Polish exhibition distinguished at London Design Biennale

A Polish exposition portraying the last 100 years of Polish history via 10 particular objects received an honourable mention at the prestigious London Design Biennale (LDB) on Tuesday.

The biennale, which was officially launched on Tuesday, will last until September 23. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, an 18th century residence, it is devoted to the motif of Emotional States. The event involves 40 countries from six continents.

Director of LDB Christopher Turner pointed out that the biennale's motif is related to the fact that we "live in turbulent times full of political polarisation," and that it "encouraged facing these global moods and placing visitors in the centre of the most significant questions," he added.

Turner highlighted that this year's biennale is to create a counterbalance for the increasing feeling of isolation in Great Britain in connection with Brexit.

The designer of the Polish exhibition is curator Małgorzata Wesołowska, who cooperated with designers from Noodi Design and Szpunar Studio along with graphic designer Michał Loba. The Adam Mickiewicz institute is an organiser of the Polish pavilion.

Poland's section presents a selection of ten objects chosen from Polish history, including among others a radio from the Battle of Warsaw of 1920; a privy, a mobile lavatory; a bunk bed from a Soviet concentration camp; a manhole, a symbol of the Warsaw Uprising and insurgents hiding from the Nazis in sewers; yellow net curtains from shops for communist officials; a flexi disc (a musical greetings card); a stationary telephone with a recording of "controlled conversations," a symbol of controlled talks in the communist era, and a camp bed as a symbol of the transformation period.

The presented items are intended to provoke reflection on how these everyday things arouse strong feelings and explain their association with collective Polish euphoria, joy, anger or despair.

"We present ten objects that in my subjective feeling and choice represent the most emotional moments of the last 100 years of Polish history. (...) Unfortunately, foreigners need the historical context to be explained, which in the case of most of these objects is understandable for Poles, and wait for to see what emotions these objects will evoke in the viewer," Wesołowska explained.

The main award was given to Egypt, which presented the story of the modernist architecture disappearing in the country. Representatives of the United States received an award for the most inspiring interpretation of the motif. Latvia was distinguished for the best design. Poland and China received honourable mentions.