London. “The Future Starts Here”

The V&A’s new show looks at the future of design and humanity through four sections: Self, Public, Afterlife and Planet.

View of the exhibition "The future starts here. 100 projects shaping the world of tomorrow", V&A Museum, London, 12 May – 4 November 2018

The exhibition “The future starts here”, on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum of London until November 4th, proposes to look at the future of humanity and its environment through the perspective of design. Curated by Rory Hyde, the V&A’s curator of contemporary architecture and urbanism, and by architect Mariana Pestana, the show is organised into four sections: Self, Public, Afterlife and Planet. Each chapter is illustrated by a series of speculative questions - such as “If Mars is the answer, what is the question?” and “Are cities still for everyone?” - that guide the visitors throughout the scenography.

Neither optimistic nor pessimistic, the exhibition presents a series of possible high-tech solutions to solve major environmental issues such as how to deal with radioactive nuclear waste, but also more ambitious missions, such as defeating death itself.

In parallel, the curators also tackle the future of urbanism and connectivity. The exhibition features, for instance, Facebook’s controversial project Aquila, a solar-powered plane, first tested in 2016, that shall help to connect to the internet remote parts of the world. But, connectivity isn’t only about virtuality. Echoing the theme of the French pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 - that looks at the value of the commons in cities - “The future starts here”, therefore, also presents several examples of social endeavours and bottom-up initiatives across the world. Among which is the wooden bridge Luchtsingel in Rotterdam: initiated and designed by the architecture firm ZUS, the project is known as the first public infrastructure realised mainly through crowdfunding. Another example is the “people's parliament” of Derîk, in the northern part of Syria (the area also known as Rojava). Launched in 2016 by the Dutch New World Organization, together with local communities, the conference hall - a vast circular amphitheatre - has become a symbolic place for the population to gather and exchange around societal issues such as gender equity and communal economy.

“The future starts here” provides us with many scenarios. It is up to us to decide which one to embrace.

Exhibition title:
The Future Starts Here. 100 projects shaping the world of tomorrow,
Opening dates:
12 May – 4 November 2018
Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London, UK

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