Materials and Innovation at BIO 23 Ljubljana

The BIO biennial in Ljubljana has been highlighting contemporary trends in international design for close to fifty years now, but not everyone on the global circuit might be aware of the diverse talent that has been showcased since the first exhibition in 1964. Slovenia's Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) is the biennial's host, and with over 437 submissions from 38 countries for 2012, the jurors and curators for BIO 23 had the challenging task of selecting the best examples of innovative design influenced by modern technology, multi-disciplinary methods, and the exploration of natural systems.

Margo Konings and Margriet Vollenberg of Organisation in Design were the joint curators for this year's exhibition theme, Design Relations, which was aimed at comprehensive ideas related to technology, digitalization, globalization, and product design. Folded into these categories were timely topics such as health, machines, and processes; back to craft, counter reaction, data processing, graphics; and proposals linked to industry left-overs, social/local phenomena, the urban environment, and smart solutions. We have highlighted several of the award winners in our gallery slideshow, with specifics about some of the more unusual materials, methods, and conceptual strategies employed.

With more than 100 works selected from 27 countries, category awards were also granted by the international jury of Giulio Cappellini, Sven Jonke, Sophie Lovell, Jimmy MacDonald and Vasa J. Perović. The recipient of the prestigious 2012 BIO Gold Medal also received a grant provided by its sponsor Petrol, and a new award category was also introduced—the BIO Green Award, intended for products that show promise in green design and advocate environmental awareness.

BIO.23 opened with an awards ceremony on September 27 and remains on view through November 11, 2012. The exhibition at MAO's Fužine Castle is accompanied by guided tours, creative workshops for children, film screenings, lectures, a conference, presentations of products, and other related events in and around the city of Ljubljana. The exhibition design for BIO 23 was created by Dutch designer, Joost van Bleiswijk, with graphic design work provided by the Slovene design studio, Kabinet01.

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