If we look at the world today, it seems filled to the brim with buildings. The praising press that follows the completion of a new skyscraper is invariably followed by questions as to whether all the floors can be filled. The Dutch pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale is tacking this issue by showing the versatility of existing architecture.
The pavilion is entitles Re-set: New Wings For Architecture. Re-set is the brainchild of Dutch textile designer Petra Blaisse. Instead of showing a more traditional exhibition, Blaisse filled the space with curtains attatched to motorized tracks. The curtains divide the open space into smaller parcels. Every five minutes the motors spring into action, moving the curtains and redefining the space. Re-set show how existing spaces can be reprogrammed and invigorated for new uses at a low cost. Blaisse has created a striking textile for the pavilion with wide horizontal bands in the fabric interacting with the verticle pleats of the curtains. Circular cutouts in the curtains further this dialogue and look like a new sun rising on the field of architecture.
Whist Re-set is perhaps too conceptual for the stomachs of most construction companies and designers, it does make some very poignant points on what we want and what we really need. The very building that the Dutch pavilion is held in is vacant for 9 months of the year. Ego-tripping architects are no longer the bringers of good and thoughtful design.