Porto Design Biennale arrives in October to makes us reflect upon Water and environmental survival

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“Being Water – How we flow and shape ourselves collectively”, thus proposes the central theme of the third edition of Porto Design Biennale open for discussion. With curatorship by Fernando Brízio and Spain (Galicia) as a guest country, the event brings a set of exhibits, conferences, workshops, and publications uniting once again the cities of Porto and Matosinhos, in design, between October 19 and December 3. The presentation of the initiative, whose director, Magda Seifert, dubbed “instigating and challenging”, took place Wednesday morning, at esad-idea, in Matosinhos.

Confident that “the Biennale is a winning bet”, the mayor of Porto city Hall states that this edition’s theme is “very interesting”. “It is positive that we think on our urban landscape, the geology, everything in which we can intervene on behalf of an asset, which we have always got used to saying was the source of life, but which nowadays is deeply scarce”, considers Rui Moreira”.

And for that, he believes, there is the design, which is “our human ability to intervene in life, in the territory”.

On the choice of Galicia as a guest for the third edition of the initiative, the Mayor of Porto believes it to be “very appropriated to talk about this proximity, this strategy we have together” with the region and the neighbouring country.

“This Biennale, with Galicia as a guest, it is also part of a strategy in which we, the cities, within our capabilities and skills can help”, underlines Rui Moreira, reinforcing the need to “strengthen relations in several matters”.

The Mayor of Porto defends that “there are many issues in which we should have a strategy, being an organized lobby with the European Union, so that we can, together with what are the policies of the European Union, demand some positive actions that have not always been contemplated regarding Iberian Peninsula”.

The Mayor of Matosinhos looks at Porto Design Biennale as “the highlight of our joint program”, showing the “importance that we both give to design as a differentiating factor in our territories”.

For Luísa Salgueiro, this work, which unites Porto and Matosinhos, “implies political will so that the financial effort it requires can be maintained, even in the toughest times from a budgetary point of view”. “We consider that this contiguous territory, our assertation on an international scale, gains a lot from when we are united”, she underlined.

Two territories united by the Atlantic

Invited to take over the curatorship of the Biennale, Fernando Brízio intends that it be “an incubator of responses to the complex challenges that society faces, working continuously to shape more sustainable, equitable, free and happy futures”.

Over more than a month, it is proposed that design be thought “as a human ability that allows us to conceive this habitat”, which is reflected in the “magical dimension of water” in a territory “deeply marked by the river, the sea, the aquifers”. “The Biennale will also have this role of helping us to take better care of this vital element”, reinforces the curator.

Assuming the curatorship of Galicia, David Barro reinforced the connection between both territories across the Atlantic Ocean, which “makes us unique”. For the Biennale, the curator says he hopes that design proves its ability to “make our territory, our companies and our cultures grow”. “Designers propose ways to change things, but without management you cannot transform the world”, believes David Barro.

Open Call for satellite activities until June 26

The period for submitting proposals for the Satellite Activities of the Porto Design Biennale is also open. The call for designers and cultural agents to present projects that explore ways of action, whether in debate form, workshops, publications, interventions, or others, runs until June 26th.

The details can be checked on the Porto Design Biennale webpage.

Porto Design Biennale 2023 intends to instigate debate, foster concerns and multiple perspectives as well as stimulate interest in design, propelling new speeches and practices that increase the discipline’s prospective capacity to outline solutions to collective problems. The event, promoted in cooperation between the cities of Porto and Matosinhos, seeks to be a platform for dialogue between civil society, academia, industry, institutions, and national and international cultural agents.

In Porto, the initiative will pass through Almeida Garrett Library, the Gabinete Trilex of the Museu do Porto, the Palácio dos Correios, and (still subject to confirmation) the Reservatório de Àgua Nova Sintra and Reitoria da Universidade do Porto.