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What to catch at the 2021 London Design Biennale – ArchPaper

If you’re looking to skip Venice this year, London may be your best bet. Despite not being the OG architecture Biennale, the 2021 London Design Biennale

Forest for Change installed in the courtyard of Somerset House (Photo by Ed Reeve/Courtesy Es Devlin
Forest for Change installed in the courtyard of Somerset House (Photo by Ed Reeve/Courtesy Es Devlin

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If you’re looking to skip Venice this year, London may be your best bet. Despite not being the OG architecture Biennale, the 2021 London Design Biennale (LDB), hosted in Somerset House, is offering equally good weather this year, plus a feast of design and architecture spectacles to gorge on from representative nations and geographical regions. Postponed last year after the COVID-19 pandemic caused lockdowns around the world, the third LDB now runs through to the end of June—here’s what to check out for 2021.

Forest for Change

This year, LDB artistic director, the artist and stage designer Es Devlin, invited participants to respond to the theme of “resonance.” “Everything we design and everything we produce resonates,” said Devlin. “Each idea we generate has the power to reach a mass digital audience undreamt of by previous generations, while the lifespans of the physical products we create often endure long beyond our own. Whether in the social media feeds of millions or in the bellies of marine animals, our ideas and our objects stick around.”

When taking the position of Artistic Director of the Biennale, Devlin was informed that trees were originally banned from the courtyard of Somerset House—the 250-year-old neoclassical building which has hosted the LDB since it began in 2016. So naturally, Devlin has filled the space with a forest.

This is the first time the courtyard has seen such flora—400 trees in total—and it’s quite a spectacle; already birds and insects have made it their home. The forest’s purpose, according to Devlin, is to “counter [the] attitude of human dominance over nature, by allowing [it] to overtake the entire courtyard.” As the move to green cities gains further traction, Forest for Change hints at the green potential of urban environments, particularly in places where such vegetation is (or in this case, once was) not welcome.

Canada: DUCkT

Who thought air ducts could be so cool, so glamorous? The Vancouver-based Revery Architecture and Canadian designers Venelin Kokalov, Mark Melnichuk, and Kimberley Glauber certainly think so.

Read on >>> Source: ArchPaper What to catch at the 2021 London Design Biennale

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