The first ever London Design Biennale, in partnership with Jaguar and Somerset House, runs from 7-27 September. Installations, artworks, prototypes and designs from 37 countries and territories have come together in an entertaining and inspiring exploration of the role of design in our collective futures.
Visitors interact with brand new work by world-leading architects, designers, scientists, writers and artists in a broad, vibrant exhibition that includes large-scale kinetic sculpture, immersive digital installations, culinary pop-ups, performances and VR renderings of the future. Each exhibit is a response to the Biennale’s 2016 theme ‘Utopia by Design’, chosen as part of Somerset House’s UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, to mark the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s text. The resulting commissions are richly varied, including fantastical imaginings of future cities, homages to unrealised utopian proposals of the past, and innovative solutions for issues in 21st-century life.
Visitors are able to grab a pomegranate juice, falafel or a wet shave in Annabel Karim Kassar’s meticulous recreation of a bustling Beirut street on the Thames riverfront (Lebanon); influencemischer’traxler’s precarious light sculpture as it moves, dims and brightens in reaction to its spectators (Austria); eat the graphic food of Chung-Ho Tsai in Rain Wu’s tranquil forest-like setting (Taiwan); relax in the mouths of ferocious beasts courtesy of Porky Hefer (South Africa) or wander around the Santander of 2100 in a virtual reality realisation of the smart city’s future (Spain). Jaguar’s bespoke installation reflects its rich history of innovation, and explores how technology has liberated mobility.
Underlying much of the Biennale are a number of pressing, universal issues that designers around the world are seeking to address, among them sustainability, migration, pollution, political unrest, water and social equality: Mexican architect Fernando Romero explores the ‘transnational’ border city as a solution for migration and increasing populations; Israel presents an innovative proposal for how first aid might be distributed in disaster zones and Australian Brodie Neill draws attention to – and finds beauty in – ocean-based plastic waste. The UK is represented by London-based design duoEdward Barber and Jay Osgerby. Curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum, their 14-metre kinetic sculpture and exploration of the nation’s relationship with wind energy will occupy the centre of the iconic Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. Other leading institutions, museums and organisations representing their countries include the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (USA), DAMnº magazine(Belgium), German Design Council, MAK (Austria), Moscow Design Museum (Russia), Triennale Design Museum (Italy), India Design Forum, Southern Guild (South Africa), and The Japan Foundation.
The curated, three-week long Biennale is an independent event which will overlap the London Design Festival, complementing its citywide programme of commissions and partner events every two years.
The London Design Biennale 2016 runs from 7 - 27 September 2016 at Somerset House.
Open daily from 11am
Tickets: £15/£10 concessions
On sale via ticketmaster
Sponsored by Jaguar
Korea, Republic of
United Arab Emirates
United States of America