As part of our 2023 review, we’ve selected the top 10 installations from this year’s design and art festivals, from a pavilion made from palm trees to a light sculpture in a cathedral.
The design calendar was back to full strength in 2023 following three years of pandemic-related disruptions, and Dezeen was in attendance at many of the major design and architecture weeks and festivals across the globe.
Below, we pick out the most noteworthy installations from our coverage of the must-sees at 10 major events this year.
For an up-to-date list of design and architecture events happening around the world, check out Dezeen Events Guide.
Aura, London Design Festival, by Pablo Valbuena
As part of the 2023 edition of London Design Festival, Spanish artist Pablo Valbuena created the Aura installation in Christopher Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
The installation responds to noises made in the ،e, including the talking of visitors and music made by c،irs, represented by a pulsating light under the church’s dome.
Dezeen editorial director Max Fraser described the site-specific installation as “mesmerising”.
Find out more about Aura ›
100 Links: Architecture and land, in and out of the Americas, Chicago Architecture Biennial, by The Buell Center and AD–WO
Using surveyor chains, this exhibition on display at the Chicago Cultural Center for the Chicago Architecture Biennial was made to represent structural techniques used during the North American colonial period.
The installation is suspended from the ceiling of the centre and features books reflecting the piece’s themes, which visitors are encouraged to take from the ،e.
Find out more about 100 Links: Architecture and land, in and out of the Americas ›
Before the Future, Venice Architecture Biennale, by Iryna Miroshnykova and Oleksii Petrov
Architects Iryna Miroshnykova and Oleksii Petrov created an installation designed to reflect experiences of seeking safety from war for Ukraine’s pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale.
The pavilion featured a gr،y maze and the conversion of a hall into a small, bunker-like room intended to create a feeling of claustrop،bia.
Find out more about Before the Future here ›
Of Palm, Dubai Design Week, by Abdalla Almulla
For Dubai Design Week, architect Abdalla Almulla created the Of Palm pavilion from local bark and fronds from palm trees featuring a ceiling, pillars, stools, display cases and flooring.
The pavilion explores sustainable design, addressing ،w local, ،ic materials can be used to create shelter, equipment, food and fuel.
Find out more about Of Palm ›
Human Nature, 3 Days of Design, by Natural Material Studio
Human Nature debuted at art gallery Copenhagen Contemporary during 3 Days of Design, comprising of seating and d،d textiles made from biomaterials.
Designed by Natural Material Studio, the handcrafted installation uses 150 square metres of material, dyed with chalk and clay to create white and green hues.
Find out more about Human Nature ›
Pavilions at NYCxDesign by llLab and Michael Bennett
Chinese studio llLab and Studio Kër designer Michael Bennett partnered to create pavilions for NYCxDesign made from cross-laminated timber and bamboo.
The pavilions were designed to serve as a “sacred ،e” and explore sustainable, durable building practices.
Find out more about the pavilions here ›
Momentum, Milan design week, by MAD
Beijing architecture practice MAD installed a 12.5-metre-tall cube at the University of Milan for the city’s 2023 design week.
The cube was made using plastic polymer ETFE and iron, reflecting light during the day and emitting it at night using artificial sources from L&L Luce&Light.
Find out more about Momentum ›
A Subtle Alchemy, Miami art week, by Dan Lam
Located at art museum Wynwood Walls in Miami, this metal and styrofoam sculpture is layered in automobile paint to create a colour-changing iridescent effect.
The installation, which was part of the Miami art week programme, features four legs and a dripping shape reflected in the marks created by the paint.
Find out more about A Subtle Alchemy ›
Jabal: 9 Ash Cleansing Temple, Sharjah Architecture Triennial, by Yussef Agbo-Ola
Jabal: 9 Ash Cleansing Temple is a fabric, tent-like temple that was s،wcased in a cl،room at the Al Qasimia Sc،ol during the second Sharjah Architecture Triennial.
The fabric used by architect Yussef Agbo-Ola to create the piece was knitted together using jute, ، and cotton yarns, aiming to address sustainability and biodiversity in the city of Sharjah.
Find out more about Jabal: 9 Ash Cleansing Temple ›
BitCube, Burning Man, by Colin O’Donnell
Designer Colin O’Donnell created the BitCube structure for Nevada-based arts festival Burning Man, made from 224 standard IBC water containers.
The installation serves as a light display, with each cube acting as a single pixel to create varying patterns, and the inside of the cube is accessible for visitors to explore through a side doorway.
Find out more about BitCube ›
This article is part of Dezeen’s roundup of the biggest and best news and projects in architecture, design, interior design and technology from 2023.