It’s Nice That is excited to be supporting this year’s London Design Biennale as digital media partner. The festival at Somerset House takes place from 4-23 September 2018, with 35 countries and cities taking part with an expansive show of installations exploring the theme of Emotional States.
It’s Nice That will be publishing a series of articles that delve into the diverse programme and celebrate the festival, starting with a piece about this year’s visual identity by Pentagram.
To find out more about the event taking over the entirety of Somerset House this September, visit here and stay tuned for further content to be published on It’s Nice That throughout the summer.
The winners of the first three medals at the London Design Biennale 2018, hosted by Somerset House, have been announced this evening.
The concept of disobedience and the country of Greece have been linked for centuries; from the cautionary tale of Icarus who, despite his father’s warnings, flew too close to the sun, to Pandora’s box, to Prometheus who disobeyed the Gods to obey his moral obligation to humanity – the country’s mythology is loaded with rebellion. Whilst this may be at the roots of Nassia Inglessis (of Studio INI)’s pavilion at this year’s London Design Biennale, it isn’t the destructive nature of the word that inspires her, but rather the way that it can be harnessed for debate, for creativity, and for progress.
The theme of the 2018 London Design Biennale, hosted by Somerset House in September of this year, is an undeniably provocative one. Indeed, Emotional States could mean many different things to many different people, let alone designers, artists and those blessed with naturally imaginative, curious minds. Speaking to It’s Nice That, senior curator at MoMA and member of the Biennale’s jury, Paola Antonelli, proffered that that was what made this year so exciting for her: “that’s the beautiful aspect of the theme – that it is very open. There’s a nice ambiguity to it which makes for a lot of possibility.” The theme has been chosen specifically to provoke a broad interpretation from the contributing countries across the world, and to inspire work that covers a wide spectrum of how design affects every aspect of life, be it day-to-day, individual human emotions – from sadness to anger to joy – to the mood of a community, and on an even larger scale: unrest at country-wide level. It’s the scope for designers to challenge the current political, social and economic climates that have such a huge effect on both individual emotional states and nation-states, that interests us most here at It’s Nice That. “The news stories that we are facing are so blatantly important, urgent, and electrifying – for good and for bad – that I think everybody (unless they don’t have a pulse) is really heated up by them” agrees Paola, “and what artists and designers do well is that they channel that energy into proposals and ideas, or demonstrations.” In a time of closing borders, maniacally villainous presidents and Brexit, there are arguably more factors than ever influencing our emotional states, and even more of a need for designers, artists, curators – anyone and everyone, in fact – to channel those emotions into something positive.
Whilst it might seem like a lot of pressure to put on anyone, let alone someone outside of political office, Paola argues – both in our conversation with her and in her 2007 TED talk – that the capacity to incite change is well within designers’ remit, “designers are the biggest synthesisers in the world; what they do is make a synthesis of human needs, current conditions in economy, in materials, in sustainability issues and then what they do in the end, if they’re good, is much more than the sum of their parts.”
For its second edition, London Design Biennale has turned once again to Pentagram partner Domenic Lippa for its graphic identity. The 2018 festival taking over Somerset House will centre around the theme of Emotional States, exploring how design affects all aspects of our lives and influences “our very being, emotions and experiences”. Therefore the identity looked to convey human feelings, taking inspiration from Charles Darwin’s “seven universal emotions”: anger, fear, surprise, disgust, joy, sadness and contempt.