The 2023 version of the Venice Architecture Biennale kicked off final week. Right here, Dezeen editor Tom Ravenscroft selects essentially the most fascinating nationwide pavilions from the occasion.

Curated by Lesley Lokko, the theme of this 12 months’s Venice Structure Biennale was The Laboratory of the Future, and lots of the nationwide pavilions aimed to reply to this by specializing in problems with decolonisation and decarbonisation.

Listed here are 11 of essentially the most fascinating pavilions exhibiting this 12 months:


Images by Schnepp Renou

France pavilion: Ball Theater

Instantly impactful, the French pavilion was designed to “reawaken our wishes for utopia”. It was designed by structure studio Muoto and dominated by a reflective hemispherical stage that can host a sequence of performances over the course of the biennale.

“The concept of the theatre got here as a result of we wished to create a collective house,” Muoto architect Yves Moreau advised Dezeen.

“It was a manner to reply to the theme of the biennale, The Laboratory of the Future,” he continued. “The theatre is a laboratory as a result of you are able to do no matter you need. You’ll be able to placed on a hat, you placed on make-up and also you’re any person else. It was actually a spot for expression and inclusivity.”

Find out more about the French pavilion ›


The Brazilian pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
Photograph by Astrid Fadnes

Brazil pavilion: Terra

Curated by Gabriela de Matos and Paulo Taveres, the Brazilian pavilion was crammed with earth, which gave it a relaxed feeling and an unimaginable aroma. The exhibition aimed to speak how Brazil’s land has formed understandings of heritage and id

“The importance of land and earth is deeply rooted within the conception and narratives of the nationwide formation and illustration of Brazil,” De Matos and Taveres advised Dezeen. “It encompasses the idealised and racialised imaginative and prescient of ‘tropical nature’ that has formed the portrayal of Brazil’s nationwide id.”

The pavilion was officially named the best at the biennale and was awarded a Golden Lion.

Find out more about the Brazil pavilion ›


Nordic Country pavilion
Photog by Laurian Ghinițoiu

Nordic Countries: Girjegumpi: The Sámi Architecture Library

One other pavilion that has a welcoming feeling was the Nordic pavilion, which was crammed with a nomadic library containing 500 books on Indigenous Sámi structure collected by architect Joar Nango.

The library was introduced alongside artworks, movie, supplies and located objects in a show curated by Carlos Mínguez Carrasco and James Taylor-Foster.

“Girjegumpi is an inviting and playful sequence of areas, installations, and particulars – and its dialogue with the pavilion itself is exclusive,” curators Taylor-Foster and Carrasco advised Dezeen.

“There’s an inherent heat to the room that’s constructed from dialog and collaborations which might be a lot bigger than the biennale,” they continued.

Find out more about the Nordic Countries pavilion ›


British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
Photograph by Taran Wilkhu

British pavilion: Dancing Before the Moon

Curated by Jayden Ali, Meneesha Kellay, Joseph Henry and Sumitra Upham, the British pavilion goals to have fun how world diasporic communities design house by that includes a collection of impactful artworks and a movie throughout the formal halls of the pavilion.

The curators wished the pavilion to showcase the “unimaginable range we expertise in Britain each day” whereas turning the main focus away from the standard traditions that outline the constructed surroundings.

“Our ambition is for the pavilion to be an area of potentialities,” stated Kellay.

“An area that shifts the gaze on which behaviours and traditions are prioritised within the constructed surroundings and to have fun how diasporic communities design, organise and occupy house.”

Find out more about the British pavilion ›

Estonian Pavilion

Estonian pavilion: Home Stage

Situated outdoors of the primary exhibition areas, the Estonian contribution was dramatically totally different to nearly all of installations on the present. Set in a rental residence, the set up curated by Aet Ader, Arvi Anderson and Mari Möldre incorporates a live-in actor who can be performing each day rituals to discover the challenges of residence possession.

“In Estonia, round 80 per cent of individuals personal their properties,” Ader advised Dezeen.

“That implies that we, the youthful era, are going through a whole lot of questions. With a really small rental market and an enormous quantity of homeownership, what can we do?”

Find out more about the Estonian pavilion ›


Applied Arts Pavilion: Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Power in West Africa
Photograph courtesy of Victoria & Albert Museum

Applied Arts pavilion: Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Power in West Africa

Created with the goal of “complicating the historical past of tropical modernism”, the pavilion was curated by Christopher Turner, Nana Biamah-Ofosu and Bushra Mohamed.

The exhibition focuses on how the tropical modernist fashion of structure was developed and the way it moved from being a instrument to assist colonial rule in Africa to being adopted and tailored by impartial African nations.

“The exhibition seems on the colonial origins of tropical modernism in British West Africa, and the survival of the fashion within the post-colonial interval when it symbolised the independence and progressiveness of newly impartial international locations like Ghana, in addition to the pan-African ambitions of its chief Kwame Nkrumah,” Turner advised Dezeen.

Find out more about the Applied Arts pavilion ›


Australia pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
Photograph by Tom Roe

Australia pavilion: Unsettling Queenstown

One of the crucial aesthetically interesting pavilions at this 12 months’s biennale, Australia’s contribution aimed to instantly tackle the theme of decolonisation by “questioning the relics of the British Empire”.

The set up aimed to attract consideration to the legacy of colonialism and extraction on a number of settlements within the nation that have been named Queenstown.

“The pavilion explores the idea of decolonisation, on each native and world scales,” the curators advised Dezeen.

“It seems at what architects are doing and might do to actively decolonise locations and areas, whereas reflecting on the historic legacies of colonialism and extractivism. It goals to each evoke feelings and interact the mind.”

Find out more about the Australia pavilion ›


Swiss pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale
Photograph by Martin Lauffer

Swiss pavilion: Neighbours 

The Swiss pavilion responded on to Lokko’s push to scale back the environmental impression of the biennale by not transporting any supplies to create its set up. As a substitute, curator Philip Ursprung eliminated a wall separating the Swiss pavilion from the neighbouring Venezuelan pavilion to display how boundaries will be dissolved.

“The Giardini is an surroundings the place there’s one pavilion subsequent to one another, neighbours,” defined Ursprung.

“On the identical time, this fixation on nationwide participation has narrowed our horizon for a few years – it is a relict of the previous. The pavilions ought to take care of one another, as ought to we as folks.”

Find out more about the Swiss pavilion ›


Materials store in Open for Maintenance, the German Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023

German pavilion: Open for Maintenance

One other pavilion that centered on supplies was the German pavilion, which was packed stuffed with supplies recovered from final 12 months’s artwork biennale, which at the moment are set to search out new makes use of round Venice.

“The important thing phrase is upkeep,” stated architect Petter Krag, who’s considered one of eight members of the curatorial group. “We wished to point out how, for architects like myself, there are different methods of working with supplies. We will develop new methods of reusing supplies for restore work.”

Find out more about the German pavilion ›


Latvian pavilion
Photograph by Kristaps Deics

Latvian pavilion

An architectural grocery store that shows 506 “merchandise” fills the pavilion of Latvia.

Every product is modelled on pavilions from the previous 10 editions of the biennale, with their titles used as comedic labels for what resemble tins of meals and family merchandise. They have been designed by the curators with the help of synthetic intelligence.

The pavilion goals to encourage guests to look at the worth and impression of earlier editions of the biennale.


Ukrainian pavilion
Photograph by Oleksandr Kurmaz

Ukraine pavilion

For the primary time in 10 years, Ukraine is collaborating on this 12 months’s Venice Structure Biennale. Its pavilion is break up over the occasion’s two websites, with each reveals meant to imitate “uncommon buildings that, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have turn into emblematic of emotions of security for Ukrainian society”, the curators stated.

On the Giardini is a maze of grass-covered mounds that nod to the Serpent’s Wall – a community of Tenth-century forts in Kyiv that have been reactivated when Russia first invaded.

In the meantime, on the Arsenale, a lofty room has been transformed right into a small, darkish house that echoes these the place many Ukrainians discover themselves at present whereas taking shelter.

The Venice Architecture Biennale takes place from 20 Might to 26 November 2023. See Dezeen Events Guide for all the newest info you’ll want to know to attend the occasion, in addition to an inventory of different structure and design occasions going down all over the world.

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