One of the most prestigious design exhibitions in the world, the Venice Design Biennial is back, and here’s an exclusive sneak peek!

By Pallavi Mehra

June, 2021

The Venice Design Biennial is back! Photo Credit- Andrea Morucchio and Venezia Anno Zero

The Venice Design Biennial is a permanent forum on design culture, connecting Venice to an international network of design leaders. Every two years it takes the shape of design exhibitions in Venice. This year, the Venice Design Biennial returns, after a year of forced break, with the third edition in attendance. The programme of exhibitions is open to the public from May 20th to June 27th, 2021, in parallel with the first month of the Architecture Biennale, continuing to weave the relationship between the languages of contemporary design and some of the most evocative places in the city. The curatorial theme of this edition, proposed by the curators and founders of the project, Luca Berta and Francesca Giubilei, is ‘Design As Self-Portrait.’ Here’s an exclusive glimpse inside this event, which is currently taking place in the iconic Italian city of Venice.

Luca Berta and Francesca Giubilei, Founders, Venice Design Biennial
Photo Credit-Federico Floriani

‘Design As Self-Portrait’

“The idea is to investigate what design represents for each of us as individuals, and at the same time how we represent ourselves through it, through objects, spaces and experiences, with a great and new attention to the evolution of the self-representation techniques themselves. In particular, the exhibition investigates the increasingly important role that design plays in what we choose to communicate our identity, in the permanent swing between use and representation, reality and virtuality,” states Luca Berta, Co-founder and Curator, Venice Design Biennial.

Design As Self-Portrait’ at SPUMA for Venice Design Biennial 2021
Photo Credit-Federico Floriani

Vermelha Chair by ESTUDIO CAMPANA for Edra
Photo Credit-Federico Floriani

The exhibition ‘Design As Self-Portrait’ showcases the works of over 20 international designers at two exhibition venues—SPARC* Spazio Arte Contemporanea, an art gallery, and SPUMA - Space for the Arts, a space with unique, industrial architecture. The highlight of this show is Czech designer Tadeas Podracky’s (winner of the first edition of the Venice Design Biennial Residency 2020), new collection of works—‘Fading Reflection.’ To create this series, Podracky partnered with Venetian murano glass company Ongaro and Fuga.

Design As Self-Portrait’ at SPARC for Venice Design Biennial 2021
Photo Credit-Federico Floriani

Additional designers on show in the ‘Design As Self-Portrait’ exhibition include Alessandro Iovine, Anna Aagaard Jensen for Functional Art Gallery, Anna Jožová for UMPRUM, Ariane Shirvani, Arik Levy for Vibia and Citco, Audrey Large for Nilufar Gallery, Bert Loeschner, Elisa Ossino for Amini, Arte 9 Milano, De Castelli, Officine Saffi and Salvatori, Estudio Campana for Carpenters Workshop Gallery, Francesco Maria Messina, Konstantin Achkov, Jimmie Durham and Maria Thereza Alves for LABINAC, Ludovica + Roberto Palomba, OrtaMiklos for Functional Art Gallery, Oskar Zieta, Pablo Reinoso, Rita GT, Rollo DC Bryant, Tobia Zambotti and Victoria Wilmotte.

The ‘Past Forward. Designers From The Land Of Venice’ exhibition
Photo Credit-Federico Floriani

‘Past Forward. Designers From The Land Of Venice’’

Venice Design Biennial 2021 also includes the exhibition—‘Past Forward. Designers from the land of Venice.’ This exhibition, at the National Archaeological Museum of Venice in Piazza San Marco is curated by Luca Berta and Francesca Giubilei and organised in collaboration with Direzione Regionale Musei Veneto – Ministero della Cultura. The works of 17 designers who live and work today in Venice and its territory are combined with the masterpieces of ancient art.

The Venice Design Biennial takes places in iconic locations in the city of Venice
Photo Credit- Andrea Morucchio and Venezia Anno Zero

“‘Past Forward. Designers from the Land of Venice,’ intends to embody the double gaze towards the past and the future that has always characterised Venice. That tight rope, oscillating between the cult of secular traditions and massive biennial assumptions of hyper-contemporaneity, on which the city walks with uncertain and enchanting acrobatics. At this exhibition, the visitor’s gaze will encounter contemporary vases among their counterparts from two thousand years ago, polyurethane sculptures among classical statuary works, blown glass or harmonic steel lamps surrounded by busts and ancient coins, coloured stools alternating with marble reliefs,” adds Francesca Giubilei, Co-founder and Curator of the Venice Design Biennial.

‘Past Forward. Designers From The Land Of Venice’ exhibition
Photo Credit-Federico Floriani

Designers and artists in this show include AUT with WILD – Living with plants, Barbara Schweizer for Ongaro e Fuga Specchi Veneziani, Gaetano Di Gregorio, João Lacerda Moreira, JoeVelluto Design for Teraplast and W-Eye, Kanz Architetti, Lorenzo Mason with Grafiche Veneziane, Lorenzo Truant for Phanes, Luca Nichetto for La Manufacture, Lucia Massari for Swing Design Gallery, Marco Zito for Saba and LYM, Massimo Barbierato, Matteo Cibic for Seeds, Matteo Zorzenoni for Nason Moretti, Omri Revesz for Riva 1920 and Cimento, Zanellato/Bortotto for CCTapis and De Castelli and Zaven for Galleria Luisa Delle Piane.

Technicolor, lamps by Matteo Zorzenoni at the ‘Past Forward. Designers From The Land Of Venice’ exhibition
Photo Credit-Federico Floriani

Matteo Cibic for Seeds at Venice Design Biennial 2021
Photo Credit-Federico Floriani