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Brief Published: 15 Oct 2014

BIO 50 Design Biennial: Modern Design Solutions


Offering an alternative to the usual design fair format, the Bio 50 biennial in Ljubljana, Slovenia presents design within a modern context of proposals for everyday life.

Affordable living conditions, alternative food production and sustainable tourism were just some of the 12 themes designed to spark new ways of thinking among the participating designers, with the aim of inspiring viable alternatives.

Jan Boelen, curator of the 2014 biennial, views Bio 50 as a “laboratory for design, a platform for production”. It renounces the ‘iconic designs’ typically noted at the larger, international fairs, choosing to focus on those tackling real-world social urgencies instead. 

The 12 design teams were encouraged to engage with local and international parties through various process-driven projects for long-lasting collaborations. For example, the Nanotourism team’s imaginative proposal for sustainable tourism – and winner of the Best Collaboration Award – reinvents and reinvigorates Slovenia’s tourism economy by organising it from the bottom up and making use of local resources.

By establishing design as an integral part of the production of objects for better everyday life, Bio 50’s collaborative framework questions the future of design. For more on those young designers creating solutions for adaptable living and tackling overconsumption, look to our Show RCA and recent LDF: Highlights reports, while our design direction Extend S/S 16 calls out to a problem-solving mindset with practicality at its heart.