The practice of design is predicated on an unstable relationship between words and things. While some designers choose to speak through the process of making, others work within the modes and methods of discourse, speculating on the ways in which we see and interpret design production. Like the designer, the curator works in the space between these two, negotiating the presence of objects with the need for description and classification. This is especially true of a design biennial, which is both retrospective—a valuation of work already produced for other places and purposes—and projective, as a platform for new voices to frame propositions for the future of practice.
The third Design Biennial Boston hovers in this space between objects and images, production and representation, here and there. It hinges on two traditional domains of the design exhibition: the installation and the archive. Site-specific constructions by the winners of this year’s Biennial describe four positions on the stakes of contemporary practice and its matters of concern, from cultural production to the properties of matter, the technics of geometry and fabrication, and the redefinition of accepted uses and forms. Grafted onto an archive of previous Biennial participants, these thematic categories—culture, material, discipline, type—map the overlapping interests of the city’s emerging practices in the the past decade-plus.
A Boston biennial must account for the often transient nature of designers who live and work “here.” Some of these offices no longer exist; others have moved elsewhere. The continued lack of a significant number of local projects designed by these firms points to the ongoing issue of how clients and communities understand the value of emerging practices in shaping the public realm. Yet the quality and range of work on display here attests to the potential of critical, experimental design in making Boston a home not just for speculation but for action.
The Boston Society of Architects and pinkcomma gallery are pleased to announce the winners of the third Design Biennial Boston. Following an open call for entries, the jury selected individuals and firms whose work are signals of Boston’s rich, emerging design talent. The third edition features Brandon Clifford of Matter Design; Kiel Moe AIA; Wilson Martin and Eden Dutcher of GroundView; and Ana Miljacki and Lee Moreau of Project_.
The winning designers’ projects range from speculative visions to constructed interventions. In addition to a display of their prior work, the four selected design teams constructed site-specific installations for BSA Space.
“This third installment of the biennial highlights four emerging designers selected by the jury for being at the forefront of their fields,” says Chris Grimley of pinkcomma and over,under, one of the exhibition’s curators. “The biennial aims to demonstrate how vital Boston’s emerging design community can be in responding to the city’s future challenges, while fostering an inventive new generation of design leaders here.”
In addition to the four winners, the exhibit collected the work of all nineteen past participants in the Design Biennial Boston exhibitions. This archive critically examines the various trajectories that these practices have taken.
2008 Ground, Höweler + Yoon Architecture, LinOldhamOffice, Merge Architects, MOS, over,under, SsD, Studio Luz Architects, UNI, Utile
2010 C&MP, Dan Hisel Architect, Schneider Studio, Touloukian Touloukian, William O’Brien Jr.
2012 Matter Design, GroundView, Project_, Kiel Moe