Back from Venice, ‘No More Free Space?’ Exhibition Restaged in Singapore

Is there truly no more free space in Singapore? That is the question the Singapore Pavilion from the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia asked.

A response to the overarching theme of Freespace, set by the Biennale curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara.

Entitled, ‘No More Free Space?’ the exhibit tells the story of how, in spite of the limitations in physical space, Singapore-based architects, urban planners, and place-makers have creatively found ways to bring delightful free spaces to the city’s everyday life.

During its 6-month long run at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, the Singapore Pavilion received over 70,000 visitors.

Returning from the Sale d’Armi, Arsenale in Venice, the restaged exhibition has run from 17 May till 30 June 2019 at the National Design Centre.

Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s compact urban environment, ‘No More Free Space?’ features 12 Singapore-based projects that showcase the resourcefulness of the architects, their inspirations and realization of ideas. All whilst borrowing natural resources such as light, air, greenery, and water.

Each of the 12 projects featured shows imagination, openness, discovery, and resolution to turn constraints into possibilities. Taking it one step further, the projects also reflect how architecture can tap into social capital to bring joy and connect individuals to the larger community.

The centrepiece of the Singapore Pavilion features an immersive installation, an ethereal cloud made of skilfully handcrafted acrylic knots gently suspended in mid-air that envelopes visitors to the pavilion.

Complete with a multi-sensory projection of lights, sounds, images, and even scents, visitors find themselves immersed in the spaces within the cloud – in itself an example of a resourceful, unexpected free space.

In conjunction with the restaging of the exhibition, a design forum will be held featuring architects and designers from the curated projects, who will discuss their inspirations behind the projects they worked on.

Additionally, the public can also invited to participate in a clay hand-building workshop, where local studio Usually Usual will showcase the process behind preparing 100 handcrafted Jurong ceramic tubes for the biennale.

Prof Erwin Viray, Lead Curator and Head of the Architecture and Sustainable Design pillar at SUTD says, “The exhibit stands as a testament to how the creative freedom of the mind has the power to turn constraints into a myriad of alternative possibilities”

“Singapore is such a unique country, a multi-ethnic, multicultural, island city-state with a burgeoning population on a land area of just 720 km2. Its dense urban fabric has to support a multitude of uses and needs within demanding constraints. We hope that the exhibit will elicit a greater appreciation of the urban environment that we work and play in every day, and perhaps even spur the imagination of what is possible in spite of the limitations.”

Commissioned by the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg), and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), and curated by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) in collaboration with the National University of Singapore’s department of Architecture (NUS), ‘No More Free Space?’ was the country’s sixth showcase at the International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia since 2004.

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