This Wonderful Design Festival Has Returned To Somerset House

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Design Bienniale

After a successful inaugural edition in 2016, London Design Bienniale returns for another go.

There’s always something going on at Somerset House. This month, it’s a collection of stunning design projects, gathered as part of the London Design Bienniale 2018. Bringing together designers and creators from forty different countries, cities, and territories, the bienniale has set up shop at Somerset House until September 23rd.

This year, the participants are responding to the theme ‘Emotional States’, exploring how design influences our emotions. Through sights, sounds, and even smells, these works shape and respond to our emotions – whilst looking insanely Instagrammable at the same time. Here are Secret London’s top picks of the 2018 London Design Bienniale:

Full Spectrum (Australia)

Design Bienniale
Photo: @jacksonaver

A crowd-pleasing multicoloured installation, Australia’s offering pays tribute to the nation’s recent yes vote on same-sex marriage. 150 fibre-optic strands form the rainbow, with visitors invited to make ’em dance.

The Silent Room (Lebanon)

Design Bienniale
Photo: @balubacreative

On the terrace, away from the hustle and bustle of the main event, you’ll find this giant blue box. The Silent Room is just that: a quiet place, dark and filled with blankets, the perfect spot to escape the noise of the city.

Disobedience (Greece)

Design Bienniale
Photo: @mj_lee

Out in the courtyard of Somerset House, you’ll spot something which looks like a bit like a human spine. The Greek submission to the Design Bienniale is a moving sculpture, a tunnel which opens up ahead of you and closes behind you. Not for the claustrophobic.

Time is Subjective (UAE)

Design Bienniale
Photo: @fezfinds

A room full of slowly rotating hourglasses is guaranteed to make you think about time. That’s the aim of this installation, which intends to increase our awareness of time by capturing it and seeming to slow it down.

Matter to Matter (Latvia)

Design Bienniale
Photo: @london_design_bienniale

Managing to be both moodily monolithic and wonderfully playful, Matter to Matter has proved an early crowd favourite. A big green wall glistens with condensation, and you’ve invited to express yourself by writing or drawing on it. Within two minutes, your creation will be gone, revealing the fleeting nature of art. Or something like that.

Sensorial Estates (Hong Kong)

Design Bienniale
Photo: @nurselukas

A Willy Wonka-esque dream becomes a reality, as Hong Kong brings scratch n’ sniff wallpaper to the Design Bienniale. It’s a nod to the city’s name (Hong Kong translates as ‘fragrant harbour’), with scents such as roast duck, egg tart, and opium available for you to sniff out.

Power Plant (Netherlands)

Design Bienniale
Photo: @katskitch

A colourful, LED-lit greenhouse, this futuristic space looks pretty, but also shows the way forward in urban food production and electricity generation. A proper double-whammy.

HousEmotion (Turkey)

Design Bienniale
Photo: @sakurasuwan

It looks like a very basic house, with walls, ceilings, and seating for two. But it’s actually composed of a series of white rods, which light up as the evening darkens; by the end, you’ll be bathed in white light.

London Design Bienniale 2018 runs until September 23rd – you can book tickets here.

Featured image: @london_design_bienniale

Alex Landon

Alex Landon

Although Alex spent most of his life in Somerset and Durham, London is (almost) in his name, so he relocated to the capital and fell in love with it. Now going by the moniker 'Secret Landon', you'll find him eating all of London's street food, lost in a bookshop, or shouting at his beloved ice hockey team, the Minnesota Wild.