La Biennale di Venezia 18th International Architecture Exhibition

La Biennale di Venezia 18th International Architecture Exhibition

La Biennale di Venezia is a global platform that brings together some of the most influential voices in architecture, art, and design. Every year, the event attracts visitors from all over the world who come to experience the latest trends and innovations in these fields. This year’s event is titled “The Laboratory of the Future” and will be open to the public from May 20th to November 26th, 2023.

Caption: House of the Chef Du Canton (Hausa), Bouza, Niger
Credit: James Morris

The event will be curated by Lesley Lokko, who is a well-known architect, academic, and author. According to her, the theme of the event is change, and it aims to challenge the dominant voices in the field of architecture and design. One of the central ideas of the exhibition is to highlight the stories and experiences of African and African diaspora communities, which have traditionally been excluded from the mainstream narrative.

The Laboratory of the Future is structured as an exhibition in six parts and includes 89 participants, over half of whom are from Africa or the African Diaspora. The gender balance is 50/50, and the average age of all participants is 43, dropping to 37 in the Curator’s Special Projects, where the youngest is 24. 46% of participants count education as a form of practice, and nearly half of participants are from sole or individual practices of five people or less.

The Exhibition starts at the Central Pavilion in the Giardini, where 16 architectural practices that embody the most powerful and concentrated African and Diasporic architectural production have been assembled. The program then moves to the Arsenale complex, where participants in the Dangerous Liaisons section – who are also showcased in Forte Marghera in Mestre – interact with the Curator’s Special Projects. This is the first time that this category is as extensive as the others.

Walter Hood, Hood Design Studio, 2023, Photographer: Chris Derry, Courtesy of Chris Derry


The Laboratory of the Future program will be complemented by a six-month-long event series called Carnival. Carnival will comprise various activities, including lectures, panel discussions, films, and performances, that delve into the Biennale’s themes. The event aims to foster communication and discussion, providing a space for people with different backgrounds and perspectives to share their ideas and opinions. The program will feature a diverse range of guests, including politicians, policymakers, poets, filmmakers, writers, activists, and public intellectuals, along with architects, academics, and students. Carnival is an essential part of the Biennale Architettura 2023 and seeks to bridge the gap between architects and the general public. The event is made possible with the support of Rolex, the Exclusive Partner and Official Timepiece of the Exhibition.

Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Biennale Architettura 2023

Demas Nwoko, Image credit New culture studios

Demas Nwoko, an artist, designer, and architect born in Nigeria, has been chosen as the recipient of the Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition is titled The Laboratory of the Future and will be held from May 20th to November 26th, 2023 at Giardini and Arsenale in Venice. The decision was made by La Biennale’s Board of Directors, headed by Roberto Cicutto, upon the recommendation of the exhibition’s curator, Lesley Lokko. The awards ceremony and opening of the exhibition will take place on May 20th, 2023, at Ca’ Giustinian, the headquarters of La Biennale di Venezia.

Demas Nwoko is a versatile Nigerian artist, designer, architect, and builder who played a leading role in Nigeria’s modern art movement. He incorporates modern techniques into his works of architecture and stage design to express African themes. In the 1960s, he was part of the Mbari Club of Ibadan, a committee of upcoming Nigerian and foreign artists. Nwoko was inspired by the architectural residences and the Palace edifice in his hometown of Idumuje Ugboko, which was designed by his grandfather and extended by his father. He studied at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science, and Technology in Zaria and was a founding member of the influential Zaria Art Society. After studying theater architecture and scene design at the Centre Français du Théâtre in Paris, he returned to Nigeria to teach at the newly formed School of Drama at the University of Ibadan. Nwoko established the Mbari Writers and Artists Club and the New Culture Studios, which is now a training center for the performing arts and a design center.

Demas Nwoko, Demas’ office facade treatment-ventilation, louvered widows, artistically designed burglary proof, 1976, Idumuje Ugboko, Nigeria (Image credit: Joseph Conteh)

La Biennale Di Venezia’s commitment to climate action

La Biennale di Venezia is committed to fighting climate change by promoting sustainability in the design, installation, and operation of all its events. In 2022, La Biennale received certification for all its events for the year, which was achieved by analysing the causes of CO2 emissions and implementing measures to reduce them. RINA certified the entire process of achieving carbon neutrality, which was conducted according to the international standard PAS2060. The main contributor to the carbon footprint is the mobility of visitors, and La Biennale plans to raise awareness about this issue with a communication campaign in 2023, starting with the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, which will test the process of achieving carbon neutrality and explore the themes of decolonisation and decarbonisation.

Dualchas Architects, Descent, 2022, Photograph, Sizes 45.1 x 30 cm. Jordan Young, Courtesy of Jordan Young, Copyright Jordan Young

La Biennale di Venezia 18th International Architecture Exhibition, The Laboratory of the Future

Location: The Giardini and the Arsenale, and at Forte Marghera

Duration: May 20 – November 26, 2023



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