Recently I’ve visited La Triennale di Milano, a design and art exposition in the Parco Sempione in Milan, in Lombardy in northern Italy. It is housed in the Palazzo dell’Arte.
The XXII International Exhibition of La Triennale di Milano, titles Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival, and takes place from March 1st to September 1st, 2019. The thematic exhibition is an in-depth exploration of the strands that connect humans to the natural environment that have been intensely compromised, if not entirely severed, over the years.
I got immediately absorbed by ‘The Room of Change’, situated in the first area of the exhibition. For ‘The Room of Change’, the Milanese designer studio Accurat created a 30-meters-long hand-crafted data-tapestry illustrating how multiple aspects of our environment have changed in the past centuries, how they are still changing, and how they will likely continue changing, addressing many of the topics presented in the exhibition.
The data-driven wallpaper creates a morphing visual pattern that unveils the importance of a perpetual interplay of scales and dimensions when assessing change, and illustrates the evolution of many recurring themes of the show: a subtle and poetic tapestry depicting change, from our past to our present to our future.
From left to right, time flows on the wall through the visual patterns, covering our past, our present, and our future; and where each of the visual components defining the pattern is a theme, and each vertical section of the wall becomes a snapshot of a precise moment frozen in time.
The piece revolves around eight macro topics that organize information, all related to humans, but that reveal consequences that oftentimes affect us and other species simultaneously. Each horizontal stripe depicts the evolution over time of one single story of change, told thru a combination of data-sets on the topic evolving over time.
Detail of the painting; The explosion of world epidemics. The data-set represents recorded epidemics that has happened in the world.
They are illustrated through a number of global data sets (world population, average temperatures, disease rates, energy consumption, etc..) to frame large-scale phenomena with broad strokes as well as single and specific stories that will directly or indirectly represent the micro consequences of the large-scale phenomena (such as the disappearing Aral Sea, the dip in life expectancy in Cambodia during its civil war, the quick shift in South Korean exports from agricultural products and commodities to high tech, and more).
A legend accompanies the piece to explain the global framework and how to read the individual stories. The legend is placed at the center of the room, inviting visitors to discover our changing world from a privileged perspective: a pedestal to navigate the big changes in the same way you would look at mountain range with the help of a navigating map.
I could picture myself working in an office like this, with the design representing the past behind me, the present on my left and the future just in front of me; a place that would change me and my world every time I worked in it.
You can visit La Triennale di Milano from March 1 till September 1, 2019
Entrance; 18 euro (full prize – reductions available).