Belfast based architects Hall McKnight have developed a strong portfolio of public realm projects such as Vartov Square in Copenhagen, the Yellow Pavilion made for the London Festival of Architecture and the publicly accessible square at King’s College, London.
The strong sense of scale and place visible in their work made them uniquely suited to design this exhibition for the Venice Biennale. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Freespace’ and the idea that freespace addresses the unspoken wishes of strangers. The relative dimensions of the podium is directly linked to the scale of a London residential development. Visitors are invited to use it freely. As they step up onto the podium they are surrounded by a set of display cases, each contains a scale model of a Hall McKnight’s projects. Visitors can peek into each vessel and experience the reflection of the public space hidden inside.
Light Bureau worked closely with Hall McKnight in developing the vessels containing the models. The scale models are located vertically within each vessel and are visible to the visitors through a set of mirrors within each box. The lighting design for each model is based on its real life, full scale, counterpart. The model of the square at King’s College is illuminated by an artificial sky whilst the night time lighting to the Yellow Pavilion and the interiors of King’s College is brought to life at a new scale.
The lighting to the exhibition space itself is minimal and largely based on the soft daylight seeping through the windows of the room. The soft room light renders the floor plans engraved onto the sides of the vessel’s well. Visitors can discover the relationship between the floor plans that appear as abstract shapes and the models within the vessel.