Hack the Root © Mae-ling Lokko

Seven exhibitions to inspire 2020 event design.

Date

Feb 10, 2020

As a designer, I draw inspiration in my work from all spectrums of the creative world.

Be it from film, photography, art or music, it's important to learn from the wealth of creativity that we're surrounded by and use this work to help inspire and add direction to our own. So with that in mind, I've picked seven must-attend exhibitions to help inspire and inform event design over the next few months – and help us find creative solutions to some of the industry's most important trends.

1. Sustainable Materials.

This is a crucial shift in mentality for the event industry and beyond. It's important for us to learn from nature, and investigate how we can adapt our approach in order to protect it.

Exhibition Pick.
Mushrooms: The art, design and future of fungi
Somerset House 30 Jan – 26 Apr 2020 - FREE
"Bringing together the work of over 40 leading artists, designers and musicians, Mushrooms looks at fungi’s colourful cultural legacy, as well as the promise it offers to reimagine our relationship with the planet. Plus, explore ground-breaking experiments in design, textiles and architecture that utilise mushrooms in exciting new ways – from up-cycled agro-waste to sustainable shoes made with mycelium."
Find out more here.

Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova, Mycelium & Timber © Petr Krejci Photograph

Sebastian Cox & Ninela Ivanova, Mycelium & Timber © Petr Krejci Photograph

2. Glamorous Engagements.

If you've been watching Next in Fashion over on Netflix, you'll have seen the 1920’s society darlings inspiring the fashion catwalks – engagements and parties at events will also be referencing this era.

Exhibition Pick.
Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things

National Portrait Gallery – opens March 12, until June 7 £17-20
"This major new exhibition explores the extravagant world of the glamorous and stylish ‘Bright Young Things’ of the twenties and thirties, seen through the eye of renowned British photographer Cecil Beaton. It will bring to life a deliriously eccentric, glamorous and creative era of British cultural life, combining High Society and the avant-garde, artists and writers, socialites and partygoers."
Find out more here.

Cecil Beaton, The Bright Young Things at Wilsford, 1927, © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's

Cecil Beaton, The Bright Young Things at Wilsford, 1927, © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's

3. Inspiring Environments.

Graphic, bold, absurd and eccentric sculptural and digital installations always provide the perfect inspirational fodder for creating new immersive and spatial designs.

Exhibition Pick.
Tate Britain Commission: Heather Phillipson

Tate Britain – opens June 16, until October 18 - FREE
"Every year Tate Britain invites an artist to create an exciting new commission for the grand spaces of the Duveen Galleries at the heart of the building. In 2020 the commission will be by British artist Heather Phillipson." Not much is known but expect something big.
Find out more here.

"my name is lettie eggsyrub": Heather Phillipson takeover at Gloucester Road Station, 2018

"my name is lettie eggsyrub": Heather Phillipson takeover at Gloucester Road Station, 2018

4. Immersive Productions.

There's often no better way to explore how we can enhance experience design than being fully immersed in incredible sound or light installations.

Exhibition Pick.
Reverb: Sound into Art
Hayward Gallery – opens June 24, until September 6 £14.50.
"An ambitious group exhibition that brings together 14 international visual artists who work with sound as their primary medium. Inviting visitors to listen to rather than just look at art, Reverb: Sound into Art considers the many different ways that sound can involve and affect us – both physically and emotionally – as well as the ways in which it interacts with and defines space."
Find out more.

Hannah Perry, Rage Fluids, 2018, © Hannah Perry

Hannah Perry, Rage Fluids, 2018, © Hannah Perry

5. Future-thinking.

Innovation in event design is something we should all still aspire to – and what better ways collecting inspiration from the best examples of design thinking from around the world.

Exhibition Pick.
London Design Biennale 2020

Somerset House - 8-29 September Price TBD
"London Design Biennale is a global gathering of the world’s most ambitious and imaginative designers, curators and design institutions. The third edition will take place from 8 - 27 September 2020 at Somerset House. Es Devlin has been named Artistic Director for 2020 and has chosen 'Resonance' as the theme, which up to 50 countries, cities and territories will respond to in their installations and presentations across the entirety of the site."
Find out more here.

Es Devlin OBE, U2: Experience and Innocence Tour

Es Devlin OBE, U2: Experience and Innocence Tour

6. Performance.

Finding inspiration from creative sources outside of our industry can help us to open up and push the boundaries of what can be achieved in experience design.

Exhibition Pick.
Marina Abramović: After Life

Royal Academy of Arts – opens September 26, until December 8 Price TBD.
“Marina Abramović is one of the most important performance artists in the world. Here, the artist presents the first ever UK exhibition spanning her life’s work – including live re-performances of iconic works, as well as brand new work for these galleries."
Find out more here.

A visitor walks between naked performers re-performing 'Imponderabilia' by Marina Abramovic and Ulay at the Art Basel fair in Basel in 2012 © Christian Hartmann/Reuters

A visitor walks between naked performers re-performing 'Imponderabilia' by Marina Abramovic and Ulay at the Art Basel fair in Basel in 2012 © Christian Hartmann/Reuters

7. Creative Tech.

The exploration of light, video and the built environment helps to inspire us to push our own experiential thresholds.

Exhibition Picks.
Bruce Nauman

Tate Modern – opens October 6, until January 17, 2021 Price TBD.
"Since the late 1960s he has continually tested what an artwork can be, by reshaping old forms and creating new ones. His ground-breaking works using sound, film, video, neon, holograms and 3D have influenced generations of artists. This is the first major exhibition of his work in London in more than 20 years."
Find out more here.

Bruce Nauman La Brea/Art Tips/Rat Spit/Tar Pits 1972 ARTIST ROOMS © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2017

Bruce Nauman La Brea/Art Tips/Rat Spit/Tar Pits 1972 ARTIST ROOMS © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2017