IABR, Radical optimism

The International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam (IABR) deals with urgent questions about the climate and our living environment. Architects as well as designers and politicians are challenged to think about the future. Things really need to change, but how? We came up with a clear and convincing way to communicate the IABR’s serious yet relevant themes by thinking radically and optimistically.

The 8th edition of the IABR was titled ‘THE MISSING LINK – Our Future in the Delta, the Delta of the Future’. Our challenge was to attract the attention of a wide audience. We came up with ‘Radical Optimism’ as the title for our publicity campaign while thinking of the Dutch anti-nuclear movement and their classic symbol of the smiling sun.

The tension between issues such as housing and mobility was translated into posters where delta-shaped colour planes threaten to push out the information. The radical visual language, combined with the optimistic colours, forces the viewer to take in the message of the Biennial and is a call for change.

This powerful concept was applicable to all expressions coming from the IABR: the publicity campaign, the signing throughout the city and at the venue, the catalogue and the exhibition design. Thanks to our design, the issues of the IABR have become widely known among regional, national and international visitors. In order to change things radically, we need an optimistic approach!

7 Awards!

With our campaign for IABR we won 5 European Design Awards, an ADCN (Dutch Creativity Awards) Award (silver lamp) and the Ico-D Excellence Award 2019.

“The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam has been awarded the ico-D Design Excellence Award at the 2019 ED Awards for successfully conveying very complex climate change data in a simple, understandable visual language. Utilizing the dynamic tension between typography and color, the designers created on- and off-line solutions, effectively explaining the complexities of climate change.”
– Daniela Piscitelli, Vice President Ico-D

Digital expressions on social media and screens provided us the opportunity to further emphasise the dynamics, conflicts and challenges in the delta. On an interactive ‘splash page’on the website, different delta shapes react to the movement of your cursor. Together with developer Martijn van Bachum, we developed an interactive installation at Rotterdam Central station, in which the shapes reacted to passing travellers. With each movement, the installation changed shape and colour, every time showing a well-known climate quote such as ‘There is no Planet B’.

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