London Design Biennale (4-23 September) returns for its second iteration, this year exploring the theme of ‘emotional states’. ‘It’s a gathering like the World Cup,’ says Sir John Sorrell of the 40 countries, cities, and territories that are taking part in the event at cultural hub Somerset House. Following its 2016 inauguration, the project has expanded covering every continent except Antarctica, and the works explore issues from sustainability to pollution in the form of immersive installations. Here we look at the 10 most innovative designs to keep an eye out for.
Following Talbot’s immersive light installation at the V&A Museum during the London Design Festival last year, the designer returns with another technicolor experience, this time encapsulating the happiness surrounding the recent Australian same-sex marriage legislation. Made up of 150 hanging optic fiber strands, the installation will produce an interactive rainbow that visitors can meander through and engage with.
Offering a taster of the breathtaking beauty of the Amazon rainforest is Elia’s organic installation. The project addresses the issue of deforestation in the country and depicts the ecosystem with Elia’s Desmatamento chairs (2013), symbolizing tree trunks found in the Mata Atlântica rainforest. Standing out is a blue pigment that signifies the conservation mark used by forest wardens to indicate trees that are to be saved, giving guests an insight into the sustainable steps the country are taking.
The Scottish city is fast approaching the opening of its Kengo Kuma-designed V&A Museum, and their Biennale pavilion aims to be just as impactful. The installation will investigate whether video games can help to start young people talk about their mental health. Shpeel invites individuals to share their emotions via gaming techniques and 360-degree sound and animation. The technology then produces an avatar that imitates these feelings, giving people an alternative communicative therapy to words.
The Latvian participation will embrace the country’s harmony between nature and design, and the development of technology in the 21st century. A glass condensation wall reflecting the humidity of the country’s capital of Riga will allow visitors to write messages as a form of meditation. The wall will be paired with a floor made from Latvian bark and a bench from birch that references the country’s forestry.
Maps of Defiance will use Forensic Architecture’s investigative software to present 3D models of land destroyed by terrorist organization Daesh (Islamic State). The thought-provoking display is a result of the collective’s work with individuals of the Sinjar area of Iraq who has documented evidence of destruction and genocide; the exhibition promises an intriguing view of how design can inform investigation.
A series of films exploring the production line of indigo dye will be the focus of the Indian installation. The rigorous process used to generate the unique pigment will mimic the hardworking nature of the republic’s design industry, in particular, the natural techniques and hard labor.
The Istanbul-based practice is questioning humans’ emotional connection to the home with a white pavilion. Originally created for the Interni ‘House In Motion’ exhibition at Salone del Mobile this year, the structure is developed using white rods to build a cubic shape with gaps that make the ‘home’ appear transient. Inside, a comforting environment will be created for visitors to relax, and at night, the exterior will light up to become even more alluring.
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