The president of the Venice Gardens Foundation, Adele Re Rebaudengo and curator Chiara Bertola invited artists Maria Thereza Alves and Jimmie Durham to show selected works from their design collective LABINAC in the greenhouse of the Royal Gardens for the opening of the garden’s research center during the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.

LABINAC has been commissioned to design research and work tables for the restored greenhouse of the Royal Gardens at Piazza San Marco in Venice, restored by Venice Gardens Foundation that takes care of its conservation and management. LABINAC designed for the greenhouse in accordance with the idea of the Venice Gardens Foundation, for which the gardens are a meeting place, where researchers and artists can develop the vast metaphorical concept of the garden, sowing signs, sounds and words, cultivating and nurturing new visions.

“Architecture must begin with a specific place, considering the nature of the surrounding, every building is made in a garden whether or not that is recognised.” -Maria Thereza Alves

The Royal Gardens commissioned by Napoleon adjacent to Piazza San Marco in Venice have been obscured in secrecy, left to decay and hidden from public eye for many years. Recently they have been restored by the Venice Gardens Foundation, with the support of Assicurazioni Generali, and open to the public on December 2019, reclaiming their botanical richness and nineteenth-century design grandeur. A historical and botanical gem comes back to life with a Mediterranean atmosphere. The gardens are surrounded by water facing the imperial rooms of the Royal Palace, the Archeological Museum and the historic Marciana Library.

For the Venice Architecture Biennale LABINAC will present a selection of works under the title:“Echoes of the Forest”. Exhibited will be twenty one tables specifically designed for the Gardens by the two artists, hand-blown glass vases, and a chandelier of broken Murano glass. The tables will remain as a site-specific permanent installation at the venue after the end of the Biennale.

Both Alves and Durham took as their inspiration the endemic Mediterranean Pine Tree. Alves designed research tables from Serpentine Green Marble to represent the trees as seen from above or below. Durham admits: ” We humans always need to know that the rest of nature is close.” LABINAC’s “Echoes of the Forest” scattered throughout the greenhouse opens the possibility of myriad lessons that Flora can teach us and remind us of the necessity and challenges to engage in an inclusive dialogue, which encourages relational practices.



The full press release can be found here:

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