Everyday life, we all know, is filled with trivialities. Yet on the other hand it also hides a lot of unknown and interesting things. Through everday life we question modern world as a split totality: of work, free time, communications, traffic, food production, science, institutions, structures, established relationships, etc. A radical change is therefore possible only through understanding of everyday life and changes of everyday habits. In other words, in order to change the world we have to change everyday life.
Fifty years ago, it was the changes in everyday life that led to the foundation of the Biennial of Industrial Design. The driving force behind BIO's foundation was the ambition to establish design as an integral part of the industrial production of objects for a better everyday life. At the first edition of the biennial, architect Marjan Tepina called industrial design an indispensable discipline of the socialist social order and designing objects for a better everyday life thus became a part of the (socialist) modernization project. For the next fifty years, BIO exhibitions tried to present the best in design and the best in industrial production.
With international selection, comparison and evaluation of exhibits, BIO strived to highlight the outstanding within the average. Early on in its history, there were also discussions on what BIO should be, as well as calls for a more direct approach to questions on the role of design in society (BIO 5, BIO 7). New industrial products helped make life more comfortable, but it soon became clear there is also a downside to industrial production and consumerism. Can life really be made better with more new, albeit well-designed consumer products - the question appeared, so to speak, of its own accord.
If the Biennial of Industrial Design started and for the past fifty years practiced criticism of the trivial by presenting the outstanding, then BIO 50 is its exact opposite. By utilizing the trivial and the reality, it is criticism of the outstanding and the elite. At the same time, BIO 50 is an attempt to look for and find the outstanding within the routine everyday life. Being critical of the ever increasing number of design festivals, the curator Jan Boelen transformed BIO into a production platform. Its framework is collaboration.
The process, which took place at the BIO 50, revealed rich and underutilized potential of collective creative work. At the same time it also reminded us of the difficulties, contradictions and problems that today undermine the desire or ability to collaborate. Behind objects of BIO 50 exhibition, there are challenging questions for the future of design. Can design be a factor, bringing split ends of modern everyday life back into a whole and breaking the isolation of individual professions and specializations? Can design progress from the production of objects and services for everyday life into the production of life itself?
— Matevž Čelik/MAO, Director
Since its founding in 1964, the Biennial of Design (BIO) in Ljubljana has surveyed the state of contemporary design from the heart of Central Europe. Witnessing the many shifts and changes the discipline has undergone in the last 50 years, BIO has seen design transition from its birth at the crossroads of industrialization and modernism towards a discipline that permeates all layers of everyday life.
Ultimately, the many steps in this transition have illustrated the fragility of the discipline’s initial framework. The contemporary world is no longer a place of and for mass production and distribution; instead, design has migrated through the multi-layered networks of today towards local, specific, customizable scenarios where the designer is no longer an all-powerful creator, but an element in a network of collaboration and influence. Similarly, in a world over-saturated with products and projects, the fundamental goal of design ceases to become the production of yet another chair.
Today, design has become a form of enquiry, of power, and of agency. With it, the role of any event that seeks to represent and disseminate design has also fundamentally changed. On its 50th anniversary, BIO embraces this opportunity to build upon its own tradition and history, advancing into an experimental, collaborative territory where design is employed and implemented as a tool to question and transform ideas about industrial production, public and private space, and pre-established systems and networks.
Engaging designers and multidisciplinary agents from Slovenia and abroad, BIO 50 will create eleven teams to work on a wide and comprehensive range of topics that resonate with local and global demands. Team mentors will elaborate a brief for each category, guiding participants in the creation of one or more projects to be developed and implemented during the Biennial.
BIO 50 will be a complex, transformative effort that seeks to strengthen local and international design networks, search for alternatives to implemented systems where design can play a role, and create bases for resilient structures that can develop through time, beyond the duration of the Biennial.
— Jan Boelen/Z33
The outcomes of each team’s work in an exhibition will be review by the international jury comprising industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, design critic Alice Rawsthorn and designer and professor Saša J. Mächtig. The jury will grant an Award for Best Collaboration at the opening of the Biennial.
Konstantin Grcic is an industrial designer and founder of Munich-based Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design (KGID), where he has developed furniture, products and lighting for some of the leading companies in the design field. Many of his products have received international design awards such as the Compasso d`Oro for his Mayday lamp (Flos) in 2001 and the Myto chair (Plank) in 2011. His works are integrated in the permanent collections of the world´s most important design museums, such as the MoMA and the Centre Georges Pompidou. Grcic has also curated exhibitions for The Serpentine Gallery, the St.Etienne Design Biennale, and Rome’s Istituto Svizzero.
Alice Rawsthorn is an internationally renowned design commentator, whose columns for the International New York Times are syndicated to other media worldwide. Her latest book, Hello World: Where Design Meets Life, explores design's influence on our lives: past, present and future. Rawsthorn has spoken on design at important international events including the World Economic Forum in Davos. Based in London, she is a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery and the dance group Michael Clark Company, as well as chair of trustees at Chisenhale Gallery.
Saša J. Mächtig
Saša J. Mächtig is a luminary of Slovenian industrial design. One of the founders of the Design Department at Ljubljana's Academy of Fine Arts in 1984, he was awarded the title Professor Emeritus by the University of Ljubljana for his contribution to the development of the discipline. In his multiple roles as a professor, designer and architect he headed numerous interdisciplinary groups for the development of new products and systems. Mächtig was also active in the international sphere, particularly in executive boards of professional associations. Amongst his achievements is the organisation of the 17th ICSID world congress in Ljubljana in 1992.
Jan Boelen graduated as Product Designer at the Media and Design Academy (KHLim) in Genk. He is the founder and artistic director of Z33 House for Contemporary Art in Hasselt, Belgium; head of the Master Department Social Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven; and chairman of the committee for Architecture and Design of the Flemish Community.
With the aim to create projects and exhibitions that encourage the visitor to take a different look at everyday objects, Boelen founded Z33 in 2002, creating a unique laboratory and meeting place for experiment and innovation, where one can visit groundbreaking exhibitions featuring contemporary art and design. At Z33, Boelen has created exhibitions with Raf Simons, Studio Makkink & Bey, John Körmeling, Thomas Lommée, Dunne & Raby, Marti Guixé, and Aldo Bakker, among others. Boelen and Z33 also organize projects in public space, and facilitated the 2012 Manifesta 9 in Belgium.
Maja Vardjan is an architect and curator. Following her period as creative director of the T5 Project Space gallery and as the architecture editor of Ambient magazine, she currently works as curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO). She is the author of the Design and Dialogue publication and curated the Silent Revolutions: Contemporary Design in Slovenia exhibition. She has recently curated Under the Common Roof, an exhibition on modern public buildings drawing from MAO’s archive.
Cvetka Požar, PhD, is an art historian and curator at the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO). She is the author of the exhibition and book To the Polling Booths! The Poster as a Political Medium in Slovenia 1945-1999. She was the co-curator of several exhibitions, most recently of Iskra: Non-Aligned Design 1946-1990 and Designing the Republic: Architecture, Design and Photography in Slovenia, 1991-2011. She has edited several exhibition catalogues and is co-editor of MAO’s AML Contemporary Book series.
Vera Sacchetti is an advisor to the curatorial team. Vera Sacchetti is a design writer and critic, managing editor at the Barragán Foundation and co-founder of editorial consultancy Superscript. She was formerly web editor at Domus, co-edited The Adhocracy Reader for the 1st Istanbul Design Biennial, and has headed international communications at the EXD’11/LISBOA design biennale.
The Biennial of Design is organised by MAO, Slovenia’s national Museum of Architecture and Design.
BIO project group
Matevž Čelik, director, Biennial of Design
Maja Šuštaršič, head of Biennial of Design
Anja Zorko, head of marketing
Nikola Pongrac, project manager
Ana Kuntarič, project coordinator
Pika Domenis, public relations
Natalija Lapajne, educational program
Mojca Mihailovič, teams project manager
Eva Perčič, teams project manager
Taja Topolovec, social media editor
Anja Rejc, associated projects assistant
Matjaž Rozina, Aleš Zalesnik, technical assistants
Matic Vrabič, exhibition design
Ajdin Bašić, Visual identity, graphic design
The Biennial of Design is organised by MAO, Slovenia’s national Museum of Architecture and Design. MAO preserves and archives works from prominent architects and designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, constituting a rich history of creative ideas, vision and production. MAO organizes and shares this seemingly unlimited source of inspiration and exploration of architecture and design through its many compelling exhibitions, publications and diverse programmes. In this unique environment where past, present and a desire to discover the new come together, MAO serves as a dynamic forum for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and dialogue for and among a wide range of visitors.
The BIO Organising Committee is an honorary and advisory body. Its task is the confirmation of the budget of the exhibition and advising the organiser of the biennial regarding the matters of international promotion, fundraising and successful realization of the biennial. The Organising Committee is composed of the key representatives of economy, that consider design as an important element of development and competitiveness, and the representatives from the Municipality of Ljubljana, ministries, design experts and Museum of Architecture and Design.
The members of Organising Commeete for the 2012–2016 mandated period:
Janez Škrabec, Director, Riko, d. o. o., Chairman of BIO Organising Committee,
mag. Tomaž Berločnik, President of the management board, Petrol, d. d.,
mag. Franjo Bobinac, President of the management board, Gorenje, d. d.,
Ivo Boscarol, Founder and general Manager, Pipistrel, d. o. o.,
Matevž Čelik, Director, Museum of Architecture and Design,
Karl Erjavec, Minister of Foreign Affairs RS,
mag. Marko Filli, General Manager, RTV Slovenija,
mag. Tatjana Fink, General Manager, Trimo, d. d.,
mag. Samo Hribar Milič, General Manager, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia,
Zoran Janković, Mayor, City of Ljubljana,
Marko Kolbl, Director, Europlakat, d. o. o.,
Jurij Dobrila, President of the management board of the Designers Society of Slovenia,
Medeja Lončar, Director, Siemens Slovenija, d. o. o.,
mag. Lilijana Madjar, Director, Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region,
Aleksander Mervar, Director, Eles, d. o. o.,
mag. Vasa J. Perović, Jury Member BIO 23,and Docent, Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana,
Janez Smerdelj, Professor, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana
The BIO Honorary Committee consists of the key supporters and representatives of BIO sponsors that offer moral and/or material support to BIO.
In 2014, the Biennial of Design in Ljubljana, Slovenia, reinvents itself and launches an ambitious call for applications. Entering the realm of collaboration, where design is a tool to rethink everyday life, the Biennial is looking for individuals to shape possible futures for design.
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the 24th Biennial of Design in Ljubljana (BIO) builds on the event’s tradition and history, advancing into an experimental, collaborative territory where design is employed as a tool to question and transform ideas about industrial production, public and private space, and pre-established systems and networks. Organized by MAO, the Museum of Architecture and Design, BIO 50 is curated by Belgian critic and curator Jan Boelen, director of Z33 - House for Contemporary Art, Head of the Master department Social Design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven (NL), and chairman of the Flemish Committee for Architecture and Design.
The 2014 edition of BIO breaks with the traditional system of awards, choosing instead to award collaboration, its process and outcomes. Recognizing the idea that design is a discipline that permeates all layers of contemporary life, BIO launches an unprecedented effort to engage designers and agents from Slovenia and abroad in a collaborative approach that will address themes that affect everyday life.
Under a series of multidisciplinary mentors, twelve teams will tackle the themes of Affordable Living, Knowing Food, Public Water Public Space, Walking the City, Hidden Crafts, The Fashion System, Hacking Households, Nanotourism, Engine Blocks, Observing Space, Designing Life and an Open Category, creating specific projects that will be developed and implemented during the Biennial.
We are looking for team members to devise possible futures for design, integrating and contributing to the outcome of each group. We are looking for team members with diverse backgrounds and a multidisciplinary approach, students and professionals alike; for team members who are self-motivated and unafraid to experiment; and for team members who can bring their expertise to the table and simultaneously learn from their peers.
We are looking for team members who wish to take part in a long-term transformative effort to strengthen local and international design networks, search for alternatives to implemented systems where design can play a role, and create bases for resilient structures that can develop through time, beyond the duration of the Biennial.
From 18 September to 7 December 2014 in Ljubljana, BIO 50 will present the outcomes of each team’s work in an exhibition, and projects will be published in an accompanying catalogue. An international jury will grant an Award for Best Collaboration, and a compelling series of events will enrich the Biennial’s core program and serve to explore ways in which collaborations can continue beyond the event.
The Call for Applications was closed on 12 January 2014.