Biennials & festivals

Rapid response and mind-boosting robots: London Design Biennale participants reveal exhibition ideas

Israel’s entry will tap into turbulent times while Lebanon presentation reflects fantasy and reality of Beirut

Rendering of Lebanon's presentation courtesy Rana Salam studio

Five countries participating in the second London Design Biennale, due to be held at Somerset House this autumn (4-23 September), have revealed their radical concepts for the large-scale, Venice-style exhibition which is based this year on the theme of Emotional States.

Israel will present “an active multi-disciplinary, rapid response design studio responding to Israeli identity, cultural and social issues”, the organisers say. Each week, a different curator and selection of designers will oversee the project, entitled Exposed Nerves, responding to issues raised on a news-feed stream.

For Lebanon’s entry, the French-born designer Fouad Elkoury will visualise “the characteristic calamity and extraordinary Beirut cityscape by digitally projecting onto a 360 ̊ surrounding structure”. The JuXt Beirut walk-through installation aims to highlight the frenetic pace, and contradictions, of the city. 

The Norwegian entry will be centred on a robot called AV1 that acts as a learning accessory for young adults suffering from long-term illnesses. A gaming platform called Kahoot! also forms part of the interactive installation.

According to a press statement: “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 people’s lives—the way we live and how we live—but also influences our very being, emotions and experiences.”

The UK entry will be organised for the second time by curators at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Other confirmed participants include India, Bangladesh and Argentina.