Fundamentals, the title of the 2014 Venice Biennale, will close its doors in a matter of days (on the 23rd November). From the moment Rem Koolhaas revealed the title for this year’s Biennale in January 2013, asking national curators to respond directly to the theme of ‘Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014’, there was an inkling that this Biennale would be in some way special. Having rejected offers to direct the Biennale in the past, the fact that Koolhaas chose to act not only as curator but also thematic co-ordinator of the complete international effort, was significant. This announcement led Peter Eisenman (one of Koolhaas’ earliest tutors and advocates) to state in one interview that “[Rem is] stating his end: the end of [his] career, the end of [his] hegemony, the end of [his] mythology, the end of everything, the end of architecture.”
In June of this year seven architecture students came together to film the vernissage of the Venice Biennale. Undaunted by the unrelenting Venetian sun and the prospect of being faced by some of the world’s greatest living architects and curators, the team – spanning four nationalities – spent three days feverishly talking to anyone and everyone (in between pasta and espresso breaks). Having built up a comprehensive picture of the opening days of the Biennale in a series of short, uninhibited filmed interviews, Mies. TV proudly presents their alternative, slightly shaky coverage of the 2014 Venice Biennale.
Watch short interviews with the likes of Jacques Herzog (Herzog + de Meuron), Daniel Libeskind, Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects), Sir Peter Cook (CRAB Studio), Wolf D. Prix (Coop Himmelb(l)au), Sam Jacob (FAT), and ArchDaily’s very own Editor-in-Chief – David Basulto - after the break.
House Housing, “An Untimely History of Architecture and Real Estate in Nineteen Episodes”, was recently exhibited at Columbia University’s Casa Muraro in Venice. Staged as an “open house” organised and funded by the Buell Center, the exhibition responded unsolicited to Rem Koolhaas’s call to exhibitors at the 2014 Venice Biennale to focus on Fundamentals by exploring housing in nineteen “discrete episodes.” In narrating these episodes, brought together from across the last one hundred years in a mixture of domestic media, the exhibition brought together a collection of excerpts from global processes.
Lebanese design firm GM Architects will be presenting its “Museum of Civilization” at the Time Space Existence exhibition of the 2014 Venice Biennale. The firm will be the only group representing Lebanon at this year’s exhibition. Their museum design addresses the Biennale’s theme of fundamentals by exploring the historical basis of architectural culture in the rich and varied context of their home country.
In this interview with Daniel Libeskind, originally featured on Metropolis as Q&A: Daniel Libeskind on Italy, Product Design, and the State of Architecture Today, Paul Clemence talks to Libeskind about his perspective on Italian culture, its influence on his career, and his most recent foray into product design.
When you talk to Daniel Libeskind, no single question has a simple answer. From his days as a young musical prodigy (he played the accordion) to his directorship at Cranbrook Academy, not to mention his voracious passion for literature, the fascinating episodes of his life all come together, informing his approach to design and architecture. His career path is an unusual one. And while that is true for many architects, his is particularly interesting, where each twist and turn, no matter how ostensibly disconnected, seem to have always prepared him for his next step. Take his two highest profile jobs, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the master plan for Ground Zero. The two are intrinsically linked—the museum’s official opening to the public in 2001 was originally scheduled on September 11. The project had taken 13 years of political maneuvering to realize. Similarly, Libeskind’s World Trade Center site master plan was marred by a decade of delays and alterations, which threatened to blot out his original design intentions. One monumental task after the other, eerily similar in challenging circumstances, both offering the architect a rare opportunity to helm projects richly entrenched in emotion, symbolism, and historical significance.
Now as his career moves beyond these two important projects, the architect’s connection to Italy is beginning to play a pivotal role in his work. He moved there after his time at Cranbrook, when he was looking for new career challenges. Libeskind has been back in America since he was commissioned the Ground Zero project, but he recently opened up a studio in Milan, where he, his wife, and son oversee the firm’s forays in product design.
I caught up with Libeskind at his Lower Manhattan office overlooking Ground Zero to talk about Italy and his involvement in upcoming design fairs there, Milan Design Week and the Venice Architecture Biennale.