme, Utopia by Design. These responses will demonstrate the power design has not only to strike up and inform debate, but also as a catalyst: provoking real change by suggesting inspiring or cautionary futures. Alongside the exhibition there will be an ambitious talks programme bringing together the very best international thinkers, and I hope that the Biennale will become a laboratory of ideas that might, in their way, contribute to making the world a better place.” London Mayor Boris Johnson also added: "Just as the London Olympic and Paralympic Games brought the world together through sport, they also inspired it through design, with Barber and Osgerby’s elegant torches and Heatherwick’s kinetic cauldron – a great unifying convergence of nations in fire and copper. In autumn 2016 the London Design Biennale will attract designers, as well as visitors, from all around the world for a vigorous exchange of ideas and ingenuity—the currency of London’s important and world-leading creative economy.”