For the first time in the history of the Venice Architecture Biennale, Lebanon presents its own pavilion with the exhibition The Place That Remains, recounting the unbuilt territory. And it was last Friday that this exhibition space was unveiled to the general public!
Designed by the Franco-Lebanese architect and curator Hala Wardé, this Lebanese pavilion, which will represent the country for the first time at the Venice Biennale, was proudly inaugurated this Friday in the presence of a hundred personalities from the world of art and architecture, as well as institutions including the Minister of Culture of the United Arab Emirates Noura al-Kaabi.
A great first in the architectural history of Lebanon
This is a great first in its history, this participation being notably the result of a national competition organized jointly by the Ministry of Culture and the Lebanese Order of Engineers and Architects.
“Thank you for having made this pavilion exist. You have worked very hard to bring Lebanon to Venice, despite all the difficulties. The very fact of achieving this and showing the world the beauty and talent that can emanate from Beirut, despite everything, is in itself an act of poetry. Thank you for this” said the general curator of this 17th edition of the Biennale, architect Hashim Sarkis at the ceremony.
Sixteen thousand-year-old olive trees
The objective of the architect in the construction of this building was clear: to imagine forms representing places of silence and recollection in order to pay tribute to this state bruised by the events of the past …
“It is in my opinion a condition to get along or live with the other, the pandemic has also reminded us harshly. I have therefore imagined forms that generate places of silence and contemplation” says the architect.
The project is based on a set of sixteen thousand-year-old olive trees from Lebanon, these legendary trees, whose hollows shelter the life of different species, making it possible to make these places, peaceful places where everyone can collect themselves. A trail of glass on the ground will accompany this path to silence.
A miraculous national project
This performance realized for the Venice Biennale is all the more remarkable as the Lebanese financial crisis as well as the consequences of the August 4, 2020 disaster could have dealt it a fatal blow…
But the pavilion proves that the country manages to stand up and bounce back: “It is the culmination of a long journey, marked by paradox and uncertainty. So much so that I can say, without exaggerating anything, that it is a real miracle that we have arrived where we are today” says the architect.
I can’t wait to discover this architectural spectacle!