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Interview with Zoë Ryan: 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial

by Victoria Pease | Nov 20, 2014

Between 1st November and 14 December Istanbul suits up for its second Design Biennial, hosting more than 50 projects from over 20 countries. This year’s curator, British writer Zoë Ryan, talks to CENTURION about design and architecture reflecting contemporary issues: from napping in public as taboo, to using design to facilitate cross-cultural appreciation of foods, to rethinking the office space where work and working-out combine.       

CENTURION: The title of this year’s Istanbul Design Biennial is “The Future Is Not What It Used To Be”, what is inspiration behind the theme?

 Zoë Ryan: The projects question the role of design, its relationship to society, and its ability to be an active agent for change. The framework for the Biennial centres around the search for a contemporary manifesto, a manifesto which is inherently of the now, but which also questions the possibility of an alternative future.  

What can you tell us about the future of design in society?

ZR: All over the world, people are struggling to figure out where we are headed. So, we are interested in looking to the future, but we are also interested in understanding the present moment, the ‘now.’

We’ve come up with a list of questions about what the future is. Questions from all the projects that we hope will provide a frame for understanding the works. Ultimately, we are trying to show the influential role that design plays in shaping who we are, and how we relate to one another.

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