Charles Walker and Kathy Waghorn (assistant curator)
Palazzo Bollani, Castello 3647
In the historical Palazzo Bollani, Future Islands will bring an architectural story about New Zealand, but with a conceptual link to the collection of islands of Venice.
The exhibition draws inspiration from Italo Calvino’s book ‘Invisible Cities’, which told many stories about one subject, i.e. the city of Venice. The architecture is presented as a grouping of metaphorical islands, an imagined archipelago encompassing a variety of approaches and responses to the fluid and uncertain conditions of contemporary practice. Many of the 50 projects have been recently realised. Others are speculative and they may never be built, but they express architecture’s optimism and its responsibility to explore new directions and develop new ways to help people live together in changing social and natural environments.
The pavilion is designed with a wide range of exhibition visitors in mind. It will exhibit 18 ‘islands’, made from composite materials that are used in Americas Cup racing yachts. These islands could be read as landforms or clouds, boats or plinths. Placed on or around the islands are 120 architectural models, while data projections play on the islands.
“Like Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Future Islands is serious, but it also has some levity. We didn’t want to be too didactic. We want our exhibition to be atmospheric and intriguing and, although this might not be cool to admit, we want it to be beautiful. We hope the exhibition encourages encounters, not just of visitors with the islands, but also with each other.”
Charles Walker, curator
More information on the project is available on the website of the New Zealand pavilion.
Review by The Venice Insider
The exhibition is a real treat for the eye and combines futuristic, floating islands in the historic setting of a Venetian palazzo. The lack of contrast between the islands and the walls creates a fairy-tale atmosphere. This is reinforced by the projection of clouds and the singing of the Maori in the background. I had seen many beautiful pictures before my visit, that it sounded almost too good to be true. The team of Charles Walker has succeeded in presenting architectural projects, both realized and conceptual, in a very original way. There are so many details on the islands that you cannot stop looking. The only downside is the lack of visible information about the projects, for which you need to consult the catalogue. New Zealand is one of my 3 favorite pavilions, so I can highly recommend you to make your way through Castello and to visit it!
Katia – The Venice Insider
Click here to return to the overview of the other pavilions at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 or read my post What to expect from the 2016 Architecture Biennale.
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