Voluntary writer, Chloe Oliver, brings a review of the London Design Biennale Exhibition on ‘Emotional States’ for Label’s Culture section.


This year’s London Design Biennale, hosted by Somerset House, saw the amalgamation of artists and designers from all over the globe to explore the theme of ‘Emotional States’. Each room contained an immersive, interactive installation from a different country. A range of cultural and political issues were explored; demonstrating that, despite borders and language barriers, human emotions are universal.

Australian designer, Flynn Talbot, created ‘Full Spectrum’ – 150 colourful fibre optic light strands, representing the openness and love in the country with the new legislation to make same-sex marriage legal. Exhibition goers were able to walk amongst and touch the lights as they changed colour and gently swayed with passing people. A powerful silence filled the room without a trace of tension, instead people shared the experience in awe of his creation.

‘Radiance’ by Haberdashery Studio also explored the idea of how light affects our mood, particularly during sunset. These moments are often thought-provoking yet fleeting. Many of us find ourselves looking out into the evening sky, questioning the vastness of the universe and the fragility of our lives in it. ‘Radiance’ comprised of several glass sculptures that hoped to capture this feeling to recreate those stimulating moments for the viewer. Spotlights cast colours and shadows throughout the space to fully immerse the viewer in the experience.

Alongside this serene space was an installation with a very different atmosphere. A tall wall filled with notes of strangers’ hopes and dreams to travel had people enthusiastic and involved. ‘Time To Get Out’ by Berghaus had participants walk through a somewhat claustrophobic tunnel made from cold industrial materials to represent the repetition and mundanity of the everyday commute to work. The tunnel led out into a large open space, surrounded by natural imagery, before allowing people to consider how they will spend their own time better in the future and with whom.

The message of the whole exhibition was translated well, particularly through the installations mentioned. It was interesting to see the diverse range of approaches to the brief and how different people responded and personally connected with the work, there really was something for everyone here. Overall the exhibition left me with a greater sense of how I interact with the world around me and the influence the world we are creating for ourselves has on our emotional state.


Featured image by: Amie Woodyatt


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