Sam Baron at the 18th edition of the Biennale of Architecture
Berengo Studio, an international reference point for contemporary glass art, presents a new project for the 18th edition of the Biennale of Architecture from the 18th of May till the 1st of October 2023.
On this occasion Berengo Studio has entrusted internationally renowned designer Sam Baron with an exhibition of unique art objects installed within the Berengo Collection space, a former 16th century pharmacy just off St. Mark’s Square. The result, Sacrum Unguentum, is a solo show by Baron, who transforms the space of the former pharmacy into a laboratory and stages a collection of sculptures in glass, in white, black, and gold, that incorporate sculptural floral elements, with evocative references to the history of the 16th-century pharmacy that hosts the exhibition.
The exhibition curated by Mariapia Bellis and Isabelle Valembras Dahirel offers more than just a collection of individual artworks. It provides a captivating immersive experience, where visitors are surrounded by a scenographic arrangement of glass objects. From the shelves to the counter and display cases, the space is filled with intricate pieces that engage the senses and spark curiosity.
“I’ve admired Sam’s work for a long time and it gives me great pleasure to see how he has taken inspiration from the Berengo Collection space and brought it to life with this exhibition. Good design, like good art, reinvigorates the senses and this installation within the old pharmacy space does just this – it ignites curiosity.” – Adriano Berengo, the founder of Berengo Studio
Sam Baron’s vision for Sacrum Unguentum aims to offer a multi-sensory experience, combining artistic exploration with historical references and a touch of mystique. By reimagining the decorative nature of glass production and infusing it with cultural significance, Baron invites viewers to delve into the realms of enchantment and contemplation within this captivating exhibition.
Parallel to the exhibition, during the entire duration of the Biennale of Architecture 2023, a selection of works will be showcased at The St Regis Venice’s Arts Bar. Additionally, Baron has designed a unique glass specifically for the occasion, intended to hold a cocktail called Theriaca. This cocktail, created by Facundo Gallegos and his team as a homage to Sacrum Unguentum, combines spiced rice milk, Bareksten Botanical Aquavit, and squid ink soda. Inspired by a ‘magic’ potion once sold in the former San Marco Pharmacy, Theriaca plays with the concept of ambivalence explored within the exhibition, blurring the boundaries between beauty and repulsion, medicine and poison. The spiced milk represents the enigmatic white poison of a snake, while the cuttlefish ink symbolises the counteracting element, resulting in a tantalising concoction akin to the fabled Theriaca sold during the time of the Venetian Republic.
About the Artist
Graduated from l’École des Beaux-Arts in SaintÉtienne and l’École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Sam Baron works with renowned brands such as Dior Maison, Pierre Frey or the Porcelain manufacturer Vista Alegre. In 2009 Baron received the “Grand Prix de la Creation de la Ville de Paris” in the design category and in 2010 Philippe Starck selected him as one of the ten important designers of the next decade. Sam Baron currently lives and works between Portugal and France where he recently has been appointed Chevalier des arts et des lettres in 2022.
About Berengo Studio
Berengo Studio was founded in 1989 by Adriano Berengo. Inspired by the work of Peggy Guggenheim and Egidio Costantini, who introduced leading artists such as Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall to Murano glass in the 1960s, Berengo has supported the innovative use of glass as a material for contemporary art for over 30 years. The Studio immediately set itself the goal of opening the doors of its furnace to creatives of all disciplines, providing them with a space in which to experiment and “think in glass.” Over the years the Studio has collaborated with over 300 artists.
Duration: May 18 – October 1, 2023