London Design Biennale has announced that multi-award-winning artist and designer Es Devlin OBE will be the Artistic Director of the third edition of the international exhibition at London’s Somerset House, 8-27 September 2020.
Widely recognised to be one of the most visionary and artistically ambitious figures working in the fields of music, opera, art, theatre and technology today, Devlin is known for creating large-scale performative sculptures and environments that fuse technology and poetry. For London Design Festival 2018, her luminous fluorescent red Please Feed The Lions installation roared AI- generated collective poetry to crowds in Trafalgar Square. The Singing Tree, a collective choral installation at the V&A, merged machine-learning with sound and light in 2017; and the 2016 Mirrormaze in Peckham and 2017 ROOM 2022 at Miami Art Basel both explored reflective labyrinthine narratives and geometries.
She has conceived touring stage sculptures for Beyoncé, U2, The Weeknd, Adele and Kanye West, and collaborated with celebrated theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli on an interpretation of The Order of Time read by Benedict Cumberbatch at BOLD Peckham in September 2018. She designed the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony and has conceived the UK Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai.
Devlin has chosen ‘Resonance’ as the theme, which over 50 countries, cities and territories will respond to in their installations and presentations across the entirety of the site.
Devlin explains, “We live in an age of hyper resonance, the consequences of which are both exhilarating and devastating. Everything we design and everything we produce resonates. 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.
In our global, digital era, design can reach instantly across borders and bridge cultures. It can positively alter behaviours and transform societies. Perspectives can be shifted and lives can be improved when new ideas resonate and are adopted by extended communities. Designers have the power to influence and amaze their audiences into making these profound shifts, using the mass networks available to them to resonate practices that will help build a more sustainable future.”
Alongside Devlin’s role as 2020 Artistic Director, London Design Biennale also announces the appointment of Will Sorrell as Managing Director.
Prior to joining London Design Biennale, Sorrell was Managing Director of designjunction. He has instigated over 35 exhibitions in 15 countries, across design, art, architecture and fashion. These include seven editions of the award-winning designjunction show; the launch of Tom Dixon’s critically acclaimed MOST event in Milan; and touring exhibitions with the British Council across four continents. Will graduated with a BA from New York University in Individualised Study (Diaspora and Intercultural Relations) and an MA from University of the Arts London in Enterprise and Management for the Creative Arts.
Commenting on his new role, Sorrell says:
“It is such an exciting moment to join London Design Biennale. The third edition in 2020 will come at a time when the UK finds itself in new relationships with the world. What better way to strengthen those relationships, than to host the best international design thinking in our capital.
Embarking on this edition with Es Devlin is a pleasure. She is an expert on communicating to diverse, global audiences - and brings a deep understanding of how to both inspire, and entertain.”
The third edition of London Design Biennale will take place from 8 - 27 September 2020, with a press and private view on Monday 7 September 2020. Participants from 50 countries, territories and cities will be invited to respond to the theme Resonance with original design installations that will be shown across the entirety of Somerset House, including the Edmond J Safra Fountain Court and River Terrace.