Space Caviar creates “liquid” Uzbekistan pavilion at Venice Art Biennale


Italian studio Space Caviar built Dixit Algorizmi: The Garden of Knowledge, an indoor garden with reflective steel stairs for the Uzbekistan Pavilion at this year’s Venice Art Biennale.

The Uzbekistan National Pavilion installation reflects the interior of Quarta Tesa, an old shipbuilding warehouse in Arsenale, one of the two main locations of the International Contemporary Art Exhibition.

Dixit Algorizmi: The Garden of Knowledge is the first pavilion in the country at the Venice Art Biennale.

The layout of the 500-square-meter garden is inspired by the gardens of the House of Wisdom, a 9th-century Baghdad academic center learned by medieval scholars, including the famous Persian mathematician Muhammad Al-Kwarizumi.

Visitors to the 59th Venice Art Biennale can walk across the shiny floor of the installation and sit on the shiny stairs, similar to traditional basins.

Warehouse with reflective flooring and hanging plants
Space caviar painted the shape of a historic Islamic garden

“Gardens are very important in Islamic and Arabian traditions in many parts of Central Asia,” said Joseph Grima, co-founder of the architectural research studio Space Caviar.

“Today we are accustomed to thinking of confined spaces such as buildings, laboratories and universities as spaces for generating knowledge, but in the days of the Alquaris, gardens were usually a place for encounters and discussions.” Says Grima. He told Dezeen.

Uzbekistan Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
The pavilion is in the Venetian Arsenale

Space Caviar built the interior of Uzbekistan’s first pavilion at the Biennale in Venice with pine trees and stainless steel sheets that Grima chose to create the illusion of water.

The choice of material also means that when the equipment is dismantled at the end of the 7-month Biennale, the steel can be melted and returned to the metal plate again.

Stairs in Uzbekistan Paviar by Space Caviar
Stainless steel covers the floor

“Stainless steel was chosen to create the effect of walking on water. One of the perceptions of being in the pavilion is being in a liquid landscape,” Grima explained.

“This was one of the effects we wanted to achieve in the pavilion. We wanted to create a kind of miraculous landscape that suggests a dream that is more than a literal garden,” he added.

“In that sense, we see it as a technologically enhanced landscape.”

Through the Venice Art Biennale, the Uzbekistan Pavilion will host a program of workshops and public events on the history of technological development in the arts with digital artists such as Andrés Reisinger.

Visitors can also listen to Uzbek piano pieces against the backdrop of flower sculptures by Berlin-based studio Mary Lennox and hanging clouds of plumbaginaceae.

Inside the Uzbekistan Pavilion
Steel melts into sheets and is reused when the pavilion is dismantled

“We tried to turn the pavilion into an Islamic garden so that visitors could sit by the water, listen to different sounds, smell the air and enjoy the plant installations,” said the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

“The Islamic garden is a place of excellence in rest and reflexes, providing a means of contemplation through sensory experiences such as scents, plants and water,” she told Dezeen.

“Rough water and vague lines, as well as vegetation and smooth surfaces, provide a meditative yet contemporary attitude within the pavilion, linking tradition and technology,” she continued.

Plumbaginaceae hanging on the reflective floor
A bunch of plumbaginaceae hangs from the ceiling

Based in Genoa, Space Caviar was founded in 2013 by Joseph Grima and Tamer Shafrey. The studio focuses on the intersection of design, technology, critical theory and public space.

Previous projects included an algorithmic journalism machine that creates magazines on the fly, and an exhibition at the Biennale Interlue that explores how the perspective of the house has changed over time.

Last year, Grima attended the Dezeen 15 Virtual Festival, proposing a new type of non-extended architecture that saves the planet’s resources.

Photo by Gerda Studio.

Project credit:
Curation: Space caviar and Shaedagomashi
commissioner: Gayane Umerova

The Venice Art Biennale will be held in Venice from April 23rd to November 27th. For the latest details on architectural and design events around the world, see the Dezeen Event Guide.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here