Saturday, August 28, 2010

VENICE: 12th Biennale of Architecture - today's favorites

Venice: 12th Biennale of Architecture - Giardini:
TODAY'S FAVORITE PICKS - 28th August, 2010
Golden Lion Award – Best Project: Junya Ishigami
Golden Lion Award - lifetime achievement:
Rem koolhaas
Silver Lion Award:
Office: Kersten Geers, David Van Severen + Bas Princen.

Golden Lion Award – Best Pavilion:  Kingdom of Bahrain
The award was accepted by Mai Bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa, Minister of Culture of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The Best Pavilion.   A section of the Golden Lion  award winning Kingdom of Bahrain Pavilion.
Note: more information about the pavilion will appear in the Biennale special blog, in the near future.

The architects and designers of the Kingsom of Bahrain Pavilion.  Some of the team of the architects and designers of the Bahrain Pavilion.  Front row from left to right: Tamadher Al Fahal, Noura Al Sayeh, Fay Al Khalifa, Fatema Al Hammadi, Deema Ashraf, Mona Yateem. Back row: Mohammad Al Qari, Leopold Banchini, Dr. Fuad Al Ansari (curator).

The Best Project. The golden Lion for the best project went to Junya Ishigami for his installation, Architecture as Air: Study for Chateau La Coste /2010.   For more information look below at the Favorite Picks for August 26.

Seen at the Golden Lion Awards.  British archistar architect, Lord Norman Foster.

Seen at the Golden Lion Awards. 
Italian architect, Mario Bellini.

Seen at the Golden Lion Awards.  Austrian architect, Hans Hollein.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

VENICE: 12th Biennale of Architecture - today's favorites

Venice: 12th Biennale of Architecture - Giardini:
TODAY'S FAVORITE PICKS - 27th August, 2010 

Great Britain - Pavilion. The Venetian reference deriving from John Ruskin’s book The Stones of Venice and influence that Frankenstein had in Great Britain on pubs and villas projects. The work turns around the strong relationship between focus, detail and strategy, as the writer did observing Venice. An exchange of collaboration and Venetian contents.

Ruskin’s Architectural Notebooks 1849-50.   When Ruskin arrived in Venice in 1849 he bought a series of pocket notebooks in which to record notes and sketches of more than 200 buildings that he studied.  Exhibited here are the actual notebooks.

N.B. a more extensive post on the Great Britain Pavilion will be featured in the Biennale special blog, in the near future.

Palazzo delle Esposizioni.  Studio Andrea Branzi / Italia: Per una Nuova carta di Atene. 
Today we live in a world that ‘no longer has an exterior’, neither political nor geographical; a globalized world made up of the sum of numerous local and economic and environmental crises.   An ‘infinite’ but not definitive world: without confines but free of all global image.  A world made up of ‘many worlds”; opaque, polluted, where everything merges and expands; to survive it must ‘reform itself daily’ with new laws, new statues, new plans to manage its own ‘allied activities’ that are out of control.   Every operation must be reversible, incomplete, elastic, because all that is ‘definitive’ is dangerous.   An infinite world whose space is taken up by the bodies of ‘seven billion people’, by flows of ‘information’ and by an incalculable number of ‘goods’, that form integrated circles and vibrations that completely fill the urban scene. The only possible reform of the city must be sought in the ‘ interstitial spaces, in the domestic economies, in human relations; inside our minds.’
Above: La Citta Reale – 2010.  Modello Teorico  Della Civilita Merceologica.

Nicoletta and Andrea Branzi.

Palazzo delle Esposizioni.  Andres Jaque Arquitectos / Spain. Fray Foam Home / 2010.  Homes are arenas in which the political currently finds opportunities to happen.  Fray Foam Home is the restitution of the fragmented spaces in which a specific home – with its comforts, supplies and fictions - is constructed.  Sweet Homes are no longer apolitical spaces for familiarity, but distant-bubble-made-foams joined by conflict and fray.   Distribution and uses of water, energy exploitation, rights for access to fiction, engagement with transgendered individual roles are the arenas in which societies get shaped.   What does this home look like?   That is what Fray Foam Home aims to approach.

A detail.  A detail of Fray Foam Home by Andres Jaque Arquitectos.

Andres Jacque.

Serbia Pavilion. Seesaw Play-grow – Non Equilibrium Ground by “Skart” (rejection) (Djoroje Balzamovic, Dragan Protic, Goran Petrovic). See-saws, objects you usually find in children’s play-grounds, become an invitation to play and act, to meet people and open dialogues.  Un-balanced and un-stable grounds become symbols of aggression. In the pavilion you are asked to fill in a questionnaire investigating the possibilities of relationships and which risks you are willing to run dealing with the unknown. 

Serbia Pavilion. The Lunch Boxes, balanced on a see-saw, were offered at the Serbia Pavilion.  They resembled workman’s lunch boxes, inside, a sandwich a paper glass and a fake ice-cream.

Djoroje Balzamovic of "Skart".

Dragan Protic of "Skart".
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

VENICE: 12th Biennale of Architecture - today's favorites

Venice: 12th Biennale of Architecture - Arsenale:
TODAY'S FAVORITE PICKS - 26th August, 2010

Olafur Eliasson/ Denmark: Your Split Second House/2010. A split second is the space between two seconds.  The gap between past present and future: not just now, but the part of now that is a void, seemingly frozen in time.  In it, nothing changes.  What might change is the way we relate to it.  Habitual coordinates such as subject and object, gravity and antigravity are freed up.  This feeling of reconstituting our way of experiencing the world can happen suddenly, in a jolt.  We do not feel the split second, but only realize afterwards that we have lived through it.

Junya.Ishigami + Associates/ Japan.  Architecture as Air: Study for Chateau La Coste /2010.  This is a full-size study of a building planned for somewhere in Europe, measuring approximately 14m x 4 m x 4 m.  The components: delicate specially-designed columns, beams and bracing: indeterminate contours lacking true physical form that dissolve into the transparent space rather than ‘structures’ supporting the building.   The outcome is an assembly of small-scale parts, deviating enormously from the usual scale of architecture, yet forming a structure on an architectural scale.  Even the structure that gives a building its very shape may no longer be clear but rather void-lie.

Junya Ishigami

Transsolar & Tetsuo Kondo Architects/ Germany.  Cloudscapes / 2010.   Clouds are an important elements of our atmosphere, framing outdoor space and filtering sunlight.  They are the visible part of the terrestrial water cycle, carrying water – the source of life – from the oceans to the lands.  Clouds find balance within stable equilibria and naturally sustain themselves, embodying and releasing solar energy.  The ability to touch, feel, and walk through the clouds is a notion drawn from many of our fantasies.   Grazing out of airplane windows, high above the earth, we often daydream of what it might be like to live in this ethereal world of fluffy vapor.  Transsolar and Tetsuo Kondo Architects create Cloudscapes, a place to experience a real cloud from below, within, and above floating in the center of the Arsenale.  The path winds through the cloud.  The structure consists of a 4.3 meter high ramp that allows visitors to sit above the cloud.  Simply, the structure leans on the existing Arsenale columns.  
The cloud is based on the physical phenomenon of saturated air, condensation droplets floating in the space and condensation seeds.  The atmosphere above and below the cloud have different qualities of light, temperature, and humidity.

Janet Cardiff / Canada. The Forty Part Motet / 2001.  The audio work is based on the Renaissance choral music Spem in alium nunquam habui by Thomas Tallis (1514-1585). Forty separately recorded voices are played back through forty speakers strategically placed throughout the space.  The speakers are placed around the room in an oval so that the listener is able to really feel the sculptural construction of the piece by Tallis.   You can hear the sound move from one choir member to another, jumping back and forth, echoing each other and then experience the overwhelming feeling as the sound waves hit you when all of the singers are singing.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Venice: The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore – The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition.  From the vaporetto stop to the exhibition, The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi, from 28th August to 21st November 2010, arrows mark the way on the fondamenta. The exhibition, conceived by architect, Michele De Lucchi, illustrates the great Venetian artist’s multifaceted interests and style, the exhibition itinerary is divided into various sections on the many professions that Giambattista Piranesi exercised in the course of his career: etcher, archaeologist, engineer, antiquarian, architect and designer. 


 The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition
. An etching from the Carceri d’Invenzione (circa 1761) series.  Published in two different editions the Carceri  or prisons are a masterpiece of 18th-century art.  In this work Piranesi gives free reign to his visionary imagination.  Indeed Romantic writers like Coleridge and De Quincey compared the “Prisons” to hallucinatory visions experienced in the delirium of a fever.


Seen at the preview of The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition.
Architect, Michele De Lucchi, who conceived and designed the exhibition.  The exhibition aims to be original, pioneering and thought-provoking, exactly in the spirit of Piranesi himself.  In this sense De Lucchi’s exhibition designs plays a vital role.   He has created a flexible and interactive itinerary:  the framed prints are arranged on the walls of the rooms and on lecterns set on tables made of fine wood personally designed by the famous architect.

Seen at the preview of The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition. Factum Arte’s Adam Lowe explains how they made the series of specially made contemporary creations, which render Piranesi’s language, style and natural tendencies to cross over antique and modern formal repertories. The creations include reproduction of objects designed by Piranesi but never actually made, such as a vase, candelabrum, teapot, a chair, two tripods, an altar and a stunning fireplace.

The reproductuion vase. Factum Arte’s reproduction of the ancient vase in marble, made from the print below.

The original print. The original print from which the above vase from reproduced.

Seen at the preview of The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition.  At the press conference, the secretary general of the Giorgio Cini Foundation,  Pasquale Gagliardi, which owns most of the Piranesi prints, conducts the press confernce on his right, architect Michele De Lucchi and on his left,  Factum Arte’s Adam Lowe.

The Coffee Pot. The Nickel plated coffee pot was made by Factum Arte from an etching by Giambattista Piranesi.  An inspection of the language of design in the coffee pot reveals a close study of how natural forms evolve.  The depiction of the tortoise is open to the accusations of illustrations that he leveled against the Greeks.  The movement in the body of the pot form a natural shell to a stylized ridging and is closely based on the growth patterns of the shell.  The subtle movements from this language to a modern treatment in the handle almost prefigures Art Deco design and roots of modernism.

Seen at the preview of The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition. Giambattista Piranesi historian, Professor John Wilton-Ely.

Seen at the preview of The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition.   The director of the Institute of History of Art, Giuseppe Pavanello.

Seen at the preview of The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition. Architectural photographer, Gabriele Basilico whose thrity-two photographs of views of Rome are a personal homage to the great artist.

The Photographs.  The thirty-two photographs by Gabriele Basilico of views of Rome are shown beside the identical thirty-two etchings by Giambattista Piranesi.
Above: the Teatro di Marcello in Rome.

Seen at the preview of The Arts of Giambattista Piranesi exhibition.  Photographer, Marina Ballo Charmet who is showing her work Il Parco in the Italian Pavilion at the 12th International Biennale di Architettura.

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Seen in Venice.  Seen on the vaporetto to San Giorgio, photographer, Manfredi Bellati chats  to pop artist, Jo Tilson and his wife, Jos.
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VENICE: 12th Biennale of Architecture

\Ca Giustinian – headquarters of La Biennale. The recently restored Sala delle Colonne at Ca Gustinian, headquarters of The Biennale, was inaugurated this morning.  The important restoration of the sala, which dates back to the 1930’s and features spatial and architectural characteristics, makes it a unique venue that will serve as a flexible space for lectures, meetings, workshops and exhibitions and in particular for live performances.

Seen at the opening of Sala delle Colonne. The president of The Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta and Maja Hoffmann, president of the Luma Foundation.

The superstar architect. Frank Gehry, was swamped by photographers when he came out to present his project for the Luma Foundation.

The Gehry project for Luma Foundation.  The Sala delle Colonne is hosting a special event, of The Biennale, Luma/parc des Ateliers, by Frank O. Gehry and Gehry Partners LLP, an architectural project for a new cultural model located in the centre of Arles, France.

The Director.
  The director of the 12th International Biennale of Architecture Exhibition,  the Japanese architect, Kazuyo Sejima.  The first woman to direct the Architecture sector of The Biennale, Sejima has recently been awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize 2010 (together with Ryue Nishizawa).

Seen at the opening of Sala delle Colonne. The lighting designer, Mario Nani.

Seen at the opening of Sala delle Colonne.  The co-curators of the American Pavilion of The Venice Architectural Biennale, 2008, Aaron Levy and William Menking.

The Book.  The book written by Aaron Levy and William Menking, Architecture on display: on the History of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, tells the story, in a series of interviews, about The Architectural Biennale with each of the living directors of the Venice Biennale for Architecture, these include among others, Aaron Betsky, Vittorio Gregotti, Paolo Portoghesi, Francesco Dal Co, Kurt Foster and Kazuyo Sejima.  The book will be launched in Venice on Friday.

Seen at the opening of Sala delle Colonne.  The Venice Foundation’s president, Franca Coin uses, in the heat, the foundation's new letter as a fan.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cison di Valmarino: Artigianato Vivo - The Annual Craftsfair

photograph copyright manfredi bellati
Cison di Valmarino – XXX Artigianato Vivo. Below the castle that used to belong to the Count Brandolini d’Adda family and now is the gaudy hotel, Castelbrando in the charming village of Cison di Valmarino the craftsfair, Artigianato Vivo was held. Over two hundred craftsmen from all over Italy, selling items such as; decorated ceramics, leather, mosaic, glass work, jewelry, wool, felt and food items, took over every hamlet, nook and cranny of the picturesque village in the foothills near Treviso for the annual fair, now in its thirtieth edition. The event this year attracted over 350,000 visitors over the two-week period. Though all artisans are not worthy of mention, below are just three of the many that stood out.

Cuscini Naturali.   Cuscini Naturali or natural pillows are made by the attractive, Vanna Bianchin who comes from the Friuli region, north of Venice. She makes organic pillows stuffed with spelt, millet and lavender, using natural materials in pretty stripes or plain linens that tie with ribbons or a zip.
Contact: Cuscini Naturali +39 328 4423992

The pillows. 
  The organic pillows come in all shapes and sizes and are covered with pretty natural fiber cottons and linens.  Vanna uses three stuffings: the spelt ones have exceptional health effects that are especially recommended for tension in the throat/neck area, backache and spinal problems, circulatory disturbances, migraines, sleeplessness, etc. The Millet ones conform to the sleeper’s head and neck, offering support which may reduce or eliminate tension, stress and pain. And, the lavender ones are calming for the central nervous system and are helpful for sleeplessness, migraine and agitation.

The stuffing.    A bowl of  the organic spelt husk stuffing was on show.

Gres alle Tre Palme. Potter, Cecilia Fontana and her maestro potter husband, Michael Schwarz are the duo behind Gres alle Tre Palme pottery. Cecilia started making pots just by chance encouraged by her husband, a former pupil of the great potters, Takeshi Yasuda and David Leach. And, having a flare for pottery Cecilia learnt quickly the art, which today, she also, as hobby, uses to create artistic pieces. “The ability of the potter melts together with the crafts of nature, earth and fire.” she states.

The stoneware. 
  I was attracted to the Gres alle Tre Palme stall because the pottery reminded me of my youth in England and especially of Devon and Cornwall.  I love the way the glaze drips from the rim and the different colors melt together. These rustic handsome sturdy jugs have a wide base and can be used for water or milk or would even look pretty with a big bunch of field flowers in them. The company’s scope is to create functional and creative objects for the home.  Their pieces can be ordered from Maga Maison or directly from Gres alle Tre palme.

Babelkeramik.   Heiner Bauer of Babelkeramik comes all the way from Dresden and is a staple at the Artigianato Vivo fair since 2001.  He has his following that go to buy his mostly blue and white ceramics, which often have little insects “hidden” inside the cups. Last year he won first prize at the fair for one of his bowls called "Huihuihui”. The work of Heiner Bauer is connected with the tradition of Walburga Külz and her student Lee Babel and therefore in the succession to the Bauhaus ceramist Otto Lindig.

The Stoneware bowls. Heiner Bauer creates the stoneware bowls on the potter’s wheel. They are painted and then the drawings are traced once more with a potter’s needle. The bowls are fired twice, first they are biscuit fired at 900 degrees centigrade and then they are glaze fired at 1300 degrees. The result of this is extremely hard stoneware, which is almost like porcelain because it is very thin.

 The insects. A surprise can often be found at the bottom of a cup or bowl in the form of an insect.

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