A visitor poses inside an artwork entitled 'Australia, Full Spectrum' by designers Flynn Talbot Ltd., during a press preview for the 2018 'London Design Biennale' at Somerset House in London on September 3, 2018. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)
A visitor poses inside an artwork entitled 'Australia, Full Spectrum' by designers Flynn Talbot Ltd

Emotional States, the theme of the 2018 London Design Biennale aims to reveal how design influences our emotions. 

The second edition of the London Design Biennale which runs from September 4 – 23 at Somerset House in London features 40 participants from six continents. Each exhibit is designed to have an interactive element encouraging visitors to engage directly with the work.

These are 7 of our favourite installations:

housEmotion by Tabanlıoğlu Architects, Turkey

Tabanlıoğlu Architects’ housEmotion, a cube structure demarcated by white rods, serves to ask questions about the meaning of ‘home’. In an increasingly tech-driven and transient world our perceptions of ‘home’ vary more than ever. In it’s current context housEmotion might become a temporary shelter, a place to meet new people or a place to relax.

ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ (Disobedience) by Studio INI, Greece

ΑΝΥΠΑΚΟΗ, a 17-metre long kinetic walkway with undulating floor and flexible walls, challenges the idea of architecture as static and inert. As visitors move through the piece they might begin to imagine a not-too-distant world where once rigid physical spaces become responsive and malleable.

Sensorial Estates by WE-DESIGNS & LAByrinth PROJECT, Hong Kong

Sensorial Estates explores the relationship between sense of smell and memory with scent-infused object and scratch-and-sniff wallpaper – “We’ve created an aromatic journey that blends stories about the emotional connection of aroma to food cultures, cha chaan tengs [Hong Kong diners], worship and the very origins of the meaning of the name Hong Kong – which translates as ‘Fragrant Harbour’” explains curator of design objects, Elaine Young.

Full Spectrum by Flynn Talbot Ltd, Australia

Designer Flynn Talbot was overcome with emotion after Australia legalized same-sex marriage after a nationwide postal vote. Using the symbolic rainbow ‘pride flag’ as a reference point, Talbot created a light screen is made from 150 strands of fibre-optic light, each a different colour. As Talbot explains: “I wanted people to be able to feel and experience every colour of light, just as now in Australia people are open to every way of loving.”

Matter to Matter by Arthur Analts (Variant Studio), Latvia

Matter to Matter is much like a giant bathroom steamed up mirror; visitors are encouraged to leave messages on the wall which slowly disappear. Arthur Analts sought to create a metaphor for our own transience and nature’s ability to reclaim human interventions.

State of Indigo curated by Priya Khanchandani, India

Delving into the history of the pigment indigo, this installation brings to the surface the painful legacy of colonialism in India. “This rare and refulgent pigment was used to dye fabric, repel insects, treat ailments, disinfect, ward off spirits and even to decorate an entire city,” says curator Priya Khanchandani. But it also became inextricably linked with colonial trade and slavery. “It was once said that no indigo box dispatched to England was without a smear of blood,” she adds. The use of indigo become a symbol of India’s emotional plight, representing “a process of catharsis for a nation whose invisible histories are being unravelled”.

The Silent Room by BÜF architecture and 21dB, Lebanon

The Silent Room is a space for people to escape the  sensory bombardment of everyday urban life. It offers a dimly-lit cocoon-like space which is an oasis isolated from the outside world. As designer Nathalie Harb explains  “It offers the luxury of silence to everyone, regardless of background or status. It redresses the sonic inequity within the contemporary urban landscape.”

Find out more about the London Design Biennale here.

Main Image: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images