4th Istanbul Design Biennial

Jan Boelen is curator of 4th Istanbul Design Biennial (22 September–4 November 2018) in Istanbul, Turkey.


The Istanbul Design Biennial, founded in 2012, brings together a diverse cross-section of design ideas, and explores a wide range of fields concerning design. Seeding ideas and fostering dialogue and intersections within the creative and academic community, the biennial operates on a network of national and international collaborations with cultural agents, institutions, universities and companies. Using the city as a dynamic space for projects, actions and interventions the biennial tackles global design problems by discussing the notion of design, stimulating critical debate, foregrounding underexplored or overlooked aspects of society and prompting further investigation into and exchange about emerging conditions of our world. Committed to design as a tool for understanding the complex role of design in today’s society the biennial as a progressive discussion platform is in permanent transformation.

Entitled A School of Schools, the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial will stretch both the space and time of the traditional design event, manifesting as a flexible year-long programme within which to respond to global acceleration, generating alternative methodologies, outputs and forms of design and education. A School of Schools manifests as a set of dynamic learning formats encouraging creative production, sustainable collaboration, and social connection. Exploring eight themes, the learning environment is a context of empowerment, reflection, sharing and engagement, providing reflexive responses to specific situations.

Engaging multigenerational, transdisciplinary practitioners from Turkey and abroad, A School of Schools brings together old and new knowledge, academic and amateur, professional and personal, focusing on the process as much as the outcomes. Together, agents in this complex and ambitious ecosystem will create new knowledge, search for alternatives to implemented systems, and with radical diversity, push the boundaries of the design discipline.

The 4th Istanbul Design Biennial Advisory Board Members are ‎Director of Research and Programs at SALT, Meriç Öner; Partner at Superpool International Multidisciplinary Design Studio and Director of Studio-X Istanbul, Selva Gürdoğan; Director of the Dresden Museum of Decorative Arts, Tulga Beyerle; writer, Chief curator at the Design Museum and Co-head of Design Curating & Writing at Design Academy Eindhoven, Justin McGuirk; architect, curator and editor at e-flux Architecture, Nikolaus Hirsch.

The conceptual framework of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, will be announced in the autumn 2017.

Istanbul Design Biennial