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African Design At London Design Biennale 2016

International design season continues, yesterday I attended the press preview of the inaugural London Design Biennale which is being held at London’s prestigious Somerset House from today the 7th-27th September. The Biennale bringing together work and conceptual ideas from 37 nations exploring the theme Utopia, which coincides with Somerset House’s UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, which marks the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s text, Utopia – a work of fiction and political philosophy that More published in 1516 in Latin and primarily depicts a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs. Representing Africa with diverse expressions of African design are Nigeria, Tunisia, and South Africa.
[Main image credits: Porky Hefer, London Design Biennale 2016 – Tapiwa Matsinde]

 Featuring a mix of design, interactive installations, and social design initiatives, personal highlights were:

  • Visiting South Africa to see Porky Hefer’s surreal, but so very fun menagerie. Having seen these so many times online, getting to see them up close, going so far as to sitting in one made my day.
  • Sending a wish round Somerset House courtesy of the very space-age Wish Machine in Turkey
  • Beautifully screen and block printed textiles made using natural henna dyes in Pakistan and organic glass blown vases moulded in willow branches in Sweden
  • Taking a journey on the path to utopia in the atmospheric zen-like surrounds of the Republic of Korea
  • And being bathed in a festival of colours reminiscent of the Holi festival in India

London Design Biennale 2016 - Porky Hefer South Africa

London Design Biennale - Porky Hefer Self Portrait

London Design Biennale 2016 - Pakistan

London Design Biennale 2016 - Wishing Machine - Turkey

London Design Biennale 2016 - India

[Image credits: top Porky Hefer; centre Pakistan, bottom, India –
London Design Biennale 2016 – Tapiwa Matsinde]
Additional Details:
For further information about the London Design Biennale and participants
[Image credits: All images belong to Tapiwa Matsinde. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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