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    Erin Sharp Newton
    Jun 10, '18 1:23 PM EST

    La Biennale di Venezia - Re-thinking Practice

    La Biennale di Venezia (PREVIEW TO AUGUST ARTICLE)

    Soon we will be visiting the 2018 Biennale Architecttura 2018 in Venice....  soon we will be wandering through the garden of international pavilions at the Arsenale, where architects, designers, thinkers, and creators from all around the world are expressing their countries collective visions, interrogations and ideas.

    2018 Venice Bienalle Architecttura

    2018 Venice Bienalle Architecttura

    The 2018 Biennale Architettura is titled FREESPACE, a word meant to describe "generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture's agenda." (

    The first stop will be Cafe Florian:  In the late XIX Century, it was at the tables of Caffè Florian that the local politicians and art enthusiasts created the Biennale:

    (IN)Complete - Caffe Florian

    May 25 up to September 8: Visitors will be asked for their opinion, anonymized, and to contribute to collective intelligence, a “Freespace”, the theme of the 16th Architecture Biennale. The collective intelligence looks like a colourful cloud in perpetual movement that will parse crowd-sourced information to understand and design our future. The exhibition is curated by Stefano Stipitivich, art director at Caffè Florian.

    Visionary architect and designer Aldo Cibic will be the protagonist of Unica, an exhibition/installation that Caffè Florian presents in concurrence with the 2018 Architecture Biennale.

    Here we will see Aldo Cibic's Installation that stops in motion a moment of time to provide opportunity to develop a collective consciousness in design.  


    For many years I worked in Milan & Venice as the Creative Director for Aldo Cibic   We designed buildings, furniture and objects.  We designed opportunities and relationships for improvement of life for the greater whole.  We engaged students, seniors, all walks of life.   We'd design a tall Milanese metropolitan hotel one day, and on another day we would rebrand/recode a city in a government boardroom. 

      New Stories New Design - CIBIC WORKSHOP

    New Stories New Design @ the Salone di Mobile 2002 & Rethinking Happiness @ the Venice Biennale 2004


    Regularly the studio would engage professionals, students, designers, and clients in interrogating architecture and design as relates to humanity and the built environment: We would ask about where design can make things better, we would look for solutions to problems that seemed impossible.  We were convinced that our design faculties could make a difference in the world.  We felt it was our duty.  

    In following that calling we were alive and inspired.  We worked long and happy hours.  Beautiful buildings were built.  Installations that made people curious and engaged opened the mental spheres.

    One of the most poignant aspects of design in Italy that echoes throughout centuries is the sense that this way of thinking and designing, is imperative to the process, and that the abstract intelligence found in creative thinking is the life blood of good design.   



    Developing robust ways to increase vitality and support humanity on the abstract plane is crucial to the design process and can be in harmony with technical requirements and deliverables.   Creative thinking combined with macro to micro production can work hand in hand.  Design inspiration can actually help construction documents can go out the door. 



    On the subject of designing-thinking-creating "freely": This years Bienalle focuses on "FREESPACE".  This time pushing the envelope with ideas about humanity and generosity at the core of the exhibit..

    "It is examples of generosity and thoughtfulness in architecture throughout the world that will be celebrated in the 16th International Architecture Exhibition. We believe these qualities sustain the fundamental capacity of architecture to nurture and support meaningful contact between people and place. We focus our attention on these qualities because we consider that intrinsic to them are optimism and continuity. Architecture that embodies these qualities and does so with generosity and a desire for exchange is what we call Freespace."

    16th International Architecture Exhibition is titled Freespace, by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara and is explained their choice as follows

    «Freespace describes a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture's agenda, focusing on the quality of space itself.

    Freespace focuses on architecture’s ability to provide free and additional spatial gifts to those who use it and on its ability to address the unspoken wishes of strangers.

    Freespace celebrates architecture’s capacity to find additional and unexpected generosity in each project - even within the most private, defensive, exclusive or commercially restricted conditions.

    Freespace provides the opportunity to emphasise nature’s free gifts of light - sunlight and moonlight, air, gravity, materials - natural and man-made resources.

    Freespace encourages reviewing ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, of inventing solutions where architecture provides for the  well being and dignity of  each citizen of this fragile planet.

    Freespace can be a space for opportunity, a democratic space, un-programmed and free for uses not yet conceived. There is an exchange between people and buildings that happens, even if not intended or designed, so buildings themselves find ways of sharing and engaging with people over time, long after the architect has left the scene. Architecture has an active as well as a passive life.

    Freespace encompasses freedom to imagine, the free space of time and memory, binding past, present and future together, building on inherited cultural layers, weaving the archaic with the contemporary.


    Here in America, there is an insurgence of this creative-intelligence advocacy, through what is being called “thought leadership”. 

    Firms are finding out that what separates one firm from the next is the ability to empower the practitioners and professionals in thinking beyond the bottom line.  In my position at NK Architects, I am surrounded by a similar spirit of advocacy for humane dignity in the built environment, from projects in process, to active contributions in the surrounding communities.  One of the great benefits of being in a "legacy firm" is that there is an aspect of integrity that echoes when the founders are still actively engaging with all levels of the practice, and helping everyone to feel they are an important contributing creative-intel agent in the greater whole.

    Technology is making it that the concrete is easily reproducible to achieve status-quo.  To do more for our clients, our communities, for the future, and for ourselves, we are being called to expand our minds, to remember why we started walking the path of architecture and design to begin with, and to keep walking it fully engaged. If we don't keep the spirit of design alive when we sit at our once-drawing-boards-now-machines, our industry will cave into copy and paste buildings. This is not what we want.

    We are not automatons, and we cannot surrender to being as such.  The space of the mind is free.  Thinking is free.  In elastic time the mind that is thinking creatively and engaging that genius available to all of us, time expands, as do possibilities.

    Rethinking Happiness during the Venice Biennale in 2010

    Decisive the relationship with Ettore Sottsass, who chose him as a partner when Aldo was in his twenties, and in his last interview declares: “I do not think I have left any traces of my work, maybe something in Aldo Cibic” .[7] Towards the end of the 1980s, Aldo began to reflect on a more personal concept of creativity, which inspired the launch of his first independent project. In line with his idea of a more human, less heroic form of design, he choose not only to design objects for the home, but also to sell them, He presented his first self-produced collection, entitled “Standard”,[8][9][10] to the public from his loft home in Milan, inaugurating a tradition of impromptu exhibitions, which have since become a means of testing his design projects and continue to guide his research. Starting with Erin Sharp's Project "Family Business" at the Domus Academy in the early 1990s his research activity in the field of "social innovation design" has developed through teaching in various schools of Design and Architecture (Domus Academy Milan, Politecnico Milan, IUAV Venice, Tongji University Shanghai).  Family Business, was published in "The Solid Side"[11] initiative, launched in collaboration with Philips Corporate Design at the Domus Academy has produced pioneering projects, such as New Stories New Design (2002), and CitizenCity[12] (2003). These research projects fostered a dynamic relationship between people and space and offered a new mode of designing places based on social interactions, revolving around a central theme: the interpretation of sustainability. An experience culminating with the "Microrealities"[13][14] project presented at the Biennale di Venezia in 2004. For the 12th edition of Biennale di Venezia in 2010, 43 artists were invited by Kazuyo Sejima, including Aldo Cibic to propose a project called "Rethinking happiness"[15] aimed at creating and enhancing happiness in new communities through 4 unique projects. Aldo Cibic invited architects, agronomists, designers, sociologists and energy consultants for the projects.

    TEDXpordenone Aldo Cibic - Rethinking Happiness

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