BIO 50

Sasa J. Maechtig, designer of Kiosk K67, at exhibition BIO 50, 1973, photo from designer archive.

Kick-off event launches the 50th Ljubljana Biennial of Design, 13 & 14 Febr
One of the world's oldest design events, the Ljubljana Biennial of Design (BIO) turns 50. First hosted in 1964, this Slovenian design festival is now being reinvented by curator Jan Boelen (artistic director of contemporary art lab Z33 in Hasselt, Belgium). Following an international open call that received submissions from 593 applications from a record number of 56 countries, Jan Boelen and his colleagues have selected the participants. More than 100 multidisciplinary designers from 20 countries will participate in BIO 50, engaging in themes like Affordable Living, Knowing Food, Public Water Public Space, The Fashion System. Each theme will have a mentor. An introductory event at Ljubljana’s Museum of Architecture and Design will kick-off the teamwork for BIO 50 on 13 and 14 February 2014.
Jan Boelen changed the Biennial from an awards-based competition to a six-month collaborative process where 12 teams of international and local designers work together in solving specific local problems. “Despite its long history and tradition, BIO has traditionally been developed under a framework of an awards competition, much in the vein of the Good Design shows at the MoMA, for example. Within the framework of its creation, BIO’s main goal was to educate and spread good design. However, after 100 years of the industrialized age, it is naïve to think that the design discipline hasn’t mutated at all – social transformations of the last years, particularly, have illuminated the fragility of the discipline’s initial framework. The era of mass production and distribution is over, and with it, design needs to change – and it is changing as I say these words, towards a series of small-scale, specific and custom realities. A relevant design event today has to address the contemporary, and BIO is changing to address the contemporary. It is not just that a shift towards collaboration is important to me – it is the obvious, and necessary thing to do.”
Saša J. Mächtig’s Kiosk K67, Modularity, photo from designer’s archive.
Jan Boelen: “It is naïve to think that the design discipline hasn’t mutated at all.” photo Kristof Vrancken
Jesse Howard, Improvised Vacuum, Hacking Households mentor, photo: Jesse Howard.