Sunday, 14 September 2014

venice biennale: architectural elements in space



These are some of the spaces that captured my eye around the Biennale itself. After all, the architecture makes the experience. Enjoy!

Monday, 8 September 2014

venice biennale: exhibited

Buongiorno, tutti!

This summer I made my first trip to the mother of all architecture shows, the Venice Biennale. The enormous exhibition takes place, this year, for its longest ever running period - right through the summer until late November. Located at the main venues of the Giardini Pubblici and the Arsenale, a grand public garden and a naval base respectively, the bulk of it demands a good two days to take all in. The concept this year is Fundamentals. Join me in my journey around the show... Andiamo!
Giardini Pubblici
Absorbing Modernity is the theme of the brief given this year, to each of the 66 national pavilions involved in the Biennale. Tackled from a variety of perspectives, it was interesting to discover the cultural views addressed in each exhibit, covering the past 100 years.

My impression at the end of the first day, after visiting the national pavilions permanently located at the Giardini Pubblici, left me mostly overwhelmed by the sheer scale of it all. With so much to explore and learn, I would advise prioritising your visit so as not to miss what you came for.

My favourite pavilions, however, stood out largely for their instant appeal in aesthetic or concept. 
The Danish pavilion includes spaces for singling out and heightening senses. The Spanish Interior invites visitors into the modern spaces of selected projects: case studies include drawings, photographs and perspectival projections. The Belgian, frames spaces using geometry, achieving this through its manner of composition, and lack of chromatic distraction. The Hungarian pavilion gets a mention for its interactive installation, which makes reference to community contribution. 

Located at the base of the national pavilions, The Central Pavilion has its own brief to fulfil. Hosting Elements of Architecture, it is a display of gathered research which examines and celebrates the individual elements of the built environment. There is a nifty film by Davide Rapp, which demonstrates the idea neatly. Here is snippet of it, titled Elements.

This year's curator, Rem Koolhaas also talks a little bit about the concept below.

Rem Koolhaas' Elements of Architecture exhibition aims to "modernise architectural thinking" from Dezeen on Vimeo.

Arsenale
Day Two at the Arsenale, was more interesting. Perhaps it was the historic setting, the romance of the ambient light or that the exhibition felt more wholesome, united under one roof. Focussing on Italy itself, there is an abundant number of films playing, installations to examine and snippets of knowledge to digest. Each space floats ahead of the next and as you progress to the back, you are met with the Italian sunshine again. 

Following on, lunch, and then several more pavilions to peek at. 

If two days are not enough for you, there are more Biennale pop-ups and pavilions dotted around Venice. Go on an architectural treasure-hunt and get to know the city better at the same time.

Walking around, I couldn't help but notice the buildings surrounding the exhibition spaces. To me, this was as interesting as the displays and installations themselves. 

Photos to come in the following post... Till then X

Saturday, 6 September 2014

digital revolution

Currently exhibiting at the Barbican Centre, Digital Revolution is a visual and interactive display of the history of the developments of technology spanning the last forty-five years, as well as the now of how tech is being integrated into the fabric of our lives.
The exhibition follows the role of technology and its impact across creative disciplines, allowing users to play and interact with artwork, installations and old-fashioned computer games.

It most notably demonstrates that smart technology is no longer limited to machines; virtual experiences now take much more physical dimensions. Systems functioning in our architecture, music experiences, film and fashion, are just the beginning of advancements in these fields.

Whilst the rise of technology from its initial forms has been revolutionary, the rate at which it is developing has become rather steady and predictable. Perhaps it is the designer in me, but very little is surprising anymore. Or it might simply be that what was life-changing forty years ago is merely expected by our express-mode generation?

All in all, Digital Revolution is worth a visit to catch up with design trends and for a thorough and interesting history lesson. Just don't expect to feel like a part of a revolution that isn't.

A version of this article is included in the first issue of OSA, a student-run magazine for the Oxford Brookes School of Architecture.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

smells of nostalgia

marinid tombs

If you walk up to the top of the hill supporting the Marinid Tombs, you will find yourself at one of my favourite spots in Fes. Faced with some cracking views, visit as the sun sets. Don't stay too late though; the area attracts some characters come nightfall.
We met two boys on our way up, who told us to "broaden our minds," when we refused their invitation for a drink. As ridiculous as this was, it just happens all too often to girls the world over. Boys who do this aren't fooling anyone; there is no respect left for people who use insults in response to rejection.

We managed to get to the top of the hill without further harassment, and walked into the remains of a rather enormous tomb left by the Marinids, a structure maybe two or three stories high and pretty spacious. Whilst I was stood inside imagining what kind of superstar this tomb commemorated, Lindz and I minding our own business really, or you know, the Marinids' business, when we sensed that we were being watched.

As it turned out, an older teenage boy was inside the tomb too, halfway up the wall, making his presence known. A bit confused, but impressed by his Spiderman skills, we let him do his thing. He's the one in the top picture, on top of the world...