The theme of the first edition of the London Design Biennale was Utopia by Design, which celebrated the 500th anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s classic, Utopia (1516).
Director of the Biennale, Dr Christopher Turner, explained how the centrality of the theme was fundamental to establishing a strong coherence and curated unity between all participating countries and territories. Design teams were encouraged to create installations that interrogated the history of the utopian idea, and engaged with some of the fundamental issues facing humanity.
Their responses celebrated cultural diversity and showed design's innate power to strike up and inform debate, but also as a catalyst: provoking real change by suggesting inspiring or cautionary futures. Together these visions formed a laboratory of ambitious ideas that might contribute to making the world a better place. And what other objective is there to good design?