Collection by Linda Taalman

Refinishing Alvar Aalto's Finnish Pavilion


Alvar Aalto’s Finnish Pavilion for the Venice Biennale, originally designed as a temporary demountable structure, was built in 1956 and stayed solidly in a place for nearly 56 years until last year when a tree fell on the structure. This year, the structure was entirely dismantled, lovingly restored, and reassembled, by Gianni Talamini—a project that has awakened fresh attention to Aalto’s famed structure.

Architect Gianni Talamini (in blue) with curator Juulia Kauste and exhibition designer Esa Vesmanen stand in front of...
Originally prefabricated in Finland and shipped for assembly to the Giardini—the gardens where the Biennale takes...
Here's the Giardini tree that fell on top of the pavilion in 2011. Photo by Ross Hamilton.
The structure was stripped down to the original wood surface, including the diagonal paneling that has previously...
All of the panels that make up the enclosure were removed and painstakingly repaired.
The exterior wall panels were carefully separated from the primary structure. Photo by Gianni Talamini.
Talamini paid attention to the subtlest details.
A view of the finished ceiling. Photo by Gianni Talamini.
The floor of the building was polished to reveal the natural aggregate of the concrete.
This view of ceiling reveals the varying wood textures. Photo by Gianni Talamini.
The finished effect is like being inside of an instrument, where light is allowed to play off of the varying ages of...
The ten-week-long renovation wrapped up just before the Biennale’s opening on August 29. Aalto’s hand is still very...