Few have ever considered what the Giardini—the park of national pavilions for the Art and Architecture Biennales in Venice—is like during the winter months. In light of the fact that, during their "off-season," the gardens are often left in a state of disrepair, RAAAF—a Dutch multidisciplinary studio based in Amsterdam, alongside architect Marcel Moonen—have proposed a series of installations in an attempt to "reclaim valuable public space" which sits at the heart of an often overcrowded city.
According to the designers, the intention behind the installations is "not to make the boardings more visually attractive, nor to attract masses of people. It is not about solving practical problems but about exploring the potential meaning of the Giardini." The project, which is funded by the Dutch Mondriaan Funds for Visual Arts and The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, rather seeks to transform its atmosphere and recover a contemplative space for the city." The metamorphosis," they suggest, "reflects an abstraction away from the architecture and extroversion of the national pavilions, which are defined by annual statements."
Within the busy city of Venice, Giardini in Silence embraces the transition from an artistic and architectural event space to a place of absence. The intervention creates a contemplative atmosphere on the scale of the Giardini as a whole. En passant it offers a solution for practical issues such as vandalism and the many leaking pavilions in wintertime. The surfaces, made of reinforced textile, reflect the characteristic moody climate of the lagoon in late fall, winter, and early spring.