ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) was presenting the exhibition Pure Gold – Upcycling and its Emotional Touch at the London Design Biennale in Somerset House from 4 to 23 September 2018. The project was supported by the Federal Foreign Office. This exhibition showed contemporary designs that recycle used materials as secondary raw materials to create new high-quality objects.
This ifa exhibition was thematically embedded within the 2018's London Design Biennale focus on Emotional States. The Biennale brings together approaches in design that take an innovative look at social issues in thetwenty-first century – sustainability, migration and conflict, civil-society responsibility, environmental protection, water, and social justice.
This design event in the heart of London took place for the second time in 2018, presenting positions from countries from all over the world.
The diverse contexts and aims of the works shown illustrate the huge range of upcycling practice. All of the upcycling designs presented here combine aesthetic and ecological aims.
They thus challenge traditional design economies and capitalist consumerism. The exhibition architecture is based on the exhibits’ transportation boxes, and is thus itself committed to the concept of upcycling.
The second part of the exhibition is a video installation that presents both theoretical contexts and practical uses of upcycling in everyday life. The theory is covered in a series of interviews that provide comprehensive insight into regional trends in upcycling and social and cultural differences.
We see and hear Divia Patel from India, curator at the Nehru Trust for the Indian Collection and the Asia department, both at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and Tapiwa Matsinde from Zimbabwe, who works as a designer, author, writer, and creative consultant, and who edited the book Contemporary Design Africa, published by the renowned art publisher Thames & Hudson in 2015, and also Axel Kufus, German designer and professor for product and process design at the Berlin University of the Arts.
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