First Malta Pavilion at London Design Biennale unveiled

Urban Fabric takes up prominent Central Courtyard space at Somerset House.
Urban Fabric, the Malta Pavilion at this year’s London Design Biennale, just opened at the courtyard in Somerset House, London.

Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government Owen Bonnici together with Arts Council Malta announced

Urban Fabric, the first Malta Pavilion presented at the London Design Biennale, has just opened at Somerset House, London. ​​​The pavilion was announced by culture minister Owen Bonnici together with Arts Council Malta and has been conceived by a collaborative team of Maltese artists called Open Square Collective.

Malta’s exhibit is conceived through a fusion of art, architecture and innovative and sustainable design. The team is made up of creative lead and architect Matthew Joseph Casha, fashion designer Luke Azzopardi, artist and academic Trevor Borg, and architect Alessia Deguara. They are all known and respected names on the local and international artistic circuit, having already collaborated on high-profile projects.

The lead creative behind the project, Matthew Joseph Casha, reiterated that as Open Square Collective, they are pleased that they created the installation for Malta’s first presentation at the London Design Biennale. He explained that in this exhibit they re-contextualised the traditional Maltese village core. He continued that the installation merges two separate elements – traditional city planning and the Phoenician-Maltese tradition of fabric production and dyeing, while using wood and eco-certified fabric that is sustainable and certified eco-friendly as its main components.

Malta’s participation in the London Design Biennale follows other successful pavilions at major international festivals such as the Venice Biennale, with the works and exhibits commissioned by Arts Council Malta receiving highly positive feedback from the international press. The Council aims to build on these accomplishments by focusing on international visibility, collaborations, and partnerships, while continuing to offer Maltese artists access to international networks and international exchanges.

“Through this participation we have implemented another electoral measure. We are here to be a showcase to our country’s artistic and creative sector and to strengthen the international profile of Maltese designers. We will continue working to enhance the international platform for the cultural and creative sector. Through these efforts, the Government is furthering its mission to promote our cultural and creative industries,” stated Minister Owen Bonnici.

Arts Council Malta Executive Chair Albert Marshall noted the important development such a project has in the implementation of the Council’s internationalisation programme whose aim is to facilitate the passageway for artists and the exportation of their creative output. During the launch, the Malta Pavilion collaborated with other public cultural organisations, hosting performances by KorMalta and ŻfinMalta.

Many of the materials from Urban Fabric will be repurposed for a new installation in Valletta in 2024. The London Design Biennale takes place in Somerset House between June 1 and 30 2023. More information can be found on www.urbanfabricmalta.com and www.artscouncil.mt.

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