The Nordic Pavilion

exhibition design / art / architecture

The Collectors’ exhibition at the 53rd Venice Biennale of Art
Curated by Elmgreen & Dragset

LOCATION: Venice, Italy
Curation & Art Direction: Elmgreen & Dragset
Venice-based Architects: Carla Seppe & MplusB Architects

For the 53rd Venice Biennale, the Nordic Pavilion was transformed into the abandoned home of the deceased gay bachelor, Mr. B. The exhibition’s artworks were installed and shown through this domestic backdrop.

The spatial intervention in the Nordic Pavilion employed existing characteristics of Sverre Fehn’s original design, including the travertine tiles and red oak finishes. The interior architecture was designed to resemble the modernism of the Case Study Houses. Using not walls and vertical obstructions, but vacillating terraces instead, diverse programmatic spaces were created.

The steppes that formed the bedroom and study also descended to create a sunken living room with a suspended chimney-- a modernist fireplace. The surfaces that enclosed the bathroom were designed to mimic the wood and glass of the pavilion’s existing doors.

In the transformation of the pavilion into a domestic space, a pool was constructed in front of the Nordic Pavilion. Is that the homeowner, Mr. B, overturned in the pool?