Venice Biennale: National Pavilions 1

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September 1, 2010

The concept of each country showing their best colors at the Venice Biennale began from 1895, in the same spirit of nationalism (or chauvinism) of the World's Fair. This year, proceeding straight ahead from the Giardini entrance, we take you on part one of a grand tour through the best of the national pavilions.

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  I was greeted by the conspicuous yellow signage of the Danish pavilion, and recognized the iconic language of the Danish Architecture Center. Taking its success as the bearer of the World's Most Livable City, Denmark positions Copenhagen's master planning and architectural masterpieces as the potential answer for many of the world's urban questions.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    I was greeted by the conspicuous yellow signage of the Danish pavilion, and recognized the iconic language of the Danish Architecture Center. Taking its success as the bearer of the World's Most Livable City, Denmark positions Copenhagen's master planning and architectural masterpieces as the potential answer for many of the world's urban questions.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The product of collaborations among Ryue Nishizawa, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Koh Kitayama, and many others, the Japanese pavilion focused on the idea of Tokyo's metabolism: its scattered volumes, and its void volumes. Moriyama House is an example of scattered volumes, which can have multifunctional uses and becomes a landscape in itself.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The product of collaborations among Ryue Nishizawa, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Koh Kitayama, and many others, the Japanese pavilion focused on the idea of Tokyo's metabolism: its scattered volumes, and its void volumes. Moriyama House is an example of scattered volumes, which can have multifunctional uses and becomes a landscape in itself.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Atelier Bow-Wow's red house is known as a 'fourth-generation house,' which can be explored from the interior of the pavilion as well as by poking one's head up through underneath the pavilion.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Atelier Bow-Wow's red house is known as a 'fourth-generation house,' which can be explored from the interior of the pavilion as well as by poking one's head up through underneath the pavilion.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The British christened their pavilion 'Villa Frankenstein,' in reference to the work of John Ruskin, British Victorian social critic and Venetian architecture historian. This "Stadium of Close Looking"  is, in fact, a 1/10 scale model of a section of the 2012 London Olympic Stadium.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The British christened their pavilion 'Villa Frankenstein,' in reference to the work of John Ruskin, British Victorian social critic and Venetian architecture historian. This "Stadium of Close Looking"  is, in fact, a 1/10 scale model of a section of the 2012 London Olympic Stadium.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  This centerpiece is also being repurposed as a drawing studio. Built by carpenters Spazio Legno of Venice, it has become a site for lectures, discussions, and drawing classes for both visitors and Venetian school children. Here, we see the underside of the 'stadium', showcasing the structural wooden trusses cut by CNC.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    This centerpiece is also being repurposed as a drawing studio. Built by carpenters Spazio Legno of Venice, it has become a site for lectures, discussions, and drawing classes for both visitors and Venetian school children. Here, we see the underside of the 'stadium', showcasing the structural wooden trusses cut by CNC.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Designed by architect Carlo Scarpa, whose works are ubiquitous in the Veneto region of Italy, the Venezuelan pavilion was realized in 1956 with Scarpa's signature poetry of rough concrete and marble slabs. Sadly, it was home to no exhibition during this Biennale.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Designed by architect Carlo Scarpa, whose works are ubiquitous in the Veneto region of Italy, the Venezuelan pavilion was realized in 1956 with Scarpa's signature poetry of rough concrete and marble slabs. Sadly, it was home to no exhibition during this Biennale.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The Korean pavilion, 'RE.PLACE.ING: Documentary of Changing Metropolis Seoul,' boasts a wooden hanok, the traditional Korean home that is now at risk of removal all over the country. The flowing inner spaces and the courtyard of the hanok open to each other and provide an anchoring precedence for the current residential apartments that are replacing and transforming Seoul's urban environment.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The Korean pavilion, 'RE.PLACE.ING: Documentary of Changing Metropolis Seoul,' boasts a wooden hanok, the traditional Korean home that is now at risk of removal all over the country. The flowing inner spaces and the courtyard of the hanok open to each other and provide an anchoring precedence for the current residential apartments that are replacing and transforming Seoul's urban environment.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Canada's 'Hylozoic Ground' is a sensor-covered installation that almost mimicks a robot forest. It is a geotextile suspended from the ceiling, with cilia-like feathers and hairs that rustle and breathe eerily around anyone who dares to meander through.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Canada's 'Hylozoic Ground' is a sensor-covered installation that almost mimicks a robot forest. It is a geotextile suspended from the ceiling, with cilia-like feathers and hairs that rustle and breathe eerily around anyone who dares to meander through.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  "And what is hylozoism?" I asked artist Philipp Beesley. "It is the ancient belief that all matter has life."  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    "And what is hylozoism?" I asked artist Philipp Beesley. "It is the ancient belief that all matter has life."

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Titled 'Now and When,' the Australian pavilion was a black and fluorescent provocation into the future of the country's cities. Juxtaposing the 'Now' metropolises (Melbourne, Sydney) with those of 'When' (the mining holes of the Western outback), it showcases 17 speculative approaches through 3D imaging and simulations. I felt the overall lettering and branding concept was quite arresting and cohesive— bright orange cubes wedged amongst the shrubbery were clues that led the way to the entry foyer.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Titled 'Now and When,' the Australian pavilion was a black and fluorescent provocation into the future of the country's cities. Juxtaposing the 'Now' metropolises (Melbourne, Sydney) with those of 'When' (the mining holes of the Western outback), it showcases 17 speculative approaches through 3D imaging and simulations. I felt the overall lettering and branding concept was quite arresting and cohesive— bright orange cubes wedged amongst the shrubbery were clues that led the way to the entry foyer.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The Nordic pavilion was a joint effort between Sweden, Finland, and Norway. Its most popular feature was perhaps the beanbag sculpture on the ground, a perfect way to rest and watch the passers-by or the busy architects sitting on the other side...  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The Nordic pavilion was a joint effort between Sweden, Finland, and Norway. Its most popular feature was perhaps the beanbag sculpture on the ground, a perfect way to rest and watch the passers-by or the busy architects sitting on the other side...

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Another aspect of this highly participatory pavilion was the 'At Work With' project—an experiment that invited 12 different Scandinavian design firms to come and set up shop for a week for the duration of the Biennale, so that visitors can come and observe the workings of a studio. They even broadcast their schedule on the whiteboard and allow one to scrawl suggestions on those inviting yellow post-its.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Another aspect of this highly participatory pavilion was the 'At Work With' project—an experiment that invited 12 different Scandinavian design firms to come and set up shop for a week for the duration of the Biennale, so that visitors can come and observe the workings of a studio. They even broadcast their schedule on the whiteboard and allow one to scrawl suggestions on those inviting yellow post-its.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The entrance of the American pavilion was trumpeted by the installation of MOS's Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample -- a silver canopy of 38 helium balloons, made of mylar and partially deflated. Bent steel underneath also serve as benches for this 'portable public space.'  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The entrance of the American pavilion was trumpeted by the installation of MOS's Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample -- a silver canopy of 38 helium balloons, made of mylar and partially deflated. Bent steel underneath also serve as benches for this 'portable public space.'

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The most innovative use of ordinary materials was surely the Hungarian pavilion, which took yellow school pencils and dangled them from white elastic ropes from the ceiling, creating a breathtaking and interactive installation.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The most innovative use of ordinary materials was surely the Hungarian pavilion, which took yellow school pencils and dangled them from white elastic ropes from the ceiling, creating a breathtaking and interactive installation.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Designed by Marcel Ferencz and Andor Wesselenyi-Garay, Hungary's 'BorderLINE Architecture' was a foray into studying the 'line' as opposed to the 'house' as the basic unit of architecture. Here, countless pencils were gathered from schoolchildren all over Hungary to create the piece 'People Meet in Drawing.'  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Designed by Marcel Ferencz and Andor Wesselenyi-Garay, Hungary's 'BorderLINE Architecture' was a foray into studying the 'line' as opposed to the 'house' as the basic unit of architecture. Here, countless pencils were gathered from schoolchildren all over Hungary to create the piece 'People Meet in Drawing.'

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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