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Design: London Design Biennale 2018, some interactive installations to look out for

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...

Full Spectrum

Full Spectrum Country: Australia Designer: Flynn Talbot Following Talbot’s immersive light installation at the V&A Museum during London Design Festival last year, the designer returns with another technicolour experience, this time encapsulating the happiness surrounding the recent Australian same-sex marriage legislation. Made up of 150 hanging optic fibre strands, the installation will produce an interactive rainbow that visitors can meander through and engage with.


Desmatamento Country: Brazil Designer: David Elia

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), symbolising 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.


Shpeel City: Dundee Designer: Biome Collective

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.

Matter to Matter

Matter to Matter Country: Latvia Designer: Arthur Analts (Variant Studio) 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.


ANIPAKOI Country: Greece Designer: Studio INI led by Nassia Inglessis, Lead Designer and Engineer with team E. Brial, M. Vordonarakis, L. Walker, N. L’ Huiller, A. Yioti and with Neiheiser Argyros, C. Hornzee-Jones, Elliott Wood Partnership Ltd. Somerset House-based Studio INI will launch a kinetic installation in the courtyard that reacts to movement. Exploring ideas of disobedience that date back to Ancient Greece, the responsive work expands and contracts depending on an individual’s motions, acting as a gateway to their emotions or ‘a physical megaphone.’ During the biennale, performances will take place showcasing the dynamic possibilities of the piece​.

The Silent Room

The Silent Room Country: Lebanon Designer: Nathalie Harb in collaboration with BÜF and 21dB This year’s Lebanese contribution explores the effect of noise pollution on our emotional state. By creating a room insulated from noise, they are offering guests an experience that is becoming more of a life luxury: silence. The structure will live on the Embankment terrace of Somerset House and will act as an area to repose and connect with thoughts.


housEmotion Country: Turkey Designer: Tabanlıoğlu Architects

The Istanbul-based practice are 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 makes 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.


London Design Biennale 2018



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