Preview: The first London Design Biennale

Preview: The first London Design Biennale

Interpreting utopia

Text: Faizal Dahlawia

A new highlight in the design calendar promises a host of innovative ideas and dialogues as we work towards a utopian society.

The first London Design Biennale will welcome more than 35 countries to display their interpretations of the ideal society, guided by the year's theme 'Utopia by Design'. Some of the most prominent design institutions will make their way to the Somerset House in the capital to explore several key questions on sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities, and social equality in a bid to achieve utopia as well as participate in talks and workshops.

London Design Biennale

One of the main highlights of the event will be Forecast, a wind powered installation by local designers Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby. While the design reflects the rich British maritime history, the concept also emphasises the UK's leading role in wind energy.

London Design Biennale

Representing the Middle East are teams from KSA, Lebanon, Tunisia and the UAE. Architect Annabel Karim Kassar is seto to present an installation that brings authentic Beirut to visitors through the use of scaffoldings and segmented areas. "The most crucial challenge is to evoke the feeling of Beirut, without masking the DNA of London which permeates Somerset House and every space around it, said Kassar. "The most interesting thing for me will be to experience these two realities side by side and, perhaps, learning something new about them through this interaction."

Meanwhile, Saudi-based sister curators Basma and Noura Bouzo will offer Water Machine, a visual piece that questions the idea of water accessibility and how utopia can only be achieved through harmonious co-existence between humans and nature.  

London Design Biennale

The London Design Biennale runs from September 7-27 at Somerset House in London. Then, read about Design Ras Al Khor's second edition at the upcoming Dubai Design Week

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