Now in its second edition, London Design Biennale 2018 was hosted in Somerset House from the 4th to the 23rd September. The theme of 'Emotional States' was chosen by the event's artistic director, Chris Turner, who wanted to capture "the role that design plays in creating, reinforcing or alleviating the emotionally turbulent and politically polarised times we live in."
With entries from 40 countries, cities and territories, London Design Biennale 2018 was one exhibition that we just couldn't miss! From Argentina to Guatemala, Poland to Vietnam, the wide selection of entries resulted in a diverse demonstration of some of the world's most innovative and impressive designs.
If you didn't get a chance to visit this year's Biennale yourself, fear not! Here at Vitamin T, we've put together our top picks from the exhibition to showcase what we've learnt and help inspire and encourage all you creatives with your own design work.
1. Latvia: Matter to Matter
Latvia's entry created a space for meditation and reflection. A wall of condensation was accompanied with a bench made from common Latvian trees. Matter to Matter explored the fleeting nature of emotions and the relationship between humans and nature as visitors were invited to leave short-lived messages on the wall. These messages of emotion disappeared within minutes, thus making a stark comment about the power of nature and how it can overcome human traces.
2. Puerto Rico: Soft Identity Makers
Puerto Rico's entry challenged our politically turbulent times in regard to the emotionally charged concept of nationality. This is an issue prevalent for those living in Puerto Rico – an unincorporated US territory – who call themselves American yet have no voting rights. The Soft Identity Makers installation included a range of symbols and badges that all had different cultural meanings. Visitors were encouraged to pick their top five symbols and create their own identity by having these symbols mixed together and printed on a t-shirt. Moulding your own identity in a world that has already pre-determined who you are seemed to be the core message of this entry, and its one that really made an impression on us.
3. Lebanon: The Silent Room
The Silent Room is an urban intervention that offers public spaces for people to rest and experience silence; both of noise and of information. The increasingly immediate, 24-hour world we live can often result in over stimulation, making it difficult to feel at peace and experience true quietness. For people who live in busy cities, industrial areas or underprivileged neighbourhoods, space might be a problem; The Silent Room might just be the solution.
This is most definitely not an exhaustive list – there were so many interesting and thought-provoking entries at London Design Biennale that it was truly difficult to pick our favourites.
Overall, we have definitely learnt to think a little bit more about the world: about nature, the news and politics, as well as about everyday situations and our own thoughts and feelings, and ultimately, how we interact with all of these things. With that, we've also learnt to appreciate the power that intentional design can have in opening up new thought processes and ways of seeing the world.
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