Out of Joint

At a time of rising nationalism and growing geopolitical instability, international cooperation has become ever more crucial–but also, seemingly out of reach. Taking London Design Biennale as a site of global representation, the Dutch pavilion aims to manifest this process of geopolitical disorientation through an installation of site-specific forms waiting to be exported and distributed throughout Somerset House.

Acting as a supportive infrastructure that can facilitate different moments of discussion and gathering, a series of ambiguous fragments have been designed to be recontextualised and used by other biennale participants. By dissolving and redistributing the Dutch Pavilion, the expected routing of the biennale is reorientated towards new anchor points that can foster discussions around the common interests and overlapping sympathies necessary to overcoming our increasingly fragmented world.

Through a series of collaborative workshops, a design team consisting of Fabulous Future, Studio Verter, Tim Teven Studio and Jeanine van Berkel have developed a scenography within the pavilion designed to evoke an ambiguously bureaucratic environment. While entering such a space in the real world can be disorientating in its own right, it is not entirely out of place here: before becoming a grand civic landmark, Somerset House was a fairly mundane collection of administrative spaces. From the offices of Inland Revenue to the administrative headquarters of the Royal Navy serving British imperialism, the building stands as testament to both the banality and violence of bureaucracy.

Taking this layered history as a starting point for new collaborations and ideas, the space occupied by the Dutch Pavilion now facilitates the logistical process for borrowing its component fragments. From a central desk, other pavilions can fill out the paperwork required to borrow the items for their own use.

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Photo by Taran Wilkhu



Colin Keays


Aric Chen, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands in the United Kingdom

General and Artistic Director, Nieuwe Instituut

Project Lead:

Francien van Westrenen

Head of Agency, Nieuwe Instituut

Programme manager:

Joyce Hanssen

Nieuwe Instituut


Reineke Otten

Nieuwe Instituut

Assistant producer

Lara Ippolito

Nieuwe Instituut


Leonard van Hout

Nieuwe Instituut

Moetoesingi Schmidt

Nieuwe Instituut

2023 Exhibitors