In the city of masks - The Venice Biennale – Latest

In the city of masks - The Venice Biennale

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The Venice Biennale has been for over 120 years one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Established in 1895, the Biennale has an attendance today of over 500,000 visitors at the Art Exhibition. The history of the La Biennale di Venezia dates back from 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. In the 1930s new festivals were born: Music, Cinema, and Theatre (the Venice Film Festival in 1932 was the first film festival in history). In 1980 the first International Architecture Exhibition took place, and in 1999 Dance made its debut at La Biennale.

This year we are making our first appearance. Working with Hall McKnight Architects and Big Picture Joinery, we are creating a display in the form of an open timber frame supporting display cabinets at different heights. It will feature raised platforms to also allow people to circulate on to the frame and get closer to the displays.

In the city of masks - The Venice Biennale

We initially studied the properties of both natural timber and engineered timber products to select laminated veneer lumber (LVL) as the most appropriate material and then refined this further by selecting Pollmeier’s Baubuche beech LVL to benefit from its enhanced stiffness and strength properties. Using this material allowed us to keep the dimensions of the structural elements to an absolute minimum.

Developing a practical stability strategy for the installation was critical; with tower elements up to 6m tall the implications of getting this wrong could be severe. Through a process of brainstorming and workshops with Big Picture Joinery and Hall McKnight we developed a system of kentledge using steel shot and steel billets which was fully demountable and transportable but also minimised intrusion into the installation.

The aesthetics and functionality of any timber structure will be affected by the treatment of its connections, therefore we developed a simple traditional connection concept which we then honed by taking advantage of the furniture quality tolerances achieved by Big Picture Joinery.

In the city of masks - The Venice Biennale
In the city of masks - The Venice Biennale

Rory Gardiner, Rory Gardiner

In the city of masks - The Venice Biennale

Rory Gardiner

In the city of masks - The Venice Biennale

Rory Gardiner