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Swedish studios Kjellander + Sjöberg and Folkhem have installed a wooden pavilion between the Venice Biennale venues, in tribute to the 10 million trees used to build the city’s foundations. The Forests of Venice pavilion stands alongside a 19th century greenhouse, between the Giardini and Arsenale venues, offering a secluded retreat for Biennale visitors.

Kjellander + Sjöberg and Folkhem teamed up to design the structure. Their aim was to demonstrate how versatile wood is as a material, as well as to promote its sustainability in a time when climate change and rising sea levels threaten coastal cities like Venice. The use of wood also references the closely spaced wooden piles that form the city’s foundations.

Made up of criss-crossing wooden boards, the building has a latticed structure that tapers outwards towards the top. Seating is built into its interior, while thinner wooden planks provide the see-through roof canopy. According to Sjöberg, the building’s rhythmic appearance was designed as an inversion of the Doge’s Palace – a Venetian Gothic structure on Piazza San Marco in the heart of Venice.

The pavilion is accompanied by an exhibition, curated by Jan Åman, featuring the work of seven architects and studios: Architects without Borders Sweden, Arrhov Frick, DinellJohansson, Horn Uggla, In Praise of Shadows, Carmen Izquierdo and Urbio. Each project on show suggests ways of reinterpreting historic Venetian architecture with wood as the primary material.

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