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BIO27 Super Vernaculars: BIO27 Logo by Kellenberger-White. Graphic Design by Studio Kruh and AA, 2022

The Biennial of Design (BIO) in Ljubljana has been taking place since 1963, making it the oldest design biennial in Europe. The 27th edition will take place from 26 May to 29 September, organised by the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana in collaboration with the Center for Creativity (CzK) and curated by Jane Withers, a design curator, author and consultant based in London. A globalised economy and the pursuit of profit at the expense of the planet, it is argued, have triggered the climate crisis and accelerated the imbalance between humanity and the natural world. “Super Vernaculars”, the central theme of BIO27, therefore explores a growing and ambitious movement that draws inspiration from local architectural and design traditions around the world to create a vision for a more resilient and responsive future. In addition to the Super Vernaculars exhibition at MAO, five commissioned works from the production platform will be presented. In addition, there will be talks, workshops and events, as well as a city-wide satellite programme.

Through the Biennial of Design, the dialogue between global design trends and their regional impact is to be promoted: “Super Vernaculars,” says curator Jane Withers, “offers an opportunity to explore a promising movement in contemporary design that draws on the traditions of folk cultures, and especially non-Western cultures, and looks to them as a guide for the future. Clearly, many of our ways of doing things in the developed world have exacerbated the climate catastrophe, and if we seek a sustainable revolution, we must adopt a different mindset and values.” Folk practices and traditional ecological knowledge offer a wealth of inspiration for designers looking for regenerative systems that live with the earth, not from it. Thus, he said, local design teams will explore how they respond to global narratives and shape them in a regional context.

The interdisciplinary and intercultural exhibition “Super Vernaculars” is “intended as a collection of stories told through case studies, showing how these ideas serve as springboards for contemporary innovation”. Approaches include a city-wide nature-based water management system, energy-saving alternatives to air conditioning, zero-waste food systems and design that supports local communities and landscape regeneration. The aim is to propose alternatives to centralised infrastructures, which in many cases are no longer able to sustainably meet the demands of a growing population in times of climate change, she said.

With Ella Einhell, Cindy Valdez and Lara Weller, three winners of the public voting of the German Design Graduates initiative and the German Design Council sponsored by the Goethe-Institut will also have the opportunity to present their work at BIO27 in Ljubljana. BIO27 also addresses the impact of international cultural events on the environment and dedicates one of the production platforms to researching regenerative cultural production and assessing its own ecological footprint.

Tecla 3D Printed House, WASP, photo: WASP

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