Pestana is the curator of Eco-Visionaries: Art and Architecture after the Anthropocene, an exhibition running until 8 October 2019 examining how designers are responding to the damage humans are doing to the environment. The exhibition is simultaneously on display at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon and galleries in Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
She has curated shows at the V&A Museum, including The Future Starts Here show, and ArkDes – the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design. She is currently curating the Young Curators Lab for the Porto Design Biennale 2019.
Pestana is also a co-founder of London studio The Decorators, which she runs with Suzanne O'Connell, Xavi Llarch Font and Carolina Caicedo.
The studio focuses on designing public spaces and exhibitions with a social dimension. Examples of past projects include turning an abandoned car showroom into a co-working space and building a temporary community events space on top of a multi-story car park.
"Mariana Pestana's passionate approach will be beneficial to the biennial in many ways, and her critical reflections on contemporary issues and inquiries into fictional futures are quite intriguing," said the board of the Istanbul Design Biennial.
"We believe that she will put all her soul into turning this edition into a memorable one, and relish the opportunity to extend the collaborative approach of the Istanbul Design Biennial."
The concept for the fifth Istanbul Design Biennial, which will run from 26 September to 8 November 2020, will be announced shortly.
Last year, under the curation of Belgian design critic and teacher Jan Boelen, the event was titled A School of Schools. Six pop-up schools to explored how informal groups of collaborators could tackle issues within and with design.
One of the projects on display proved how bioplastics made form algae could offer an alternative to petroleum-based plastics. At the exhibition Boelen told Dezeen that designers using recycled plastic is "bullshit".
"It's easy, it relieves our guilt," said Boelen. "We've set up crazy systems to collect it and reuse it and these systems now need to be made viable," he added. Instead, he argued, designers should use alternative – and more sustainable – materials.
Boelen is on the board for the 2020 biennial, along with ArkDes senior curator Carlos Mínguez Carrasco, Selva Gürdoğan, partner at SUPERPOOL – International Multidisciplinary Design Studio, the V&A East curator Catherine Ince and curator and writer Amelie Klein.
Main image is courtesy of the Istanbul Design Biennial.