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London Design Biennale

We attended this year’s London Design Biennale, observing over 40 global designers' work based around the theme "The Global Game: Remapping Collaborations". A strong sense of interdependence between community and nature saw designers contemplate a more resilient future, tackling some of our most pressing social and environmental issues.

Weren't able to attend? Below, we discuss some of the key ideas bonding the various projects while drawing from our core Macro directions.

Resilient Communities

Instability around the world has fuelled projects championing a global effort for mutual support, with a sense of urgency. Various pavilions focused on the war in Ukraine, with infrastructure and temporary measures, like Paper Sanctuary by Shigeru Ban and Poland’s Poetics of Necessity, centring citizens' quality of life during these challenging times.

Other community-based projects captured the hyper-connectivity generated by creativity, including the Taiwan Pavilion, whose Visual Shop used rhythmic metals to capture the country’s lively optimism and its industries collaborative nature. Likewise, the Bidi Bidi Music and Arts Centre by Hassell and, led by refugees and local Ugandans, champions locality through considered materials and close collaboration between creatives.

Images: BDA London

Symbiotic Living

Sustainability was a key concern across the Biennale. A human-centric approach to design showed how we can better support nature better - so that it can better support us - through materials rooted in natural and regenerative resources.

The Romanian Pavilion encompassed this idea with its Vatra Verde project, studying humans' impact on the natural world. The installation looks at how we can reinvigorate our current environments while future-proofing them with renewable innovations.

Meanwhile, the Morphing Matter Lab looked at self-shaping materials and automotive planting developments. The E-seed installation presented a self-burying seed that reacts to humidity, triggered by automated steam generators. This self-sufficient element to planting highlights how innovations can help nature to respond to changing environmental conditions.

Images: BDA London

Ageing intelligence

Adaptive and preventative approaches highlighted the importance of designing for longevity. Sheffield Hallam University’s Lab4living showed Re-imagining the 100-year Life to rethink how we enhance health and wellbeing amongst ageing populations. Modular and versatile living conditions were a primary focus, with thoughts concentrated around long-lasting and sustainable built environments with a holistic undertone. The key message: “A sustainable home is an adaptable home that can support life transitions. It’s an intergenerational home that can meet the different needs of people. And a sustainable home is one that can support human flourishing.”

Several design pavilions aimed to de-stigmatise ageing and champion the ability to live contently and joyfully at any age. Upbeat and thought-provoking messaging underlined the interactive Flip the Script display by the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, tackling the negative stereotypes of getting older while sharing individuals' hopes and plans for the future. Stories covering the installation prioritised 'longevity-ready' mindsets, pushing for preventative environments and experiences to help people live healthier and longer.

Images: BDA London


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