About The Slovenian design biennale BIO, the world’s oldest, ranks among the most preeminent international design events in Europe. First held in 1963, it has been hosted by Ljubljana’s Museum of Architecture and Design since 1972. The Biennial of Design is a cultural event that seeks innovative intersections that are ripe for development between architecture and the industrial and academic sectors.
BIO’s chosen theme serves as an international platform for new approaches to design that address current burning issues in local and global environments. It is a laboratory and test track where design is viewed as a tool for examining and readdressing everyday life through a multidisciplinary and humanistic lens that reaches through the systems, services, studies, and production apparatus that run our lives, as well as the unexpected conditions involved in effecting any solutions within our living environments. Guests in previous years include renowned names such as Jan Boelen, Angela Rui, Thomas Geisler, Alice Rawsthorn, Formafantasma, Mischer’Traxler, Studio Folder, Point Supreme, Didier Faustino, Odo Fioravanti, and plenty of other international and local creators.
Transforming into a sustainable cultural producer
As the environmental impact of hosting international cultural events becomes clear, BIO’s mission embeds sustainability as a guiding principle. BIO27 is taking active steps to reduce its environmental footprint across its activities and aims to demonstrate and communicate innovative approaches to sustainable cultural production.
BIO is organized by the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in cooperation with the Centre for Creativity, at the Museum of Architecture and Design. The project ‘Centre for Creativity’ is co-financed by the Republic of Slovenia and European Union from the European Regional Development Fund within the European Cohesion Policy for the 2014–2020 period.
czk.si Curators Jane Withers
Jane Withers is a leading design curator, writer and consultant based in London. Her studio works on curation, programming and design-led strategies with institutions and global brands, bringing imaginative design thinking to address social, cultural, and environmental challenges. She has curated critically acclaimed exhibitions and programmes at the V&A Museum and Royal Academy of Arts among many others. She is curatorial advisor to the London Design Festival and initiated the Brompton Design District as a platform for experimental design, as well as collaborating with pioneering brands such as Kvadrat and Therme Group.
Withers has a long record of exploring the role of design in tackling environmental issues with a particular focus on water, initiating a series of influential projects that bring together perspectives from different regions and fields of expertise to provide the knowledge, networks, and opportunities for designers to investigate and respond to the water crisis. She speaks and teaches internationally including at ECAL and the RCA in 2022. She has served on numerous juries and advisory boards, and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the University of Westminster for her services to the environment, along with Milan’s Design Prize for Experimentation.
janewithers.com instagram.com/janewithers.london Ria Hawthorn
Ria Hawthorn is a design curator and producer, who has worked at leading institutions including the Design Museum, where she has curated exhibitions such as Designs of the Year and Designers in Residence, and the British Council where she managed the New British Inventors programme. Ria guides many of Jane Withers Studio’s projects from concept development to completion and is particularly interested in researching and championing sustainable and regenerative design approaches.
janewithers.com instagram.com/ria.hawthorn Production Platform Teams Robida.plus Team
Team members: Janja Šušnjar, Kim Lang, Francesca Lucchitta, Elena Braida, Elena Rucli, Vida Rucli, Dora Ciccone, Vid Skrbinšek
Mentor: Carolien Niebling
Project: Grains for Brains
Born from the magazine
Robida, Robida + is a project group created to collaborate on BIO 27 in comprehensively researching a phenomenon born from an essential need. The need for food. Robida + consists of ten young creatives with origins in the rural landscape of the Alpine region. Their diverse backgrounds and interests encourage them to learn about the old secrets of food-making from a broader perspective and complement one another with creative and original ideas.
“Food creates habits, rituals and traditions of eating together and causes the cultivation of the landscape and the design of the infrastructure, appliances and other accessories. It has been the crucial element of community, hospitality, belonging and care. The relationships between places and recipes are not coincidental.”
robidacollective.com instagram.com/r_o_b_i_d_a instagram.com/vidarucli instagram.com/elenarucli instagram.com/caffe_dora instagram.com/vid_skrbinsek instagram.com/plantanism instagram.com/elena_braida Garnitura Team
Team members: Maruša Mazej, Brina Steblovnik, Neža Lukančič, Lin Gerkman, Miha Gašperin, Sara Bezovšek and Eva Popit
Mentor: Adam Štěch
Project: Communicating Modern Architecture
The interdisciplinary Garnitura comprises seven creatives, united by their shared interest in design and architecture. Coming from a Slovenian cultural background, they have all been influenced by Jože Plečnik’s architectural legacy. Attending universities in Slovenia, Czechia, Slovakia and Norway gave them a unique perspective on the meaning of modern architecture in the context of today’s cultural ideals and goals. In the past, they have researched and intentionally used vernacular elements within their projects. Their competencies span expertise in art history, contemporary design approaches, such as critical and speculative design and traditional crafts, digital prototyping, various visual art techniques (photography, video) and practice in material crafts (wood, ceramics and glass).
Garnitura will explore Plečnik’s approach to creatively incorporating the vernacular into modern design, applying their findings to the context of future living.
instagram.com/garnitura_ instagram.com/marusamazej instagram.com/brinasteblovnik instagram.com/neza.lukancic instagram.com/lingerkman instagram.com/evapopituse instagram.com/sara_bezovsek Pjorkkala Team
Team members: Žan Girandon, Pia Groleger, Luka Pleskovič, Ema Kapelj, Zala Križ
Mentor: Shneel Malik
Project: Water – Designing a Biovernacular
Pjorkkala is a group of four students studying industrial and graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. As young creators united by an interest in environmental and social issues and potential solutions, they are aware that our generation holds a unique position, considering that the environmental damage has surpassed all limits. They see the solution not only in technological development but also in the connection between traditional and contemporary contexts, between localised and widespread solutions.
instagram.com/pjorkkala instagram.com/zanonja instagram.com/piagroleger instagram.com/lukapleskovic instagram.com/emakapelj instagram.com/krizeva Krater Team
Team members: Rok Oblak, Gaja Mežnarić Osole, Altan Jurca Avci, Andrej Koruza, Sebastjan Kovač, Primož Turnšek, Anamari Hrup, Eva Jera Hanžek, Gaja Pegan Nahtigal
Mentors: Atelier LUMA – Daniel Bell and Marie Vernay, BC Materials – Jasper Van der Linden
Project: Forbidden Vernaculars
The interdisciplinary group of creatives and ecologists is an extended collective of the creative laboratory Krater users (Trajna, the Slovenian Association of Permaculture Practitioners, the Abandoned Plants Sanctuary, Agrodivizija and other creative individuals) collectively working towards enlivening the forgotten construction site. By mobilising expertise ranging from conceptual and critical thinking, product design, production, permaculture, ecology, journalism, art and architecture, each of the group’s members is contributing to the project with a particular set of scholarly experience and practical skills, which create a unique work setting and allow a holistic approach of the project’s outcomes.
krater.si instagram.com/kratercollective instagram.com/saltodionys instagram.com/andrejkoruza instagram.com/anamarihrup instagram.com/eva.jera instagram.com/gpngpngpn Futuring Research Team
Team members: Žan Kobal, Tamara Lašič Jurković, Barbara Predan
Mentor: Sophie Thomas
Project: Regenerative Cultural Production
Futuring is the field of using a systematic process for thinking about and planning for the future; to picture possible outcomes. Or as Tony Fry explained, “Design Futuring argues that responding to ethical, political, social and ecological concerns requires a new type of practice which recognises design's importance in overcoming a world made unsustainable.” We are Futuring.
pekinpah.com/design instagram.com/zankobal instagram.com/tamaralasic instagram.com/pekinpah Mentors Carolien Niebling
Carolien Niebling lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland. She is a designer and researcher who specialises in food-related projects. Carolien’s work uses design to unite the fields of science and food. She received a master’s degree in product design from École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) in 2014 and was asked to stay on as an assistant teacher. Her research resulted in the book The Sausage of the Future, released by Lars Müller Publishers in 2017. Carolien is mentor of team Grains for Brains.
carolienniebling.net instagram.com/carolienniebling Shneel Malik
Shneel Malik is an Architect, a Biodesign Researcher, a social entrepreneur and a TEDx Speaker. She is currently pursuing her PhD Research as part of the Bio-Integrated Design (Bio-ID) Lab at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, UK. Working at the intersection of design, biology, engineering and material sciences she investigates the fabrication of large-scale photosynthetic systems for applications within Architecture. Shneel’s research stems from fabricating novel living materials that can perform natural processes from the bottom-up. Shneel is mentor of team Water – Designing a BioVernacular.
instagram.com/shneelchronicles Adam Štech
Adam Štěch has long been involved in design, architecture, and the visual arts as a theorist, journalist and curator. He is a graduate of the Master's degree in History of Art at Charles University in Prague and between 2009 and 2017 he worked as an editor for Dolce Vita magazine. Today, he is the editor of Architect + magazine. He is a co-founder of the creative group OKOLO, with which he has prepared dozens of publication and exhibition projects in the Czech Republic and abroad since 2009. Adam is mentor to team Communicating Modern Architecture.
okolo.cz instagram.com/okolo_architecture Kellenberger–White
Kellenberger–White – Eva Kellenberger and Sebastian White began their creative partnership while studying at the Royal College of Art. They have been invited to exhibit and talk around the world, and their work is held in public collections in Europe. In 2020, their “Being Human” project, the Wellcome Collection, was shortlisted for the Permanent Exhibition of the Year, the Museum + Heritage Awards. In 2021, they received several nominations for the Tokyo Type Directors Club Award for Graphic Design. Kellenberger–White are advising team Regenerative Cultural Production.
kellenberger-white.com instagram.com/kellenbergerwhite Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas is an unusual mix of creative campaigner and design agitator and has been working in the fields of sustainable design, behaviour change and material process through the design agency, Thomas.Matthews since she founded it in 1997. She was Director of Circular Economy and before that, Co-Director of Design in the Action Research Centre at the RSA where she founded and ran The Great Recovery project for four years. Sophie Thomas is advising team Regenerative Cultural Production.
thomasmatthews.com instagram.com/tm_thinking instagram.com/tmsophie Atelier LUMA
Daniel Bell graduated as an architect from the Mackintosh School of Architecture (2016) following studies at the UU Belfast School of Architecture and ENSA Paris-Belleville. He has practiced as an Architect in France, Ireland and the UK. Since 2018 he has worked at Atelier LUMA. Atelier LUMA is a design and research lab located in Arles. Through investigating the resources and know-how in our bioregion, and connecting different fields of expertise, we develop local solutions for ecological, economic, and social transition.
Marie Vernay is a mason-architect from Lyon, France. She studied in the national architecture school of Saint-Etienne, from which she graduated in 2018, and in the architecture department of KU Leuven (Brussels), where she met the founders of BC Architects & Studies. She joined Atelier LUMA (Arles, France) in 2020 to work on a large-scale renovation project (Lot 8) together with BC Architects & Studies and Assemble Studio (UK). Marie has mainly focused on the research and development of building materials from regional resources, by mapping and gathering bio/geo-based materials, as well as co-products and waste from local production networks.
Atelier LUMA are mentors to team Forbidden Vernaculars.
atelier-luma.org instagram.com/danyalbell instagram.com/luma_arles
instagram.com/marie.vernay BC Materials
Jasper Van der Linden is an architect, who studied at Sint-Lucas Ghent (BE), Istanbul (TU) and Buenos Aires (AR). Jasper is part of the team BC architects & studies & BC materials. BC is a hybrid practice, designing and undertaking "acts of building" towards systemic change in the construction sector. We strive for bioregional, low-tech, circular, beautiful and inclusive design. We work with our minds and our hands, undertaking activities such as community organisation, material production, contracting, teaching, and prototyping. BC Materials are mentors to team Forbidden Vernaculars.
jaspervanderlinden.be bcmaterials.org instagram.com/jaspervdl instagram.com/bcmaterials_org Advisory Board Blaž Bajič
Blaž Bajič is Assistant Professor at the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Ljubljana. Since completing his PhD in 2017, he has participated as a project researcher at the University of Oslo in the ERC-funded TRACES - Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts (2016-2019) and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Eastern Finland in the ERC-funded project SENSOTRA – Sensory Transformations and Transgenerational Environmental Relationships in Europe 1950-2020 (2017-2021). His main research topics include sensory practises, perception of environment, art and creativity, leisure and popular culture, as well as methodological and epistemological aspects of cultural anthropology.
Jan Boelen is a Belgian curator of design, architecture, and contemporary art. He is rector at the Karlsruhe University of Art and Design (HfG), and artistic director of Atelier LUMA, an experimental laboratory for design in Arles, France. Boelen is the founder and former artistic director of Z33 – House for contemporary art in Hasselt, Belgium. He was curator of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial in Istanbul (2018) and initiated Manifesta 9 in Belgium (2012). Lastly, he curated the Lithuanian Pavilion Planet of People in Venice Architecture Biennial 2021. Boelen recently edited Social Matter, Social Design: For Good or Bad, all Design is Social (Valiz, 2020), and his writing addresses the implications of design in everyday life, and how artistic practices shape the discipline.
Lucia Pietroiusti is a curator working at the intersection of art, ecology and systems, usually outside of the gallery format. She is the founder of the General Ecology project at Serpentine, London and is currently developing the Institute for General Ecology as a distributed, independent organisation. Pietroiusti is the curator of Sun & Sea (Marina), the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia; together with with Andrés Jaque, Chief Curator; Marina Otero Verzier; Filipa Ramos and You Mi she curated the 13th Shanghai Biennale, Bodies of Water (2020/2021 and was the curator of the second edition of POWER NIGHT at E-Werk Luckenwalde, titled Being Mothers, in 2021/2022. In 2022, Pietroiusti will join James Bridle in curating a section of the Helsinki Festival, dedicated to artificial and more-than-human intelligences.
Špela Spanžel is an art historian, curator, and cultural heritage expert. She coordinated several nominations for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List (Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps and Heritage of Mercury. Idrija and Almadén) and on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (Škofja Loka Passion Play, Bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia, Beekeeping in Slovenia and Lipizzan Horse Breeding Traditions). She led the nomination of the works of the architect Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana recognized as an example of human-centered urban design and inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2021.
Besides being a member of several working groups and steering committees within the UNESCO, Council of Europe, and EU framework, Ms. Spanžel contributed to the preparation of the recent internationally relevant documents and policies in the cultural heritage field and beyond. She is a member of the Editorial Board for the 2018 Davos Declaration and the Ministerial Conference on Baukultur, and the preparation of the Davos Baukultur Quality System launched in Spring 2021. She has contributed to the conference Building Europe: Towards a culture of high-quality architecture and built environment for everyone held in October 2021 in Graz and Maribor in the context of the Slovenian EU Presidency. She works in the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia and lives in Ljubljana.
Ana Struna Bregar
Ana Struna Bregar is the executive director of CER, the first partnership for a sustainable economy in Slovenia, which strives to promote a climate-neutral economy. For more than 15 years, she has been involved in the development and management of a platform to promote the best innovative practices in the field of quality built space and a sustainable economy. She was the head of the House of Architecture at the Chamber of Architecture and Design of Slovenia, the founder and former director of the largest Slovenian architectural festival, the Open House of Slovenia, and the co-founder of the Playful Architecture project. For the festival and the project, it received the highest population – the Plečnik Medal.
For the past five years, she has focused on sustainable management and systemic thinking about sustainable development. Several certificates have been obtained in this field, including from the Institute for Sustainable Leadership of the University of Cambridge. In 2020, the Covid-19 Green Reinforcement Alliance was established, for which CER received the Finance newspaper award in 2020.
BIO27 Team Kira Cerjak
Production Platform Manager
Executive Editor, Super Vernaculars catalogue and exhibition text
Ana Kuntarič Brodersen
Studio Kruh and AA