This expanded notion of beauty—one that extends beyond stylish ornament or pleasing geometry, to the unseen, the grotesque, and the mathematical—is at the heart of the triennial, organized by senior curator Ellen Lupton and assistant curator Andrea Lipps. The work of 63 designers is arranged according to seven broad themes that include “Intricate,” “Transgressive,” and “Emergent,” but beyond these categories the exhibition shows us a design landscape trending increasingly towards responsiveness, collaboration, and digital intervention.
An engagement with responsiveness extends from scent to environment via architect ’s
textile installation PolyThread Pavilion
which fills an entire gallery. Knitted from solar-active threads, the structure responds to light, slowly transitioning from a glowing blue to white and back again. The tubular knits and cell-shaped apertures of the pavilion create the sensation of stepping inside an enormous lung.