Forest For Change – The Global Goals Pavilion. Render courtesy Es Devlin studio
Es Devlin and Richard Curtis bring Forest for Change to Somerset House in support of UN Global Goals at this year’s London Design Biennale
1 – 27 June, Somerset House
- Interactive installation to showcase UN’s Global Goals, set in forest of 400 trees
- All trees to be replanted in London boroughs following the Biennale
- Birdscape curated by musician Brian Eno for journey through forest
- Participatory music installation composed by Robert M Thomas in central clearing
27 May 2021, London:From 1 – 27 June 2021, the courtyard of Somerset House will be transformed into a forest, as part of the London Design Biennale. Forest for Change – The Global Goals Pavilion invites visitors to discover the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development – a plan adopted by all UN member states in 2015 to end poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030.
As visitors walk through Forest for Change, their journey will be enhanced by the sound of birdsong, curated by Brian Eno, including recordings from the British Library Sound Archive.
At the heart of the Forest, a central clearing will reveal a pavilion consisting of 17 mirrored pillars, representing the Global Goals. They will bring to life why the Goals are the world’s To Do List for people and planet through inspiring quotes and facts about the world we live in. At the end of their journey – at the 17th pillar representing Partnerships for the Goals – visitors will be invited to choose the Goal they feel most passionate about and to record a short message expressing the change they wish to see in the world.
This message will be instantly added to a generative music installation composed by Robert M Thomas that will be played back in the central clearing. Visitors will receive an audio-visual digital file of their recording and a photo as a reminder of their visit. Their contribution will become part of ‘Voices for Change’, a collaboration with the Google Arts & Culture Lab that will bring together the voices and passions of people from across the world in support of the Global Goals.
The Forest is created from 400 juvenile trees that have been individually selected for their differing canopy shapes, heights and forms, with the majority being sourced at one of the UK’s leading tree growers. To highlight the condition of trees in the urban environments due to climate change, a diverse range of 27 nursery grown species have been selected with the aim of ensuring future resilience to the changing London environment. This includes many favourite common species such as Scots Pine, Hazel and Silver Birch.
After the trees have graced the Somerset House courtyard, they will be donated to London boroughs as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, a unique tree planting initiative which encourages everyone to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. The trees will be stored and replanted during the official planting season which begins in October. Southwark and Islington are two of the London boroughs who will receive the trees, creating a living durable legacy for the forest.
When Somerset House was built, in line with the urban design principles of the time, greenery was specifically forbidden – so when planning this year’s Biennale, Es Devlin wanted to counter the attitude of human dominance over nature, creating a magnificent green landscape and centerpiece in Somerset House’s courtyard, and an opportunity to connect with nature.
Designed by leading international artist and designer, and Artistic Director of the Biennale, Es Devlin, in collaboration with Landscape Designer Philip Jaffa and Urban Greening Specialists Scotscape, the outdoor experience is presented in partnership with Project Everyone, a not-for profit agency founded by Richard Curtis, Kate Garvey and Gail Gallie to further awareness and engagement with the Global Goals. The project has received specialist support from John Cullen Lighting, Autograph sound and Corticeira Amorim. Production for the Forest has been supervised by Sustainable Production specialists Beautiful Wonder.
Significant resources and expertise have been committed to produce the Forest for Change sustainably. Materials have been sourced through sustainable supply chains and nearly all will be reused, recycled or regenerated as biofuel. The project will be carbon positive, planting sufficient trees to offset its actual carbon footprint three times over, after the Biennale.
Forest for Change – The Global Goals Pavilion joins participants from around the world, across six continents, at this year’s London Design Biennale, responding to Es Devlin’s theme ‘Resonance,’ which considers ground-breaking design concepts on the way we live, and the choices we make, exploring issues from the pandemic and climate change, equality to migration, through international collaboration, policy making and communication.
Participating Pavilions include: African Diaspora, Antarctica, Argentina, Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New York City, Nile Region, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Taiwan, The Global Goals Pavilion, Venezuela.
Special projects: Beatie Wolfe, Designers in the Middle, Marco Perry Sound, Servaire&Co & Alter-Projects
Sustainability & Innovation:A series of installations by a selected group of universities, organisations and brands demonstrating their contribution to global issues through design, including Kingston University, Royal College of Art, Ruup & Form and University of Cambridge
Design in An Age of Crisis: This exhibition will showcase radical design thinking from the world’s design community, the public, and young people, in response to a global Open Call created in partnership with Chatham House that attracted 500 submissions from over 50 countries across 6 continents.
Es Devlin OBE, Artistic Director, London Design Biennale, says:
“In our global, digital era, design can instantly permeate borders and bridge cultures. As a community of designers approaching shared global challenges from culturally diverse viewpoints, the collective resonance of our ideas and our actions has the power to be truly transformative. I am delighted to be working alongside such an extraordinary group of designers, thinkers, artists and makers who have the power to influence and change minds in order to help build a more sustainable future.”
Richard Curtis, film writer, director, UN SDG Advocate, and co-founder of Project Everyone, says:
“We’re thrilled to be collaborating on this project bringing to life the Global Goals in the heart of London. These Goals were agreed by world leaders, but they belong to all of us and every person can play a role in helping to achieve them and their ambition to end poverty, fight inequality and tackle the climate crisis by 2030. This last year has reinforced the fact that all problems have a global dimension and that there are great global solutions- embodied in the Global Goals. I hope people will leave the Forest for Change better informed about and more involved in the Global Goals – and more determined than ever to take action. As well as having had a beautiful stroll through a mysterious and magical urban forest”
Deputy Chair of The Queen’s Green Canopy, Samantha Cohen CVO says:
“We are delighted Project Everyone is dedicating its trees to the Queen’s Green Canopy project to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022. These trees will help people in London to protect their local environments and reduce the impact of climate change. Trees are a simple and effective way of filtering pollution, generating oxygen, providing shade, enhancing our health and wellbeing and providing a home for wildlife. We welcome the news that Southwark and Islington will be two of the boroughs to receive a gift of free trees when the installation is finished. Thanks to Project Everyone, even more Londoners will benefit from this wonderful initiative in The Queen’s name that will benefit generations to come.”
For London Design Biennale press enquiries please contact:
Charlotte Sidwell and Claire Walsh email@example.com / 07834 502346
Public opening dates 1 – 27 June
Notes to editors
Established in 2016 by Sir John Sorrell CBE and Ben Evans CBE, London Design Biennale promotes international collaboration and the global role of design. The 2018 Biennale welcomed the world’s most exciting and ambitious designers, innovators and cultural bodies to the capital. The third edition of London Design Biennale will take place from 1-27 June 2021, curated by Artistic Director Es Devlin.
Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, including the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and River Terrace, participants will respond to the theme, Resonance, which considers the ripple effect of ground-breaking design concepts on the way we live, and the choices we make. More information on Pavilions can be found here.
London Design Biennale’s International Advisory Committee and Jury includes: Ms Paola Antonelli, Ms Victoria Broackes, Mr Aric Chen, Ms Es Devlin, Ms Nipa Doshi, Mr Ben Evans CBE, Mr James Lingwood MBE, Professor Jeremy Myerson, Mr Jonathan Reekie CBE, Dr. Christopher Turner, Ms Suhair Khan, Sir John Sorrell CBE, Ms Marva Griffin Wilshire and Mr Waldick Jatoba.
London Design Biennale 2021 is supported using public funding by Arts Council England and the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
About Es Devlin
Artist Es Devlin creates large-scale installations and stage sculptures that combine light, music and language in order to elicit emotional response and perspective shift in the minds of her audience.
Her latest large scale mirror maze, Forest of Us (2021), forms part of the inaugural exhibition at SUPERBLUE Miami alongside new works by James Turrell and TeamLab. The Imperial War Museum commission, I Saw the World End (2020) invited viewers to engage simultaneously with opposing perspectives on Europe’s largest LED screen in Piccadilly Circus, while the monumental 360-degree sculpture Memory Palace (2019) mapped shifts in human perspective over 73 millennia.
Devlin developed her deep understanding of audience engagement through collaborations in theatre (The Lehman Trilogy), opera (Carmen on the lake at Bregenz), Olympic ceremonies (London and Rio) and has created some of the most renowned stage sculptures (with Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus, Pet Shop Boys, U2, Kanye West ) seen by mass audiences around the world.
Devlin has displayed her work in Trafalgar Square, the Serpentine, the V&A and the Metropolitan Museum and is the first woman chosen to design the British pavilion at the World Expo – opening in October this year. Her practice is the subject of the Netflix documentary series “Abstract: The Art of Design” and she was made OBE in 2015.
About Project Everyone
Project Everyone is a not-for-profit creative communications agency co -founded by Richard Curtis, Kate Garvey and Gail Gallie. It creates campaigns and supports partners to raise awareness, inspire action and drive accountability for the Global Goals, because they are the best roadmap towards a better future for people and planet.
Project Everyone’s motto is ‘In order to make things happen, you have to make things’ – so that is exactly what they do. They ‘make’ advocacy campaigns, content, programmes and events – telling stories that help multiple sectors engage with the Goals.
This engagement from civil society, corporations, educators, philanthropists and activists will then in turn drive politicians to focus on achieving the Goals, and thus accelerate progress towards a green, just and equal world for all by 2030.
www.project-everyone.org / www.globalgoals.org
About Philip Jaffa
Philip is best known for creating highly acclaimed hospitality & leisure projects throughout Europe, North Africa and further afield. His work creates environments that fuse the best of local culture, history and community with the natural landscape to ensure a profound connection to nature.
At his core, Philip is a storyteller, leading people on exciting, playful and often whimsical journeys that celebrate all that is good in feeling alive. He promotes harmony, wellbeing and engagement, enabling a joyful interaction with the natural world while, at the same time, addressing issues of climate change, biodiversity and urbanism as well as the economic realities of commercial projects.
As Founder and Creative Director of London based Scape Design, he has worked in collaboration with many of the world’s leading luxury hospitality brands, global architects and interior designers.
For further information about Scape Design and its design of Forest for Change, please contact: Su Pecha at ESP Business Development. +44 (0)208 374 4476; firstname.lastname@example.org
Scotscape is committed to introducing biodiversity to urban places to improve the environment and create healthier, cleaner, greener and more sustainable living spaces. We do this by combining nature and technology.
We work throughout the UK and Europe installing ‘smart’ greening systems for interior and exterior settings which include living walls, LivingPillars and micro forests in conjunction with our design team. Scotscape is committed to providing excellent service, funding on-going research into nature-based solutions and engaging with local communities to encourage city planting.
As thought leaders, we have worked with the Universities of Sheffield, Seville and Cambridge. We will continue to work with educational bodies to drive knowledge in the direction of building sustainable cities.
About Robert M Thomas
Robert M Thomas is a multi-instrumentalist composer and programmer based in London. He often employs stochastic, algorithmic and machine learning composition techniques to explore music as a fluid medium which can adapt and personalise itself to the listeners situation.
Recent collaborations include Massive Attack, London Contemporary Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Imogen Heap and Hans Zimmer. His work has been performed at The Barbican and on the BBC.
Somerset House is London’s working arts centre and home to the UK’s largest creative community. Built on historic foundations, we are situated in the very heart of the capital. Dedicated to backing progress, championing openness, nurturing creativity and empowering ideas, our cultural programme is ambitious in scope. We insist on relevance, but aren’t afraid of irreverence, and are as keen on entertainment as enrichment. We embrace the biggest issues of our times and are committed to oxygenating new work by emerging artists. Where else can you spend an hour ice-skating while listening to a specially commissioned sound piece by a cutting-edge artist? It is this creative tension – the way we harness our heritage, put the too-often overlooked on our central stage and use our neo-classical backdrop to showcase ground-breaking contemporary culture – that inspires our programme. Old and new, history and disruption, art and entertainment, high-tech and homemade, combined with the fact that we are home to a constantly shape-shifting working creative community: this is our point of difference. It is what we are proud of. And it is what makes the experience of visiting or working in Somerset House inspiring and energising, urgent and exciting. somersethouse.org.uk
About Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture puts the treasures, stories and knowledge of over 2.000 cultural institutions from 80 countries at your fingertips. If Google’s mission is to make the world’s information more accessible, then Google Arts & Culture’s mission is to make the world’s culture accessible to anyone, anywhere. It’s your doorway to explore art, history, and wonders of the world. Discover stories about cultural heritage ranging from Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings, Puerto Rico’s heritage, Sports in Australia or the women’s right movement to ancient Maya temples, Japanese Food and Indian Railways. http://g.co/artsandculture
About The Queen’s Green Canopy
The Queen’s Green Canopy is a unique UK-wide tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”. www.queensgreencanopy.org
If you would like to find out more about the audio recordings used in Faint Signals you can download a full list here.(PDF document)