When did you visit the Biennale, and have you ever been here before?
The Architecture Biennale has been a major source of inspiration to me since my first visit back in 2014, and every time I experience something completely unprecedented. My stay is usually three-four days, where two of them are solely dedicated to the Giardini and Arsenale (using the two-day pass where one is allowed to enter both exhibitions multiple times on consecutive days), and during the rest I just walk around and soak up the venetian atmosphere, sounds and flavours. This year my visit was around mid-July, when tourism and temperatures are admittedly sky high, so Jack is probably doing a much better job than me organising his trip September onwards.
How would you describe the atmosphere of the exhibition spaces?
I would probably describe it more like a playground for architecture fans, full of drawings, models, abstract forms and installations, creating an exciting, yet sometimes a bit overwhelming, vibrant environment. All kinds of media are used, ranging from fantastic visuals and intricate models to different textures, and use of sound and smell.
There is an abundance of things to see and experience inside and outside the exhibition grounds. What is amazing about Venice itself, is that the city changes along with the exhibition, as there are numerous palazzi with free entry in the heart of the city, featuring many more works to see. Therefore the experience is not limited to within the walls of the Giardini and Arsenale, and integrates the unique character of the city with this special biannual event.
What was the biggest stand-out experience for you when visiting?
Usually, I always look forward to visiting the Nordic Pavilion [Norway, Sweden, Finland] and, whilst it was very impressive again this year, I was instead absolutely captivated by Greenland’s installation.
And Greenland’s installation, what about it was the most impactful for you?
Given the title ‘Conditions’, the sound of a cold winter breeze, the changing colours and the stunning installation almost hypnotises the viewer. The combination of mixed media with its breathtaking but simple composition made me realise how in order to convey a message, you really do not need much in terms of materials. Sometimes a bold concept is all you need in order to make an impact.
After seeing the biennale, has your outlook towards architecture/design been influenced?
I can definitely say I am much more aware about groundbreaking projects such as the Dryline in NYC by BIG, but was also exposed to a lot of current student work, like the one featured in the Spanish pavilion. I always leave the Biennale full of ideas but also hope for a better future, seeing how architecture can tackle major global problems. I believe every architecture admirer would be thrilled to experience such an exhibition.
Lastly, is there anything you regretted not getting to see?
Each pavilion organises its own educational or cultural events on specific dates and unfortunately my visit did not coincide with any of those. Another thing I am leaving for next time, is a speakeasy bar within the city I did not have the chance to explore, but this will remain on my checklist until 2020! Hopefully, the secret will still be kept by then...