The first edition of Porto Design Biennale opens to the public during the extended period from 19 September to 8 December 2019 and takes the tensions of the new millennium as its central theme. It takes on board the urgency of considering a changing reality and calling up on design and understanding it as a critical thinking and way of intervening in that reality.

Three main nuclei of the theme Post Millennium Tension – Present TenseDesign and DemocracyDesign Forum – together offer up five exhibitionstwo public space installationstwo workshop cycles, a performative conference and a debate event.

Portuguese Industries. Photo by Victor Staaf

Territorio Italia focuses on events based around the guest country – Italy. Through three exhibitions and a conference, we are introduced to a new practice of Italian design, inseparable from the context of tension and socio-political change that affects the country and is symptomatic of a broad spectrum of tensions.

The work of the academy will be carried out through the Schools project, in which national design educational institutions will present their visions and projects. Alongside the core schedule, several events will make up a Satellites schedule, which has a variety of forms and expressions, bringing together events hosted by Porto Design Biennale and ten projects selected from an open call. Porto Design Biennale intends also to be a place of celebration. A space where problematisation and debate do not exclude the enthusiasm of thinking and seeking to make a better world.

Alma Falegnameria Sociale. Photo by K Alma

Configuring that changing world has become a central challenge to critical thinking and, in this context, the epistemological framework of design has changed, making way for new ideas, models and the processes of intervention (materially-speaking), of exploration (relationally-speaking) and resistance (ideologically-speaking). It is therefore urgent to identify, discuss and assess the forms and functions of design in the first twenty years of this millennium, and to consider the social effectiveness of design and the new connections made from an economic, technological, political, cultural and environmental perspective.

José Bártolo, chief curator of Porto Design Biennale 1st edition

Book presented within the exhibition on form regarding Portuguese design
Handmade poster used in public actions of protest

The Porto Design Biennale opening week takes place between 19 and 28th September.