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– Written by TDC Team – May 19, 2023

The Danish Pavilion opens ‘Coastal Imaginaries’ at the Venice Biennale 2023

Officially opening to the public Saturday May 20th, at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

– Written by Sabina Eklund and Anna van Oosterom

TDC is proud to support The Danish Pavilion leading on international press strategy and outreach as they invite visitors to explore nature-based design solutions to alleviate global challenges like rising sea levels and storm surges.

The exhibition, titled ‘Coastal Imaginaries’ has been curated by Josephine Michau who calls the Danish contribution “a laboratory for hope in a world of viral hopelessness”, in reference to the overall title of the Biennale Architettura 2023 chosen by the curator Lesley Lokko, “The Laboratory of the Future”.  

The exhibition presents research-based and innovative architectural design solutions, aiming to show the public and industry professionals a catalogue of concrete proposals for future life along the coastline. The pavilion offers seven nature-based solutions for landscape resilience, carbon sinks, cultivation areas, materials banks, biodiversity, and new natural spaces for socialising and recreation. 

The  Danish Pavilion is based on a proposal for a new strategy for Copenhagen developed by climate and landscape architectural firm Schønherr. The city, which is often referred to as one of the world’s best cities to live in, is one of many parts of the world under threat due to coastal changes. On display is a transformed map of Copenhagen, highlighting Schønherr’s “Copenhagen Islands”, a proposal where the capital city’s classic urban development plan from 1947 is replaced with urban development based on the islets that arise in a delta between seawater and rainwater. 

We must change the city’s relationship with nature. The coast must evolve from a physical and administrative line to a ‘sponge’ zone that can absorb and hold water when there is too much of it, and slowly release it when there is too little.

– Rikke Juul Gram, MAA MDL, partner and creative director at Schønherr

The pavilion has also catered to all the senses through dramatically staged large-scale dioramas featuring a dramatic coastal landscape of the future. Created by Scenographer and artist Christian Friedländer, sound designer Peter Albrechtsen and artist David Drachmann, visitors are invited into the immersive experience of the diorama, providing a transformational experience that appeals to both body and mind. In a dramatised version of the relationship between wet and dry, between water and land, nature and culture and their interdependence, climate change is experienced on a 1:1 scale.

We are proud to have worked across Coastal Imaginaries, as the result of a collective and collaborative effort, with contributions from artists, architects, craftspeople, practitioners and researchers, representing a wide range of skills and fields of specialisation. The research group “Migrating sea level rise” also presents their three-year research project “Adapting Danish cities to rising sea levels- new solutions“. And as part of the larger initiatives to bring awareness to these issues Arkitektens Forlag will publish a book, “Critical Coast,” related to the exhibition.

The Danish Pavilion is open to visitors of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, which runs from May 20 through November 26, 2023.