11th International Architecture Exhibition, 2008 Venice Biennale, Australian Pavilion
Australian Institute of Architects
Vince Frost (creative director); Annabel Moir (design manager); Joanna Mackenzie (architect); Quan Payne (design director); Irmi Wachendorff, Frances Ratford (designers)
Consolidated Graphics (flooring), Dulux (paint), Morris (exhibition stands), Beacon Press (print collateral)
Neil Durbach, Wendy Lewin, Gary Warner, Kerstin Thompson (creative directors); Ian De Gruchy (digital consultant); Maryam Gusheh (project coordinator)
Frost* Design was one of five creative directors commissioned by the Australian Institute of Architects to curate the Australian exhibition for the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in September 2008. Held in the Australian Pavilion in the Giardini, the exhibition drew a huge audience including influential architects, industry specialists, and diverse audiences from around the world.
A bright snapshot of Australian architectural culture, the exhibition expresses the vigorous energy, exuberance, and diversity of Austrialia’s architectural past, present, and future. More than 200 architectural practices were invited to submit models, highlighting the extraordinary amount of production in Australia.
Responding to Biennale director Aaron Betsky’s theme “Out There: architecture beyond building,” Frost made the entire installation as experiential as possible. By extending the Pavilion’s deck and adding a curved wall as part of a new entry experience, the building was made more inviting to visitors. The name of the exhibition was repeated in a horizontal line across the building façade. Frost* worked with Dulux to develop a new paint color called “Abundant,” which was applied to the exterior and interior, making a strong branded statement. The vibrant yellow color provides an instant sense of “Australia-ness.”
Inside, Frost chose to display the intricate architectural models atop a “garden” of bright yellow anodized-aluminum stands. Flooring mimics the Australian coastline and provides inlets for visitors to take a closer look at the models. In the upper gallery, immersive projections of buildings—both well known icons and unknown hybrids—provide a kaleidoscope of images connecting the historical with the contemporary.
Frost also designed the exhibition identity and logo, exhibition catalog and brochure, and promotional materials such as banners, bags, and pins. The logo was inspired by the kaleidoscope of moving images featured in the upper gallery and the garden of architectural models in the lower gallery. Its multiple discs reference natural, structural, and experimental forms that inform Australia’s hybrid architectural practice.
“I had the privilege of seeing this project and it definitely stood out from the other pavilions. The acid yellow color of the pavilion applied to buttons that people wore all over Venice extended that environment beyond the four walls. I also appreciated the organizing element of the pedestals to display the 160 projects.”