In ‘Triada,’ David del Valle explored the complex identity of a country where happiness and optimism co-exist with the pain and shame of the war years.

Colombia is a country whose recent past has been framed by armed conflict and violence related to the drug trade. David Del Valle, curator of the country's first entry to London Design Biennale, explained that this has created a largely negative impression of its culture and society. “Colombia is a country full of prejudices, many of them erroneous, others true, but the vast majority exaggerated,” he said.

In response to this, Del Valle created an installation that juxtaposed the emotional states that exist in a country that does not deny its troubled past but refuses to be defined by it. “Our installation makes reference to two realities: the pain and shame that Colombians feel about the armed conflict; but also the happiness and pride they have for their country and the opportunity we see with the peace process.”

The installation was called Triada (or Triad in English), in reference to the emotions of pain, pride and happiness. A circuit was designed to allow people to journey from negative to positive states, exploring sounds and images that made them feel a range of sentiments. “We want visitors to focus on their feelings in a space where aesthetics, images and sounds try to showcase the reality of a country,” said Del Valle. The images and textures on display were all inspired by traditional manufacturing techniques that are unique to the country. “We want visitors to take away the image of a country that is moving forward, highlighting the positive emotions that we, as natives, recognise and feel.”

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Photography: Ed Reeve


Administering Body:

The Embassy of Colombia, London

Design Team:

Tu Taller Design studio & partners


Oliver Juggins, Jorge Lizarazo, Andrés Hincapié, Miguel Isaza, Rafael Zuñiga


David Del Valle

Supporting Bodies:

Medellin Design Week, Tu Taller Design, ProColombia, Marca País CO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia

2018 Exhibitors