Behind the Scenes of the Design Biennale

We reveal the magic behind our extraordinary exhibition.


Rosie casting a tile of a womans hand

Design Biennale

From June 1st to June 25th, the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA) takes up residency at London’s Design Biennale with our groundbreaking exhibition, ‘Flip the Script.’ Using ‘Ageing Intelligence,’ the unique installation from NICA and Voice® is sparking conversations about how we need to innovate together. Moving us towards a future of not just extended lifespans, but lives filled with purpose, happiness, and fulfillment. It’s time to shatter the antiquated notions of ageing and ensure we are all equipped for longevity.

Woman holding her hand in a mold
At the heart of this extraordinary display lies an interactive exhibition that seamlessly weaves together the captivating stories and hand casts of over 150 individuals spanning all ages from 2 to 90. NICA’s ingenious approach celebrates the rich diversity of human experiences and proudly takes centre stage at the London Design Biennale.

Preparing the tiles by rubbing on vaseline

The Road to Success.

But how did we achieve this? By extending our invitation to both our vibrant Voice® community and the general public, NICA encouraged participation at the Catalyst Building and Grainger Market, a bustling marketplace nestled in the heart of Newcastle. The casting process itself proved to be an intriguing and enjoyable adventure for all taking part. For most, it was their first encounter with skin alginate outside the confines of a dentist’s office. Curiosity was most definitely stirred as they discovered the mystery substance that sculpted their hands.

Rosie mixing the skin alginate

The Final Stages.

Given the rapid drying nature of alginate, the mixture had to be prepared on the spot, leaving all who took part in eager anticipation. Poured into square molds, individuals were then instructed to pose their hands in one of three unique positions for approximately 5 minutes. With delicate precision, their hands were gently released from the molds and set aside to dry. The final touch involved using Jesmonite to fashion a remarkable 3D replica of each hand. Once dried, excess alginate was meticulously washed away, leaving behind a stunning tile infused with each person’s individuality and their compelling narrative, forming a powerful collective installation.

Already sparking conversations with audiences of all ages and nationalities at Somerset House, this extraordinary exhibition is preparing to grow and travel and capture the stories, voice, and hands of people across the globe.

But before we take #flipthescript on the road we hope you can join us at the London Design Biennale and experience #flipthescript and join us in our mission for the world to become longevity ready.

Venue: Somerset House Date: 1-25 June 2023 

For more information, visit: 

London Design Biennale
NICA’s official website