London Design Biennale 2018: Most Memorable Exhibits

The London Design Biennale is one of the highlights of the global design calendar. It attracts exhibitors from over forty countries, cities, and territories to explore a different theme with other great minds of design. The London Design Biennale 2018 was held September 4-23 at Somerset House and explored the theme “Emotional States.” These are the highlights of this landmark exhibition.



Desmatamento London Design Biennale 2018’s Most Memorable Exhibits
Photo courtesy of The Somerset House


The goal of David Elia in creating Desmatamento (or Deforestation) was to bring light to the importance of Brazil’s rainforests not just to the country, but also to the world. Since 2004, deforestation rates in Brazil have decreased by eighty percent. Despite this, deforestation is still a challenge in the Amazon rainforest. Brazil has committed to not only end illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030 but also to recover an area of forests the size of England. He brought his vision to light by using found tree stumps to represent the rainforests on the Eastern coast of Brazil. The blue along each stump represents the mark used by forest wardens to mark trees that should be saved. Iconic Brazilian landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx inspired Elia. Marx was also a pioneer in rainforest conservation.

Sensorial Estates


Sensorial Estates London Design Biennale 2018’s Most Memorable Exhibits
Photo courtesy of The Somerset House


Hong Kong showcased the Sensorial Estates exhibit at London Design Biennale 2018. It focused on how smell heightens memory in our everyday lives. The exhibit shows how smells can take us back to physical places and states of being.


Curated objects and imagery will explore iconic and nostalgic representations of Hong Kong as a place of memory, while the visitor interacts with the installation space through both sight and smell by way of a series of boxes with aroma infused objects and scratch-and-sniff wallpapers.


Multiple design teams and curators partnered to create the exhibit. It uses multiple stories to evoke a true look at Hong Kong culture.

Power Plant


Power Plant London Design Biennale 2018’s Most Memorable Exhibits
Photo courtesy of The Somerset House


The Netherlands presented their contribution Power Plant to show how design can also offer hope. The greenhouse is one from the future that grows not only food but also generates electricity.


Food drives many of our most primal emotions, and increasingly it is at the root of our deepest fears. The world’s population is growing rapidly; by 2050, 2.5 billion people will live in cities. At the same time, climate change is amplifying weather extremes – deserts are expanding and fertile land is becoming scarcer. The question is, how can we continue to feed so many people – and how can we do so in a way that doesn’t do further damage to the planet?


Power Plant’s solar glass maintains the indoor climate allowing for growth year round. Additionally, the watering system reduces water needs by ninety percent compared to traditional farming. This system designed by Het Nieuwe Instituut can increase plant growth by up to forty times current standards.

Matter to Matter


Matter to Matter London Design Biennale 2018 Most Memorable Exhibits
Photo courtesy of The Somerset House


Finally, the Matter to Matter exhibit presented by Latvia at London Design Biennale 2018 is an interactive meditation space. Latvian culture places importance on the relationship of people to nature. Modern technology consequently threatens that bond.


The installation serves to comment on Latvian design, architecture and technology in the 21st century. Design with a long-term focus will create socially responsible and environmentally friendly design, that can coexist with nature and its inhabitants.


Both the Latvian National Museum of Art and also the Decorative Arts and Design Museum partnered on the work. This exhibit stood out to attendees of the London Design Biennale 2018.

Indeed every exhibit at the London Design Biennale 2018 was noteworthy, but these were crowd favorites. For more about the many Design Biennales held around the world, you can also explore what to do while attending Istanbul Design Biennale.

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London Design Biennale 2018: Most Memorable Exhibits