Fortunately, the European Cultural Centre’s fourth exhibition ‘Venice Design’, which runs alongside the Biennale is located in the fine first floor rooms of the Palazzo Michael overlooking the Grand Canal, though this is the beating heart of a network of design exhibitions in many locations across Venice, many of whom would have been affected by this week’s floods. The name disguises that this is an international exhibition with designers from all around the world showing new and innovative work in a wide range of fields including fashion design, textiles, lighting, furniture and architecture, sometimes with a link back to tradition as in Teresa Moorhouse’s ‘Nordic Endounter’.
Hongtao Zhou’s ‘Textscape’ is highly relevant to the modern era – a city made of text and a cloud made of twisted rulers, asking the viewer to look at the city from a number of different viewpoints, the rulers full of emotion having been twisted by students at the end of intensive examinations. The ‘Textscape’ is asking us to consider the need for change in a world of increasing urbanisation, over-population, destruction of natural environments, climate change and increasing water levels. Venice is not the only place affected by flooding this week, while many more cities and other areas are under threat as sea level rise and our climate become more extreme.
And looking to the future, perhaps controversially, there is a design for the world’s first 3-D printed euthanasia capsule by Alexander Bannink and Dr Phillip Nitschke. If you are going to terminate your life, you should do so in well-designed and comfortable surroundings rather than in a stark clinical environment, in a capsule that is perhaps reminiscent of that racing car you drove when you were younger, and which can remain your final resting place, whether buried in the ground or placed as a modern streamlined sepulchre above ground, and there is an architectural design by BARRIE HQ Architecture for an E-sports Stadium in Chongqing, China, where sports are played digitally through video games rather than physically – a sign of the preferences of the new generation reflected in the Wellcome Collection’s current exhibition ‘Play Well’ in London. To my generation, somehow it doesn’t seem the same.