Creative Think Tank BE OPEN Highlights Sensory Design at the 2012
London Design Festival
17 th -23 rd September 2012
BE OPEN, the global think tank set up to foster creativity and innovation, arrives in London for the 2012 London Design Festival on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the largest design event in the UK. The Festival’s programme attracts visitors from all over the world, and the foundation will be part of this huge showcase with a whole series of activities. BE OPEN’s events in London are part of a broader project by the think tank to explore the five traditional senses – sight, smell, taste, touch and sound – the starting point for research into the next realm, that of the sixth sense, or intuition. Sixth sense design would represent the ultimate synthesis of human sensory perception and technological genius, offering an infinite variety of sensations that would overcome the perceived limitations of design today.
London, as the European capital of 20 th century avant-garde music, has been chosen to host sound, while the following critical stopping points on BE OPEN’s global roadmap have been identified as centres for research into the other senses: taste in Milan (Milan Design Week 2013), various projects will take place in other key design cities during the year and the circle will be closed in London for the London Design Festival 2013.
The research into sound will be launched at the London Design Festival with the BE OPEN Sound Portal a site specific installation co-produced with the London Design Festival for Trafalgar Square, one of the most iconic spots of the city. A series of talks and events will accompany this installation: the BE OPEN ‘Sound Design’ Talk, in collaboration with WIRED Consulting and BE OPEN Sound Portal Lunchtime Talk at the V&A; BE OPEN SPACE at The Dock with Tom Dixon; BE OPEN AWARDS exhibition and ceremony at 100% Design.
Elena Baturina, Russian businesswoman, entrepreneur and philanthropist who founded BE OPEN, explains: ‘Our project at the London Design Festival, the BE OPEN Sound Portal and associated events, involves working with people who represent the future of acoustic development. We will effectively be setting up an ambitious mobile laboratory for exploring the boundaries of what can be achieved with sound technology – an active demonstration of design’s transformational abilities – and holding talks and discussions to put these ideas forward. We engage with people across all platforms – the arts, science, education and the media – as we believe that the most innovative discoveries are made where these disciplines meet’.Designed by Arup, world leaders in the area of acoustic engineering, with content commissioned by Sound and Music, BE OPEN Sound Portal will become a cocoon from the aural chaos of the city: located in the centre of the square, allowing visitors to step into a sublime environment created only by sound. During the five-day the event, the installation will host five sound artists and their “sound works”, ranging from the deepest natural sounds, such as the breaking up of glaciers, to the most contemporary pieces of electronic music.After its residency in Trafalgar Square, the Portal will take up residence in Chelsea College of Art and Design where it will be part of an inter-college project to explore the dimensions of sound in all of its many aspects. The BE OPEN Foundation will commission new sound works from the students that will be launched at the ‘Sounding Space’ symposium in the Spring/Summer of 2013 as part of BE OPEN Inside the Academy, a platform to support emerging talent.
The talks programme will start with a panel discussion held in collaboration with WIRED Consulting (the bespoke events arm of the internationally renowned magazine WIRED UK), on Thursday 20 September at London’s Hospital Club. Tom Cheshire, Associate Editor of WIRED, will moderate a panel of leading design minds, including celebrated designer Tom Dixon, for the BE OPEN “Sound Design” Talk. The participants will discuss how a better understanding of our sensory systems can help us design everything from household products to skyscrapers that can breathe, grow and ‘think’. The event will conclude with a performance by BE OPEN Sound Portal artist Jo Thomas.
Keeping the focus on designers of the future, the BE OPEN Awards – the initiative to support young creatives – will show a shortlist of 40 works submitted by international students on the BE OPEN stand at 100% Design. The shortlist has been selected from over 300 entries from 47 countries and the winners will be selected by a prestigious design industry jury, presided over by Patricia Urquiola (designer and architect), with Tom Cheshire (WIRED magazine associate editor), Daniel Charny (senior tutor Royal College of Art), Pei-Ru Keh (design editor of Wallpaper magazine), Vladimir Pirojkov (designer), Noma Bar (graphic artist), Christopher Turner (editor of ICON magazine) and William Knight (100% Design event director). A winner will be selected in each of the three categories CAST, FORM, and CITY, with the emphasis being on projects that show strong creative thinking, with the potential to become must-have designs for the future. The BE OPEN AWARD ceremony will take place on September 21 st in the main auditorium at 100% Design. This is the second iteration of the awards scheme that was launched in Milan. Each winner receives a study grant for a leading European institute and the three share €10,000 to develop their projects further. There will also be a marketplace for emerging designers at BE OPEN SPACE at The Dock, Tom Dixon’s space in West London, which will be hosting an extensive programme of London Design Festival Events. Designers will show, sell, produce and explore the five senses in a dynamic and interactive meeting place for design enthusiasts. Pan Studio and Jail-Make are creating a site-specific installation on the Dock terrace that will reference the medieval trade markets and Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, populating the terrace with 8 self-contained wooden huts that mirror the architecture of the converted wharf building that houses Dock Kitchen Restaurant. The installation incorporates the water, with a plethora of luminous ribbons cascading from the rooftops to the waters beneath. Each hut will showcase exclusive works by an exciting mix of emerging designers; participants include Studio TooGood and Technology Will Save Us.
Finally, as part of the exploration into sound, BE OPEN’s website hosts an online competition. Visitors to the BE OPEN website will be able to vote in an interactive poll for the sounds that they think best represent the future, choosing from tracks that range from the Skype ringtone to the noise of a hurricane.
With three countries – Italy with Salone del Mobile, Switzerland with Design Miami/Basel and the UK – and numerous events already under its belt, and at not even a year old, BE OPEN is already on its way to becoming an international byword for innovative design.