Somerset House plays a perfect host to the 37 countries taking part in ‘Utopia by Design’. The huge sculptures, high tech interactive pieces and small city recreations fill the forecourt and every room of this fantastic iconic London building.
The theme Utopia – chosen as a tribute to Sir Thomas Mores book written 500 years ago - provides a thought provoking and open space for the participating artists and designers to explore themes around sustainability, migration, pollution, water and social equality. As you wander you see fantastic examples of how design could play a vital role in addressing social needs.
My highlights were - based purely on the visual impact as I didn’t have the luxury of time on my visit:
- India – Chakraview – for those lovers of Kitsch
- Taiwan – Eatopia – I didn’t see any food but I loved the space
- Indonesia – Freedome – a stunning network of woven natural materials
- Pakistan – Daalaan – with beautiful sepia printed hanging fabrics
One interesting feature of the exhibition was the interactive pen - a way to pick up information about the exhibits as you wander through them, which can later be accessed online with your unique code, OR NOT as I found out! But I still think the pen is worth a go.
I urge you to go it is a fantastic exhibition. I arrived feeling tired and emotional and I left feeling full of Utopia and with a thought provoking blue ’water’ ball from Saudi Arabia – with an inscription – ‘imagine if this was the last drop’. With the festival ending on the 27th, this could be your last drop of culture this month, so go while you can!