London’s inaugural Design Biennale is set to open at Somerset House this September, based around the idea of Utopia to coincide with the venue’s year-long events programme.
The biennale is headed up by London Design Festival director Ben Evans, biennale director Christopher Turner, former editor of Icon, and London Design Festival co-founder Sir John Sorrell. More than 30 countries are taking part in the event, which will showcase newly commissioned works in design-led innovation, contemporary design, creativity and research.
Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby are representing the UK, creating an installation curated by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
Each country will be developing a presentation around the theme Utopia by Design, and issues being explored include migration, pollution, water and social equality. The event has revealed that Greece’s project will “contextualise current population movements,” and Israel’s includes a “proposal for how first aid might be parachuted in to disaster zones.”
“We chose the inaugural theme, Utopia by Design, to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s classic, and to reflect on the rich history of the modernist design it inspired,” says Christopher. “The utopian impulse allows us to escape the blinkers of the present and dream, telling stories about alternative futures that ask important questions about the world in which we live. The London Design Biennale will feature some of these provocations, which aim to provoke real change by suggesting inspiring or cautionary futures.”
London Design Biennale takes place from 7 – 27 September at Somerset House.
- Activism, raving and vintage cookbooks – highlights from Nicer Tuesdays June
- Patrick Savile’s dreamy designs draw from 70s airbrush art, Roger Dean and Turing patterns
- Illustrator Nathan Cowdry depicts an unusual dialogue between two strangers in his new comic, Shiner
- Our round-up of this year’s UK grad show identities and show designs
- Nathalie du Pasquier opens first solo show in UK for almost 25 years
- Photographer Ian Kenneth Bird shares his top photobooks
- Alex Norris’ hilarious three-panelled webcomics are universally appealing
- Pigalle, Ill-Studio and Nike have redesigned the Paris Duperré basketball court
- Leipzig graphic design studio Lamm & Kirch on their shared ethos
- Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger on how to stand out
- From Lemon Twigs to Laura Marling: Hollie Fernando’s painterly photography folio
- Why materials matter: Seetal Solanki on the Grenfell Tower tragedy