The Experimenta Design Biennale, whose presence is already customary in Lisbon, along with the whole array of events that are quite typical of it, like the conference, the presence of renowned international figures, the exhibitions, the well-known tangents, will run its course at the end of September, something that will leave us with a great void.
The Associação Experimenta, presided by Guta Moura Guedes, announced the Biennale’s end in May, and informed that the last edition will have a “special format”. Altogether, the event amassed 18 editions and the 2017’s Biennale, which marks the stopping point of this cycle, will have a retrospective trait.
Guta Moura Guedes explained to Umbigo that, even though the Biennale is coming to an end, the design-related initiatives will not vanish, since the association “experimentadesign will keep developing projects in the cultural and public service field, strengthening its emphasis on social intervention. Some of those will be clearly related to design, others will be more wide-ranging”.
Given that Lisbon is already used to this connection with international design events, seeing itself a benchmark capital, almost twenty years are already gone now and, little by little, a designing identity was built. Now that the Biennale is about to say goodbye, the most important question is ensuring that the capital will still be in touch with these seminal events. To this question, Guta Moura Guedes replies: “The experimentadesign will still have its headquarters in Lisbon, and so will MUDE. There are several ways to keep ourselves connected to the major international events and those do not necessarily have to do with us having a design biennale or triennial. All formats are being revisited, we are living through moments of change. From our side, we will keep producing projects with an international trait, for this and for other fields. And so will many other key players headquartered in Lisbon. I have always found the city to be an open platform, a page with blank spots, a place of enormous open-mindedness and with a vast power of projection, a place that belongs to the whole world. This cosmopolitan profile is something that comes with it and nobody will ever take that from the city. I’m sure that the Portuguese capital will not face a shortage of events with global significance in several fields of expertise, in which, I’m also sure, design will have a decisive role to fill. We will be here to make sure that keeps happening”.
For this reason, EXD’17 (the 2017 Experimenta Biennale), Before & Beyond, will recover its past editions, and will use their leitmotifs to launch a reflection about the present and the future. According to Associação Experimenta, the biennale’s past is seen as a “source of questioning and knowledge and a solid basis for the foundations of a more audacious and even disruptive future”.
This way, nine subjects, approached in the nine previous editions, will be revisited, based on the questioning and reflection of contemporary issues.
The EXD’17 biennale will start on September 30th, first with the Lisbon Conferences, about to take place at the Main Auditorium of CCB. The panel of invited speakers has several renowned names, including the following: the thinker Arjun Appadurai; the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister; the ideologue behind the magazine Monocle, Tyler Brûlé; the neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis; the design critic Alice Rawsthorn; the Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, and the designer Philippe Starck.
The opening day will also be marked by the retrospective release of the book LIVRO EXD 99/17, at the National Auditorium of the Coach Museum. The edition encompasses the 10 editions of Experimenta, devoted to a reflection on design, in Portugal and abroad. As put by the association: The EXD’ 17 “strengthens and celebrates a valuable cultural legacy which counted with the contributions of hundreds of noteworthy protagonists, from the most different creative and knowledge fields”.
The event also inaugurates, at the Gallery of the National Coach Museum, the exhibition Drawing in Stone, which, in partnership with Assimagra, will display drawings from 23 authors, with a manual or digital genesis, conceived to be applied on Portuguese cobblestone, and under the umbrella of the experimental programme Primeira Pedra. The exhibition has the participation of the following authors, from different backgrounds and nationalities: Álvaro Siza, Amanda Levete, Bijoy Jain, Carrilho da Graça, ELEMENTAL, Mia Hägg, Paulo David, Souto de Moura, Studio Mk27, Vladimir Djurovic, Ian Anderson, Jonathan Barnbrook, Jorge Silva, Pedro Falcão, Peter Saville, Sagmeister & Walsh, Claudia Moreira Salles, Estudio Campana, Fernando Brízio, Jasper Morrison, Michael Anastassiades, Miguel Vieira Baptista and the duo Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec.
The opening day of EXD’ 17 Biennale ends with a video mapping performance of the works INSIDE and THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, at the Square of the Coach Museum.