'Freespace' Preview



New Year, New SPLASH...dive down into our creative roundup!
The Splash


The SPLASH is back...
The Splash

Jesper Eriksson - Transformative Materials

We sat down with the London based artist to discuss coal, fossil fuels and the nature of materials.


Photographer Kasia Wozniak and set designer Lisa Jahovic present 'Negative Mirror' ...

PRIDE 2018

Here’s our pick of the best Pride campaigns of 2018 ...
The Splash

Photo Diary

Whilst attending Biennale Architettura 2018 Rob Fiehn documented some well known faces with his trusty Olympus OM20 ...

'Freespace' Preview

Architectural correspondent Rob Fiehn picks his highlights to check out this summer at Biennale Architettura 2018 ...

Gavin Coyle - man of the woods

Bobby Jewell sits down with furniture maker Gavin Coyle ...

Christiane Spangsberg - Works In Progress

Imogen Eveson spends an evening in Sydney with Danish artist Christiane Spangsberg, as she sketches out the year ahead following three sell-out shows in 13 months ...

Rowan Williams on Education

Designer Rowan Williams reflects on his experience of his design education ...


It's our last creative news round-up of 2017 .... Enjoy!
The Splash

Adventures in Dalbergia

We paid a visit to the studio of Federico Méndez-Castro, a fine dust maker located on Granville Island, Vancouver ...

mario macilau

The extraordinary, everyday ...


'Tis the season to be jolly (almost!). Before the holiday season sweeps you off your feet take five minutes to have a look our latest round-up of creative news. Enjoy!
The Splash

The Goldloxe Effect

Creating in the shadows ...

The Enduring Allure Of Indigo

Jenny Balfour Paul shares what makes the power and draw of natural indigo so enduring and what we can learn from its rich and magical history ...


An audio visual explosion this week, plus an array of very very interesting objects from Athens ... Enjoy!
The Splash


We chat to the NYC based designer about his practice, wax chandeliers & chairs having conversations ...

Empty spaces to extraordinary experiences

Museum and interior design practice Casson Mann talk about how they create world-class innovative and engaging experiences.


Ease into the start of the weekend with another round-up of creative news ...


That name sounds familiar! Rob Fiehn sits down with architectural studio SODA to find out about their Soho beginnings and how they're searching out interesting new projects.


Take 5 and read our round-up of creative news ...
The Splash

the perfect equilibrium

Rethinking creative strategies to balance profit with consumer wellbeing ...


We kick-off the start of October with another round-up of creative news ...
The Splash


Last week we ventured into the heart of London Design Festival to surround ourselves with the best the city’s creative scene has to offer. Here are some of our top picks…..
The Splash

Steven Learner

The founder of the Collective Design Fair shares his insight into the design industry ...


Another selection of creative news ...
The Splash

Mark Denton Esq.

We sat down with Mark Denton Esq. Ad Man Extraordinaire ...


Dive into another round-up of creative thoughts and news ...
The Splash

The Old Fashioned Way

“You never have to backup a sketch book, and a pencil will never run out of batteries …”


A Tuesday treat! A round-up of creative news from across Europe ...
The Splash

Faces In Focus

Making change through photography, the latest Faces In Focus exhibition opens on August 31st ...


From Game Of Thrones to Prince, and everything in between ...
The Splash

Vivienne Brophy

Vivienne Brophy defines future practitioners as Head of Architecture at University College Dublin ...

Denim & Steel

'Denim & Steel Interactive' create intuitive, strategy-led software and technology. We sat down with founders Todd Sieling and Tylor Sherman in their studio in our SODA x VANCOUVER series ...


We've got some interesting news for you ...
The Splash


Our monthly series showcasing ongoing work from photographers and artists around the globe ... this month we're delighted to introduce Aidan O'neill and his Swaziland story ...


Our latest creative news round-up .....
The Splash

Kauri multimedia: the storytellers

The Award Winning filmmakers tell us their story ...


The best subway ever and other musings on the latest creative news ...
The Splash


'Freespace' Preview

The Biennale Architettura (the Venice Architecture Biennale) is THE event on the international calendar of architectural design and debate. There are other contenders – particularly the recent addition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial – but none compare to Venice’s otherworldly atmosphere that allows visitors to step outside of reality and peer back through the lens of curators and practitioners.

 In 2016, Alejandro Aravena broke the mould of Biennale directors and asked us all to think about the social contribution architecture can make to the world. He steered the participants away from conceptual and iconic imagery and reshaped the debates that took place at the Giardini and beyond. This year, the Irish duo of Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara (of Grafton Architects) will continue this agenda to a certain degree with the theme of FREESPACE. Pavilions and exhibitions will address the ways that buildings can create spaces to occupy, as well as shape places through their absence. Their curated show at the Central Pavilion will contain no fewer than 71 participants, responding to the built heritage of the past through Close Encounter or presenting a series of projects developed through education in The Practice of Teaching. The theme could be viewed as vague and ethereal but the responses from some of the pavilions show that it is anything but the case.

The British Pavillion - 'Island'

 The British Pavilion has taken the directors at their word and is offering a space free of any exhibition at all. The empty rooms of Island – orchestrated by architects Caruso St John and artist Marcus Taylor – will host a range of events, including poetry, performance and film, as well as architectural talks. Up on the roof, the curators will build an elevated piazza that will act as a literal and figurative platform for debate, with a view out over the Lagoon from one of the highest points in Venice. Similarly, the Turkish are planning a space for creative encounters within the Arsenale. Their proposal for an open space will facilitate a series of workshops for students from around the world, who will become the authors of the exhibition over the course of the biennale. 

The Turkish Pavillion - 'Creative Encounter'

The Germans never fail to inspire and in 2016 they went as far as to knock holes in the walls of their permanent pavilion. Their preoccupation with walls continues as they celebrate Circle Day, which marks a special point in time this year whereby the Berlin Wall has been gone as long as it stood. Their exhibition, Unbuilding Walls, will tackle the divisions still prevalent in contemporary global communities – especially given Trump’s plans for the Mexican border and the nationalism brought about by Brexit – despite the fact that Iron Curtain came down over a quarter of a century ago. 

The German Pavillion - 'Unbuilding Walls'

The Australians made headlines when they transformed their pavilion into a pool at the last biennale. This year they return with another metamorphosis as their space will be filled with thousands of temperate grassland species, reminding us about the link between architecture and the natural world it inhabits. 

The German Pavillion - 'Repair'

Surely one of the most exciting developments for this biennale is the arrival of the Vatican, which will be participating at the biennale for the first time. The city-state has decided to take an active role on the architectural stage and has commissioned 10 contemporary chapels that can be deployed around the world where spaces to worship are needed most. The roster of international architects selected include our own Norman Foster, as well as Pritzker Prize-winner Eduardo Souto de Moura and Smiljan Radic, the Chilean architect behind the rock-like pavilion at the Serpentine in 2014. 

The Vatican - 'Chapels'

A frenzy of debate has already started over this year’s special project from the V&A Museum. They have recently saved a section of Robin Hood Gardens Estate, designed by the arch-modernists Peter and Alison Smithson, and will reconstruct it in Venice. This much-maligned council housing was seen as a social failure by some and a monument to architectural ideals by others. Its destruction paves the way for a multimillion pound development which has become emblematic of the housing crisis in London. The inclusion of a slice of the building at the biennale has angered some critics who think the V&A could have done more to save it, rather than memorialise its loss for cultural exploitation.

V&A Museum - 'Robin Hood Gardens'

Needless to say, this year’s biennale will be a lightning rod for dispute and deliberation but the real challenge will be seeing it all across the multiple pavilions and sites across the city. 


Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are the curators of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, that will take place from May 26th to November 25th 2018 in the Giardini and Arsenale venues, and in other locations in Venice.

Further Reading:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Catch up on all the latest news from State Of Design Affairs right in your inbox.

Remind me later
Please dont ask me again

Thank you for signing up, don't forget to check your inbox to confirm your email.