Aileen Sage Architects and Michelle Tabet in conversation
ISABELLE TOLAND (AILEEN SAGE ARCHITECTS): We are particularly lucky to be the first Architecture exhibition in the new Australian pavilion. The Denton Corker Marshall designed building is our site and we want to place ‘The Pool’ in dialogue with their design.
MICHELLE TABET: As the creative directors of the Australian exhibition we are proposing to step outside of the architect-to-architect discourse to show how a familiar, common object—the pool—is in fact pregnant with cultural significance. It is both an artifact and catalyst for change.
AMELIA HOLLIDAY (AILEEN SAGE ARCHITECTS): ‘The Pool’ for us is not just an exhibition, it’s an architectural project and that’s how we have thought about it in our everyday practice. For us, the challenge of any architectural or urban project is to create a space where people are able to make an emotional connection, where they are able to connect across both the personal and the collective, beyond the visual and the built. We also feel that any piece of architecture we create should resonate both in situ and beyond.
IT: For this project we wanted to create an immersive experience, with the pool itself central to the design. For us, ‘The Pool’ is a means to amplify and enhance the experience of this new building: a simple black box that sits cantilevered over the edge of the canal at the edge of the trees in the Giardini with Venice, the city of water, as its backdrop. The pool is the focal point of the space, juxtaposed with the window that looks over the canal.
When you enter the space you will be enveloped by a scent, a powerful trigger of memories. It will be a particularly Australian smell, created by parfumier Elise Pioch in collaboration with designers Lyn&Tony. It is the smell of fire and water, the bush and the city, as well as of petrichor, the scent of wet ground after rain. For many Australians this may be a familiar scent of home, while for others it may be strange and foreign, a scent of danger and oddity.