The legendary Dutch architect teams up with Swarovski to create Luminaire, the showstopper at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia.
Rem Koolhas is in a league of his own. The celebrated architect, urbanist and the founding partner of OMA made it his mission to bring to light new modalities of architecture and planning; co-founding The Volume magazine in 2005 being a step further in bridging people and their built environment.
Founded in 1975, OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) in a tiny office in Rotterdam, the brain child of Koolhas and his founding partners – Elia & Zoe Zenghelis and Madelon Vriesendorp – is today a global design force with presence in Far –East Asia, the Middle East and Central Americas.
Rem, on his part, through the diverse projects – ranging from creating new cities to designing luxury lifestyle stores, private villas, public libraries and town centers – has enriched people’s lives with meaningful, humane design responses. His collaboration with Swarovski, to create Luminaire, the dramatically light entry to Monditalia, one of three exhibitions that make up the distinguished Dutch architect’s ambitious presentation of this year’s 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia being the latest.
The majestic structure, resembling a grand stage set, measures 6 metres in height by 20 metres in length and is made up of thousands of vibrantly coloured glass light bulbs and 15kg of Swarovski Crystal Rocks, all set on an elaborate wooden framework. Together the crystal and light highlight the traditional Venetian archways, evoking the elaborate Renaissance façades of Venice’s palazzos. Luminaire also references the grand-scale urban lighting installations that are an integral part of Italian culture, often associated with celebrations and religious feasts, even forming a centerpiece in several of Federico Fellini’s films.
“The topics of Monditalia are the current state of Italy… perfectly introduced by a special entrance gate which we developed with Swarovski.” Rem Koolhas
Constructed in a traditional workshop in Puglia by a family-run business with generations of manufacturing experience, Luminaire is a gateway into a very different Biennale, one where the established order of contemporary architecture is investigated, upturned and chronicled, with art, science and entertainment coming together to decipher the legacy of a century of Modernism. This year’s International Architecture Exhibition, entitled Fundamentals, is a major re-staging, renewing the Biennale’s emphasis on the history of architecture and architectural culture. Luminaire brilliantly illuminates the past, present and future.
14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia / FUNDAMENTALS / 7th June – 23rd November ’14.