Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum was awarded the London Design Biennale 2018 Emotional States Medal for the most inspiring interpretation of the 2018 theme, supported by Panasonic. This medal has been selected by the Biennale’s International Jury, a group of 14 world-leading design experts and influencers.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from London Design Biennale, and particularly want to thank R. Luke DuBois, Zach Lieberman and Matter Architecture Practice for their provocative design response to the social challenges presented by facial-detection technology,” said Cooper Hewitt Director Caroline Baumann. “A global platform for design and design thinking, Cooper Hewitt is proud to represent the United States and the American design community, celebrating the importance of good design with the Biennale’s international audiences.”

Representing the United States at the Biennale, Cooper Hewitt presents “Face Values,” an immersive installation that explores the pervasive but often hidden role of facial-detection technology in contemporary society. The exhibition is curated by Ellen Lupton, senior curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, and features original work by designers R. Luke DuBois and Zachary Lieberman, displayed within a digital environment designed by Matter Architecture Practice.

Informed by the Biennale’s theme of “Emotional States,” “Face Values” investigates how the human face has been transformed into a living data source that governments and businesses use to track, measure and monetize emotions. Using their own faces to control cameras and software, viewers will experience the power and limitations of emotion-recognition technologies. Playful and provocative interactions with the work allow viewers to gain further awareness of how these tools are incorporated into countless products and systems, in ways that the public may not fully realize. “Face Values” speaks to the growing fascination around facial-recognition technology, particularly in the U.S. where major companies continue to experiment and push boundaries with this controversial software.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s installation at the London Design Biennale is made possible by the Secretary/Under Secretaries of the Smithsonian and the Smithsonian National Board.


DuBois explores temporal, verbal and visual structures through music, art and technology. He is the director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, where he and his students explore the implications of new technologies for individuals and society. His work expands the limits of portraiture in the digital age by linking human identity to data and social networks.

Lieberman uses technology to augment the body’s ability to communicate. He is the creator of openFrameworks, a tool for creative coding, and he is founder of the School for Poetic Computation in Brooklyn. EyeWriter, an eye-tracking interface designed for people with paralysis, won Design of the Year (Interactive) 2010 from the London Design Museum. Lieberman’s work actively explores the human face as a controller and interface for software.

Matter Architecture Practice is co-directed by Sandra Wheeler and Alfred Zollinger. Matter has received top honors for its work in exhibition design, which seeks to tell complex stories about data and society through engaging, physically rich environments. Matter was a finalist of the PS1/MoMA Young Architects Program and the winner of AIA New Practices New York, a juried selection recognizing up-and-coming, innovative firms in the city.


Cooper Hewitt is America’s design museum. Inclusive, innovative and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, education programs, master’s program, publications and online resources inspire, educate, and empower people through design. An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum and research complex—Cooper Hewitt is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the historic, landmark Carnegie Mansion. Steward of one of the world’s most diverse and comprehensive design collections—over 210,000 objects that range from an ancient Egyptian faience cup dating to about 1100 BC to contemporary 3-D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world. Visit Cooper Hewitt’s website at and follow the museum on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


London Design Biennale 2018 is devoted to the theme “Emotional States.” Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, including the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and River Terrace, it will explore big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities and social equality. Visitors will enjoy engaging and interactive installations, innovations and proposed design solutions from 40 countries, cities and territories—all in an immersive, inspiring and entertaining tour of the world.

Sir John Sorrell CBE is president, and Ben Evans is executive director of the London Design Biennale 2018.

London Design Biennale’s International Advisory Committee and Jury 2018 are Paola Antonelli, Adelia Borges, Tristram Hunt, Hadeel Ibrahim, Mitra Khoubrou, James Lingwood MBE, Ana Elena Mallet, Professor Jeremy Myerson, Kayoko Ota, Jonathan Reekie CBE, Lord Richard Rogers of Riverside CH, Sir John Sorrell CBE, Ben Evans and Christopher Turner.


A unique part of the London cultural scene, Somerset House is a historic building where surprising and original work comes to life. From its 18th-century origins, Somerset House has been a center for debate and discussion—an intellectual powerhouse for the nation. Somerset House is today a key cultural destination in London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum—an environment that is relaxed, welcoming and inspirational to visit while providing a stimulating workplace for the cultural and creative industries.

Since its opening in 2000, Somerset House has built up a distinctive outdoor public program including Skate, concerts, an open-air film season and a diverse range of temporary exhibitions through-out the site focusing on contemporary culture, with an extensive learning program attached. In October 2016, Somerset House launched Somerset House Studios, a new experimental workspace connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. The Studios provide a platform for new creative projects and collaboration, promoting work that pushes bold ideas, engages with urgent issues and pioneers new technologies. Somerset House is also one of the biggest community of creative organizations in London including The Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art, King’s College London Cultural Institute and more than 100 other creative businesses. It currently attracts approximately 3.2 million visitors every year.