London Design Biennale: "Emotional States" will fill Somerset House in 2018

London Design Biennale, 4-23 September 2018, now in its second edition, is an independent production from the founders of London Design Festival. The curated, three-week long Biennale is a prestigious global event, which will bring over 40 of the world’s nations to exhibit newly commissioned works across the entirety of Somerset House, a London historic building. Nations, territories and cities are increasingly recognising the power of design to bring social change and economic growth. 

London Design Biennale will similarly feel the global pulse, and design installations will investigate the important relationship between design, strong emotional responses, and real social needs”, says Dr Christopher Turner, Director of the London Design Biennale.

Emotional States’ has been chosen to provoke a broad interpretation across design disciplines, with immersive and engaging installations that interrogate how design affects every aspect of our lives – the way we live and how we live – but also influences our very being, emotions and experiences. 

Visceral exhibits and experiences will evoke moods and explore a particular country's design story. National entries will ask: how does design evoke, communicate and manipulate emotions? How can design promote and support well-being?

Turner elaborates: “Design is at the forefront of change-making, with architects and designers working imaginatively to try and create positive conditions for human flourishing. But, for every problem designers solve, inevitably more are created. In their installations and exhibits, design teams will propose radical and provocative ideas that will examine the full spectrum of emotional experiences, from anger to joy, sadness to disgust.

The exhibition will include AI and robotics, virtual reality, large-scale sculptures, immersive digital installations, performances and renderings of the future.

A diverse group of countries from 5 continents are the first to be confirmed as participants, with a further tier being announced in the New Year. They are: Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and USA.

There were overwhelming support and enthusiasm from the international design community for the Biennale’s debut in 2016, which saw 37 countries and territories from six continents take part. Works were inspired by the theme ‘Utopia by Design’, in conjunction with Somerset House’s UTOPIA season, which celebrated the 500th anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s seminal text, Utopia (1516).