[Chairman of the Board]
Design has emerged in recent years as a key discipline for thinking about the city and building its future. This international phenomenon is particularly important in Matosinhos and Porto, two cities that have brought design practice into the centre of their cultural strategy, not limiting its potential to the artistic field, but using it continuously as a catalyst for social, economic, technological and environmental change. The two cities’ various amenities and cultural institutions make up a unique territory that stands out in the country for its artistic diversity and vitality. It is important to emphasise the role of the two City Councils that, from early on, saw design as a fundamental partner in accessing culture, which enhances artistic thought and its languages, making an important contribution to the creation of a new generation of designers in the region. It is precisely in this context, and because of it, that the Porto Design Biennale was born, a project based on the two cities but not limited to them and whose objectives are to develop an analysis of the current setting of design and to foster dialogue between structures and agents, both in Portugal and abroad, crossing practices and disciplines. The first edition of Porto Design Biennale, therefore, consolidates the presence of this common cultural territory in the international design landscape.
Aiming to be a regular event to promote design culture, its public discussion and the production of critical knowledge in Portugal, Porto Design Biennale intends to conduct continuous research and disseminate Portuguese and international design, enhancing the crossover of resources between disciplines, designers, companies, academia, industry and various public and private social sectors. The first edition of Porto Design Biennale undertakes the international dimension of the event, while at the same time giving voice to the public design strategy shared by Porto and Matosinhos. The first edition takes the tensions of the new millennium as its central theme. The programme concerning the theme Post Millennium Tension offers up five exhibitions, two public space installations, two workshop cycles, a performance conference and a Digital Culture conference and debate event. Territorio Italia focuses on events based around the guest country – Italy. Through three exhibitions and a conference, we are introduced to a new practice of Italian design, inseparable from the context of socio-political change that affects the country and is symptomatic of a broad spectrum of tensions that mark Europe and today’s globalised world. The work of the academy will be carried out through the Schools project, in which national design educational institutions will present their visions and projects. Alongside the core schedule, several events will make up a Satellites schedule, which has a variety of forms and expressions, bringing together events hosted by Porto Design Biennale and ten projects selected from an Open Call. In addition, Porto Design Biennale is intended to be a place of celebration of design, a space where problematisation and debate do not exclude the enthusiasm of thinking and seeking to make a better world.