Marie-José Van Hee architecten offer space to rest and contemplate at Biennale Architettura 2018

Marie-José Van Hee architecten offers a place in which to rest and contemplate whilst visiting the Biennale. The designers create a corner with two bed-banks, drawn by Van Hee, and show 2 works by Belgian artist Dirk Braeckman that capture her freespace. Photos and black drawings are shown in a poster tray. Marie-José Van Hee architecten is one of the Belgian architectural offices which were invited by the curators of the Biennale.

Just as the architecture of Marie-José Van Hee architecten invokes slowness, and offers spaces to calm down and step back from the hustle and bustle of contemporary society, we would like to offer a place in which to rest and contemplate whilst visiting the Biennale of architecture. We have created a corner with two bed-banks (literally: bed-benches or daybeds), furniture with a specific structural design, drawn by Van Hee. These objects were first developed in 1997 for the architect’s own house, and updated exactly 20 years later to be accessible for a wider public.

Contemplating the curator’s manifesto, working with natural light in the venue of the Arsenale, Van Hee asked the internationally acclaimed Belgian artist Dirk Braeckman - who represented Belgium at the 2017 Venice art biennale - to capture her freespace par excellence, her own house in Ghent. The diptych hangs in the semi-darkness as a counterpoint to the south-facing window.

Two custom made books showing photos and ‘black drawings’ are presented on reused lecterns, designed by Marie-José Van Hee in 1993. The content offers a small excerpt of the light, space and proportions that have formed the (un)built oeuvre of the architect over the last four decades, working together with clients and colleagues, builders, artisans and artists. One light bulb hangs in the space, reminiscent of those in her freespace in Ghent. Out of the darkness, a new project is born.

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