Responding to artistic director and curator Es Devlin's theme ‘Resonance’, designers from different countries, territories, and cities showcased how they envision new perspectives and solutions to global issues, exploring topics such as sustainability and the environment, globalization, migration, and the future of humanity. The diversity of the contributing curators was not only present in the solutions they presented, but in how they displayed them as well. While some opted for the tactile experience of exploring natural elements, others relied on one of the most prominent themes of the 21st century: digitalization and the virtual world.
The Pakistani pavilion displayed a film by Lél which presents the art of stone inlay "as a means to engage with notions of displacement". Titled War Gardens, the film reflects Lél's values, a Peshawar-based who has worked with displaced Afghan refugees in Pakistan who have advanced this craftsmanship over the past two decades.
Norway’s contribution to the 2021 London Design Biennale brings visitors closer to the fjords and its rugged coast. The pavilion presents how ocean-based inclusive design aids both the people and the environment. Through a digital event, Norway is taking visitors on an immersive journey below and above the ocean, exploring different views of inclusion. Visitors will observe the diversity of the marine life and unique architectural constructions, along with sustainable possibilities for the future, focusing on how inclusive design resonates with nature and how it impacts people’s lives.
Titled Lotus of the Nile, the Nile Regions's contribution showcases the value of tradition and culture through design, music, and technology in an afro-futuristic display. The pavilion highlights the "collaborative journey down the world's longest river" proving how technology and nature are always connected. The designers created a physical instrument based on traditional African string instruments and were used for the pavilion's digital experience. Visitors have the chance to create their own African song and merge them with the rhythms composed by the musicians.
Studio Elsewhere created Recharge Room, an immersive and interactive healing environment to support mental health and wellbeing of hospital frontline workers. The exhibition comes as a result of their experience during COVID-19's peak, when the design studio worked alongside scientific and clinical partners at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City to support frontline workers. The pavilion's multisensory healing environments aims to support brain health in collaboration with neuroscientists, clinicians, patients, and caregivers.
The Italian pavilion thought of the world’s increasing population every year, and how it challenges current generation to answer to the critical climate emergency. For the Biennale, curator Mario Cucinella displayed Terra, a short movie that explores humans' capacity to adapt to the climate challenges, and how they can take sustain the oldest material in history: earth.
Designer Harrison Gardner was inspired by the traditional building techniques on the island of Inis Oírr, in the Aran Islands. His installation, titled An Leabharlann, is computer-generated library model which allows visitors to explore the construction and digital archive of the library's collection. The project was done in collaboration with Drop Everything, a "week-long multidisciplinary residency focusing on contemporary culture", which brings together creatives from the fields of architecture and design, fashion, music, and visual arts.
The third edition of the London Biennale is currently being held at the Somerset House from June 1st until the 27th, with 38 exhibitions from across six continents that explore the the role of design with respect to global challenges.