Caruso St John and artist Marcus Taylor have won the British Council’s open call to design the British Pavilion at next year’s Venice Biennale
Their appointment comes a year after Caruso St John won the RIBA Stirling Prize for its Newport Street Gallery in south London. Artist Marcus Taylor (pictured left) has collaborated with the practice on several projects including its entry for the UK Holocaust Memorial competition.
The pavilion competition sought ‘bold and imaginative’ proposals for a flagship installation exploring contemporary British architecture and its relationship with the rest of the world.
Caruso St John and Taylor’s ‘Island’ concept is based on a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: ‘Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises; Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.’
The Venice Biennale, curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara of Dublin-based Grafton Architects, will run from 26 May to 25 November and focus on ‘Freespace’ and ‘generosity, thoughtfulness and a desire to engage’.
Caruso St John partner Peter St John said: ‘It is an honour for us to have been selected to curate the British Pavilion. In the year before Brexit, we plan to transform the building into a generous public space that can be a popular meeting point within the gardens of the Biennale.’
Sarah Mann, director of architecture design fashion at the British Council: ‘The open call generated a strong field of proposals but the panel was unanimous in its selection. The uncertainties that exist in today’s world give the British Pavilion a new imperative and ‘Island’ promises to be a thought-provoking installation that I am confident will spark debate.’
In 2016, the British Council selected writers Shumi Bose and Jack Self and architect Finn Williams to curate the British Pavilion. Their winning proposal, ‘Home Economics’, was a response to the over-arching theme ‘Reporting From The Front’, devised by that year’s curator Alejandro Aravena.
- Sarah Mann, director ADF (chair)
- Gary Boyd, reader in architecture at Queen’s University, Belfast and head of architecture
- Amanda Levete, founder and principal of AL_A
- Pablo Bronstein, artist
- Suzy Jones, director, RIBA North
- Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee
- Debika Ray, senior editor, ICON
The UK’s presentation at the Venice Biennale is selected by an advisory panel of leading architecture professionals, from across the UK. The panel membership changes for every edition of the biennale