Making a splash – creative team selected for 2016 Venice Biennale

Making a splash – creative team selected for 2016 Venice Biennale

One of Australia’s great cultural symbols will form the foundation of the Australian Exhibition at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

The Pool by Aileen Sage and Michelle Tabet was chosen by the Australian Institute of Architects’ Venice Biennale Committee for its ‘incisive interest in the connections between landscape, culture and architecture as observed through the frame of a singular architectural and landscape typology’.

Visitors will be transported poolside through an immersive multi-sensory experience within the new Denton Corker Marshall-designed pavilion. Light, scent, sound, reflection and perspective will create a series of perceptual illusions, bringing to Venice a suggestion of a particular Australian architectural condition.

The Pool by Aileen Sage and Michelle Tabet
The Pool by Aileen Sage and Michelle Tabet

Some of Australia’s most remarkable pools – be they natural or manmade, inland or coastal, temporary or permanent – will also be profiled as part of the exhibition.

‘From pools of necessity to the pools of excess, the pool is a key architectural device, a memory and also a setting. It has the unique ability to evoke both the sacred and the profane and also aptly represents a distinctively Australian democratic and social space – a great leveller of difference,’ the Creative Directors said.

Aileen Sage is a Sydney based architectural practice founded by Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holliday. The pair teamed up with Michelle Tabet, an urban strategist heading up her own boutique consulting practice, to develop the winning concept. The Creative Directors have also assembled an extended pool of cross-disciplinary collaborators to inform, refine and complement their skills and technical knowledge including Senior Advisor, Olivia Hyde.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore congratulated the team on their success.

‘I am delighted that this talented team of female architects and specialists will represent Australia at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. I have no doubt that Isabelle, Amelia, Michelle and Olivia will deliver an impressive entry for this prestigious event.

‘Isabelle and Amelia have already made an invaluable contribution to Sydney’s public architecture through their work with Neeson Murcutt Architects on our award-winning Prince Alfred Park and Pool and we are excited to have this project showcased internationally as part of the exhibition,’ Ms Moore said.

The 2016 Biennale sees the inaugural architecture exhibition in the new Australian Pavilion, which opens in May 2015. The new pavilion will attract considerable attention for its design, and for the fact that it is the first pavilion to be built within the Giardini in the 21st century.

For more information on Australia’s participation in the 2016 Venice Biennale visit

Australia’s attendance at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia is an initiative of the Australian Institute of Architects. The Institute has coordinated Australia’s presence at the Biennale Architettura since 2006. Australia’s previous exhibitions have attracted large audiences during the Biennale and then gone on to tour globally.

The exhibition is supported by City of Sydney, Austral Bricks, Smeg, Café di Stasio and Architecture Media. In addition, the Institute gratefully acknowledges the support given by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Group portrait (left to right): Amelia Holliday, Michelle Tabet and Isabelle Holand. Photo by Alex Mayes