Spectacular, conceptual, or overconfident?

September 12, 2012 at 12:21 am 1 comment

Russia’s Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale is perhaps another example of Russia’s love for over-the-top design and presentation, but it is also just genuinely AWESOME.

image via designboom

The pavilion is split into two completely separated sections; you have to walk out of the pavilion and enter through another doorway to access the other part. The top section has every surface covered with QR codes that, when read through the Samsung tablets provided, feature different design submissions for the new business and technology city of Skolkovo, located right outside of Moscow. The Skolkovo project, or i-City, is a fairly controversial new initiative to encourage new business opportunities and investment in Russia through an “open” city with an investor-friendly tax structure. However, funding and support for the project has mostly been from the government with little foreign funding as of yet, resulting in an unclear forecast of how successful the project is going to be. i-City is scheduled to open in 2017 with a university, housing, and space for over 500 companies to work in various science and technology fields.

image via designboom

The bottom section, which in some ways is even cooler than the top section, features tiny backlit images of the Soviet Union’s many secret science-related cities of the past. The room is entirely dark except for these small images, creating a very intimate setting for the viewers of these rarely seen photos of cities from all over the Soviet Union, many of which don’t exist anymore.

image via designboom

Both sections of the Biennale exhibition were curated by Sergei Tchoban and Sergey Kuznetsov of SPEECH Tchoban & Kuznetsov, who are also masterplanning the Skolkovo project. The architectural team they’ve chosen for the project includes Pierre de MeuronRem KoolhaasKazuyo Sejima, and the Venice Architecture Biennale’s director David Chipperfield, plus the future winners of several rounds of competitions that will be held as the project progresses.

image via designboom

Overall, Russia’s Pavilion is pretty amazing (although it did not win first place), but I wonder how much of it “show-factor” and how much of it is really high quality design? And while I didn’t get to see it in person, which might disqualify me from weighing in, I did get a full run-down from someone who got to experience it live. My take is that it’s both: a really spectacular presentation but also an exploration of some incredible concepts.

September 12′s daily design idea is also the big question that remains: how successful will the very top-down economic initiative of the Skolkovo project be for Russia, particularly now that it has been juxtaposed so publicly with many of the region’s lost cities?


Entry filed under: Anastasia Kouriatova. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Heidy  |  September 22, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I never knew that Russia has a beautiful place like this. It could be a good prospect as a design on a t-shirt.


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