Australian Institute of Architects – Sydney, Australia and Venice, Italy
Facilitation, Research, Strategy, Delivery

In April 2015, Left Bank Co. Director Michelle Tabet was selected along with architecture firm Aileen Sage, as the Creative Directors for Australia’s exhibition at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Their innovative exhibition concept, The Pool, used the architectural icon as a collaborative lens to explore Australian architecture, culture and identity, creating a sensory experience around a pool built within Australia’s Pavilion in Venice. A pool featured at the heart of the exhibition space and create an immersive multi-sensory experience that transported visitors poolside. The exhibition brought to Venice a suggestion of a particular Australian architectural condition that was augmented and expanded through the use of light, scent, sound, reflection and perspective to create a series of perceptual illusions.

The Creative Directors were the youngest and the first all-female team chosen to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale, and they worked with some of Australia’s best creatives to deliver The Pool. Collaborators include renowned lighting and set designer Nick Schlieper, industrial designer Elliat Rich and Alice Springs-based Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), fashion label Romance Was Born and artist Del Kathryn Barton, sound artist Bree van Reyk, parfumier Elise Pioch with artists Lyn and Tony, and graphic designer Stephen Goddard from Project Two.

The Left Bank Co. team worked closely with the Creative Directors, the broader creative team and the Australian Institute of Architects to develop and deliver all facets of this complex project. From facilitating early concept development, to conducting in-depth research to inform and develop the companion publication, to coordinating and delivering the physical exhibition and opening-week events in Venice, Left Bank Co. utilised the full breadth of skills and knowledge of the team in developing and delivering an outstanding cultural project and representation of Australia’s architecture industry.

The internationally acclaimed exhibition ran in Venice from May to November 2016 and became the most successful of any of Australia’s appearances at the architecture Biennale, with over 108,000 visitors, and reviews in the New York Times, Monocle. Dezeen, and The Australian. Find out more about The Pool here, and more about the Venice Biennale here.

A companion publication has also been produced and published which further explores the significance of the pool, told through the voices of eight prominent Australians. Find out more about the book here.