Venice Biennale - Venice - Interior photo of gallery space - Selldorf Architects

Venice Biennale – The Encyclopedic Palace

Venice, Italy

For the 2013 Venice Biennale Annabelle Selldorf collaborated with curator Massimiliano Gioni on the architectural layout for the central exhibition, “The Encyclopedic Palace.” The exhibition takes place in the Arsenale, a 69,000 sf complex of former shipyards and armories.

The design transforms the corridor-like Arsenale into a cohesive series of galleries suited to contemporary art. One of the most significant architectural interventions ever undertaken in the space, the design masks most of the historic brick walls with new white surfaces and subdivides the at time overwhelming spaces into more intimate rooms.

The plan subverts the existing linear circulation with diverse configurations that encourage visitors to slowly wind their way through the exhibition. Lighting the immense windowless space was achieved by covering the dark central ceiling arcade with a white fabric scrim and distributing artificial lighting evenly across the space.


(Photography credits: La Biennale di Venezia)