This year’s Design Biennale is focussed on the ways that modern design impact human emotions, bringing together 40 countries with 40 breathtaking design concepts, each of which unpacks the way we process thoughts, feelings and emotional responses in a different way. Intrigued? Take an hour out to explore the Biennale between now and the 23rd, and these are five installations to make a beeline for.
Greece’s creation for the Biennale is one of this year’s most sizeable (and striking) installations. It’s called ‘ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ’, which translates as ‘disobedience’ – it’s a concept that’s been used to refer to the Greek people’s temperament for generations – whether in Greek politics, mythology or folklore. True to form, this giant walkway is disobedient, and refuses to conform to the idea that architecture must be static. It’s 17 metres long, constructed from a steel sprung skeleton layered with recycled plastic, and it flexes as you move through it, encouraging visitors to view architectural design as something interactive, sensory and involved.
‘Matter To Matter’ reflects on the transience of human thoughts and feelings, and is wonderfully simple in its form. Designed by Latvian architect Arthur Analts, it’s a translucent glass wall, gently heated and covered in water, to encourage a constant film of condensation. Each visitor is asked to leave a message on the glass – a thought or expression that will disappear within minutes. Matter To Matter makes a statement about our culture and transience, and acts as a gentle reminder of the ways in which the natural world around us can cover over or outlast human activity.
3. The Netherlands
This installation is called ‘Power Plant’, and as the name suggests it generates both energy and food using sunlight. The Netherlands’ design team call it a ‘vision of hope for the future’, in a landscape where the pressures on human energy and food supply grow ever more acute. Could this ‘greenhouse for the future’ be the solution to humanity’s problems? Pay a visit to learn about the solar glass and hydroponic technology involved, and make up your own mind.
Australia’s exhibit gets our vote for its sheer optimism. Flynn Talbot’s rainbow-coloured light spectrum is quite simply a ‘celebration of love, inspired by a new spirit of openness in his country’. More specifically, ‘Full Spectrum’ was inspired by Australia’s legalisation of same-sex marriage last year. ‘I wanted people to be able to feel and experience every colour of light, just as now in Australia people are open to every way of loving. I hope the open and accepting nature of the new Australia is felt through my installation,’ says Talbot.
Lebanon’s ‘The Silent Room’ is an ‘urban intervention chamber’. It’s designed to be a calming, insulated space for members of the public to escape the hubbub of the capital around them, to rest or take stock. It’s a design that recognises how relentless urban life can be today, and that poses a solution that’s as simple as it is sensitive. ‘Silence today is becoming a commodity for the privileged’, says designer Nathalie Harb, ‘the Silent Room offers the luxury of silence to everyone, regardless of background or status.’
London Design Biennale 2018 is at Somerset house until 23 September. Tickets available at londondesignbiennale.com