The 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial will explore the intimate relationship between the object and its owner

ISTANBUL – Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) and co-sponsored by ENKA Foundation, Petkim and Vitra, the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial will run from October 22nd  to November 20th, 2016. Entitled Are We Human? The Design of the Species: 2 Seconds, 2 Days, 2 Years, 200 Years, 200,000 Years, and curated by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, the biennale will explore the intimate relationship between concepts of design and what it means to be human.

The biennale this year isn’t about looking forward, it’s about looking back – 200,000 years back. Rather than making assumptions about the future, the exhibition instead looks at lived life, both past and present. From ancient artefacts to the age of Tesla, the curators look at the history and evolution of design from a social and archaeological perspective.

The question of what design is today and what it was to the past is one that the city of Istanbul – with its 200,000 years of history – is well equipped to explore. As one would expect, the exhibition merges thoughts about design with tangible objects, ones that people can touch, feel, and experience. But what exactly is the role of the biennale? Is it about opening up new discussions? Or about solving problems? The 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial thinks about design in a much broader sense, claiming that design has a much greater impact on society than we think. Design doesn’t simply serve man, design shapes him. The artefact as the architect of humanity, as it were.

Beginning with ancient man, the biennale defines man from a broader historical context and underlies the various stages of his physical and intellectual development, from then until now. Featuring 70 projects by designers, architects, artists, historians, archaeologists and scientists from 13 countries, the biennale will spread across five main venues: the Galata Greek Primary School, Studio-X Istanbul, Depo, Alt in Bomonti, and finally, the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

For more information about the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial visit

Billboard: CFE Goods 3
Billboard: CFE Goods 3

Liked this article?
We've got more for you

Sign up to our newsletter for weekly updates. Or view the archive.