PRESS RELEASE: First Look at Towards A New Avant-Garde, an event and installation at the Venice Biennale

Anna Kealey
Photo credit: DEVspace

Towards a New Avant-Garde:
At the 2014 Venice Biennale, an event and installation bring together the newest generation of Italian architects to debate issues of identity, collaboration, and economics.

Venice, Italy, June 2014 – Towards a New Avant-Garde, a three-part conversation series during the opening weekend of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition— La Biennale di Venezia, brings together a new generation of Italian and international architects, confronting their motivations and work with the legacy of the radical architecture movement of the 60s and 70s. The series, taking place on Sunday, June 8, is complemented by a live-edited installation that reflects both the conversation on site and one happening simultaneously online. Produced by the New York-based consultancy Superscript, the discussions will feature a group of talented and thought-provoking young architects, bringing them face to face with practitioners from an older generation and an international group of critics and provocateurs.

Within the main Monditalia exhibition at the Corderie dell’Arsenale, Towards a New Avant-Garde addresses themes of “Internationalization,” “Collective Action,” and “Economics” over the course of three moderated discussions. The live-edited installation, designed by Brussels-based architecture firm DEVspace and French-Swiss interaction designer Thibault Brevet with students from Basel’s Hyperwerk Institute, publishes real-time commentary from the debate, which will be taking place both at the Arsenale, online at, and via social media using the hashtag #stayradical.  During the discussion, spools of paper cascading from custom-built printers will carry provocations from the organizers, comments from the participants in the Arsenale, as well as contributions from online followers tweeting with the tag #stayradical.

Towards a New Avant-Garde was developed by Superscript founding partners Vera SacchettiAvinash Rajagopal, and Molly Heintz in collaboration with design historian Catharine Rossi and architectural researcher and writer Rossella Ferorelli. “We want to generate a different kind of conversation, where the audience is the main player of the event rather than a passive receptacle of information,” says Vera Sacchetti. “By combining a spectacular large-scale ‘productive’ wall with online engagement, we’re aiming to create a new model for ongoing questioning and debate, while promoting a different kind of architectural reflection.”

The Internationalization discussion (June 8, 11am CST) focuses on the impact of Italian architecture beyond the country’s borders. Special guests, including architect and professor Alessandra Cianchetta, alongside young Italian architects such as Itinerant Office’s Gianpiero Venturini and Behemoth’s Francesco Marullo, will consider questions of Italian influence and the importance of national identity for architects. For Collective Action, (June 8, 1pm CST) editor William Menking, Italian architectural collectives IRA-C and SMALL and researcher Silvia Franceschini, among others, join in a conversation about collaboration and self-organization, reflecting on architectural movements of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s and the multi-disciplinary impulses of today. The last of three discussions centers on Economics (June 8, 3pm CST), where architect, critic and publisher Ethel Baraona Pohl,along with architects Marco Ferrari, Snark’s Marco Lampugnani and others examine models of professional practice innovated by these young architects, asking if they provide clues for the future of the profession.

The project was made possible through generous contributions from Hyperwerk Institute (Kevin Renz, Gabriel Meisel, Gabriel Kiefer, Fabian Ritzi, Ivo Ludwig, David Safranek, Matthias Maurer), and from Amelie Klein, Matthias Maurer, Niku Alex Mucaj, Becky Quintal, Fabian Ritzi, Elian Stefa, Fabrizia Vecchione, and Malte Ziegler. The project is supported by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and WallonieBruxelles International (Belgium).

“Towards a New Avant-Garde” the installation is on view June 4 through June 8; the three-part discussion series takes place on Sunday, June 8 at 11am, 1pm and 3pm CST in the main Arsenale building. Arsenale exhibition days / hours: 10 am – 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays until 27th September. Closed on Mondays (except June 9 and November 17, 2014).  Admission is 25 euros/15 euros with student ID. For more information:


Superscript is an editorial consultancy founded in 2011 that specializes in writing, editing, and content strategy across a broad range of media channels and platforms. Superscript finds new, effective ways of communicating ideas to broad audiences through accessible and engaging publications and programming. An interest in how design is presented in the public realm is the basis for Superscript’s independent projects, including exhibitions, publications, and events like the Architecture and Design Book Club (ADBC) and “On Display,” an interactive installation and conversation series at the Museum of Arts and Design.  In 2012, Superscript was named an “American Influencer” in architecture and design media by Surface magazine, and the firm’s projects have been covered by The Design ObserverUnbeigeThe Daily News, and The Huffington Post, among other publications.

Thibault Brevet
Thibault Brevet was born in 1988 in Lyon, France, and graduated from ECAL in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2012 as a graphic designer.  His work is strongly influenced by his previous studies in engineering and physics, using physical devices as a medium. He now lives and works on his personal projects in Berlin and is an interaction designer at the EPFL-ECAL Lab in Switzerland. Grand-Central, an earlier iteration of the open-source printers used in Towards a New Avant-Garde installed in Grand Central Station in New York City, has been nominated as a 2014 Design of the Year by the Design Museum in in London., @thibaultbrevet

DEVspace is an architecture collective based in Brussels. The three principals, Philippe De Clerck, Pierre Escobar and Yannick Vanhaelen, officially opened their practice in 2013, but had started working together since 2007 as architecture students. Sharing the same ambition and interests, they participated in winning competitions, workshops and small construction projects while gaining professional experiences in various offices before founding their practice. DEVspace is engaging in all spatial questions ranging from furniture and interior design to master planning, from object to territory. As spatial quality is more than ever a societal and political question, DEVspace aims at a collaborative approach bridging disciplines in order to tackle any challenge where matters of space have a role to play. In addition to their practice, the three principals are active in the academic field: education and writing have the same level of importance as design and building. Today, DEVspace is active through several architecture projects in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy while participating in several theoretical research projects.