Will Alsop's contribution to this year's Bienal de Valencia is a project entitled 'The Department Store of Proper Behaviour', in collaboration with the artist Bruce McLean.
The pair plan to radically transform an existing derelict department store in Valencia for the event in June. Their exhibition promises 'an intriguing and challenging shopping experience' and will feature departments of humour, reading, drinking, smoking, the erotic, sound and beauty.
Valencia hosted its first biennale in 2001 to create a dialogue between the various creative arts. This year the festival, which aims to become a key event for the international arts scene, will be on the theme 'the Ideal City'.
Alsop said the project was a comment on today's commercial world where 'our shops have become the killing fields for large national and international chains as they compete for larger shares of finite markets to satisfy remote shareholders'.
By contrast, the Department Store of Proper Behaviour is a 'shop of experience' where the place becomes part of the day as well as somewhere to buy goods. Alsop said it would be 'a place to spend time, a place where you can sit down and talk. A place that celebrates the artisan as well as the artist.A place of proper service. A place where everything is unique, and most importantly a place where ideas, objects and behaviours can be tested and if necessary fail with dignity.'
Alsop and McLean - along with fellow participating curators Mike Figgis, Lóránd Hegyi and Jean Louis Maubant - will be unveiling their exhibition concepts at the ICA next week.