We are excited to announce the recent opening of Laguna Viva at the V-A-C Foundation’s Palazzo delle Zattere!
Laguna Viva is the first stage of a long-term strategy to enable Palazzo delle Zattere to engage with the complexities of everyday life in Venice.
V-A-C Foundation commissioned London based collective Assemble, who work across the fields of architecture, design and art, to develop a long-term project for the garden and indoor area where the Foundation’s new bar and restaurant SudEst 1401, is located. Assemble’s aim was to create an environment that would both reveal and actively involve the city so they turned to this organisation to work with them on the project.
The new, free to access, permanent outdoor installation will enhance the ongoing conversation about the intimate and mutually dependent relationship between Venice and its context. The typical lagoon salt marsh habitat is arranged according to botanical associations and functional morphology and housed in three large tanks, which at the end of the year will be covered in special tiles created by Assemble at Granby Workshop, a social enterprise in Liverpool.
The Lagoon tanks build on the successful experiment by Jane da Mosto with muf art/architecture for the British Pavilion at the 12th Architecture Biennale. The installation is open every day (8am – 11pm), independently of the V-A-C Foundation art exhibition timetable, and welcomes visitors to the foundation, resident artists, restaurant clients and local residents. These microcosms will also become a resource for research and teaching on ecological resilience and the natural systems that underpin the survival of the city.
Responses from the public have been overwhelming and highly encouraging. Above all, Venetian citizens have expressed surprise at finding this homage to the lagoon – the neglected lifeline to Venice’s existence, glorious past and future survival – at the heart of a prestigious international cultural institution. The response of the plants to their new location is just as positive, despite having to adjust to a different, artificial water circulation system.
Scientific advisor for the project is Lorenzo Bonometto and horticultural support is provided by Vivai De Sero. The outdoor space was executed in collaboration with lighting designers Michael Grubb Studio, APML Architects, Studio Grava Environmental Engineers and Beppi Mazzon Structural Engineer, with support and advice from muf art/architecture, Valentine Clays and Barbara Pastor.
Jane da Mosto (We are here Venice) – installation concept and plan
“Our catchphrase has always been “Venezia e’ Laguna” (Venice is the Lagoon) so on behalf of We
are here Venice, I jumped at this opportunity to bring the richness of the lagoon back into the heart of
Venice. By seeing this habitat close-up, it becomes obvious how the health of the lagoon is vital to
safeguarding this precious city.
This installation builds on a collaboration with muf architecture/art in 2010 that continues to this day
and heartfelt thanks are also due to my trusted team: Lorenzo Bonometto and Filippo De Sero, with
whom the original British Pavilion/Biennale salt marsh tank was executed, now in the form of a
While the distinctive flora changes throughout the year it remains fascinating at all times and we
sincerely hope the different types of visitor to Palazzo alle Zattere will find the flowers, crabs and
butterflies as intriguing as we do.
Read the full press release HERE
Assemble with We Are Here Venice
Laguna Viva (Living Lagoon), 2018
V-A-C Foundation, Venice.
Photos: Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti
A selection of media coverage:
Rachel Spence wrote about Laguna Viva in the Financial Times
Read the full article here
Rovigo in Diretta: writes of the enormous educational value of Laguna Viva and the craftsmanship involved in the recreating the delicate, living environment of the Venetian lagoon.
Read the full article in Italian here
The September/October issue of Architecture New Zealand featured Laguna Viva in their review of the Biennale here:
The opening of Laguna Viva was featured on CONTESANALLY:
Coverage in Wallpaper magazine:
See the mention in the Evening Standard:
Media Coverage in la Nuova di Venezia:
The Times also featured WahV and Laguna Viva in their coverage of the Biennale:
Cat Bauer, writes about Laguna Viva in The Venice Blog – Venetian Cat on 18 June 2018:
“The palace faces an impressive view of the Giudecca Canal, and now the garden in the back has been transformed into a very cool eatery called “sudest 1401,” enhanced by a new installation entitled “Laguna Viva“…
Assemble and WahV have created an enchanting mini lagoon, complete with salt marshes, in two tanks inside the garden. It is really remarkable … ”
Visit the blog to read the full write-up here