August 28, 2012

A Sneak Peek of the Venice Biennale U.S. Pavilion

For the U.S. Pavilion at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, the Institute for Urban Design targeted architects, designers, planners, and artists aiming to bring positive change to their localities. From over 450 submissions, commissioner-curator Cathy Lang Ho culled the 124 urban interventions deemed most effective for “Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good,” on view to the public in Venice from August 29 to November 25.

The pavilion’s theme stems from a compelling trend identified by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: individuals are initiating urban projects that improve their neighborhoods and cities by way of amenities, comfort, functionality, inclusiveness, safety, and sustainability. The results include parks, urban farms, bike lines, pop-up markets, architectural installations, and more.

This year is the first that the U.S. Pavilion will feature an installation instead of a more conventional exhibition of projects. Brooklyn-based studio Freecell provides a banner system identifying the 124 projects’ tactics for improvement, while the pavilions graphics are by M-A-D. A video installation by filmmaker Kelly Loudenberg zooms in on select participants as they speak about the future of the American city.

Look out for an “outdoor living room” by Brooklyn-based Interboro that will host a lively series of events over the biennale’s next three months, while Rockwell Group‘s “Imagination Playground” will be installed as part of “A Better World,” a collateral Biennale event in the Serra dei Giardini, where it will become a permanent part of that garden.

The overall theme of the Biennale, conceived by director David Chipperfield, is “Common Ground.” Accordingly, in the two gallery spaces of the central pavilion, watch for Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun, a solar-powered lamp that targets the 1.6 billion people worldwide who live off the electrical grid. And New York-based Louise Braverman will present the 3D installation “Kigutu in Formation” as part of the Traces of Centuries and Future Steps event at Palazzo Bembo.

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