Architecture Biennale 2023
Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture
Model Asakusa Cultural Tourist Information Center, © Kengo Kuma & Associates.
The retrospective Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture, which is taking place at the Palazzo Cavallli-Franchetti in Venice, is showing around 22 models of some of the Japanese architect’s most significant buildings. The exhibition focuses on the dialogue between people and materials, as well as Kuma’s preoccupation with onomatopoeia, or the formation of words by imitating sounds.
View of the exhibition on the model art center Besançon and Cité de la Musique, © Kengo Kuma & Associates
“In this dialogue, I don't often use a language influenced by logic. And when I use it, it is impossible to make people understand me. That is why I always use Onomatopoeia. The material and the body are talking to each other, and they resonate when using this primal language,” says Kuma.
The exhibition tour begins right in the inner courtyard of the historical Palazzo Franchetti, where Kuma has created a temporary, 5-m-tall pavilion of aluminum that can be seen from both the Canale Grande and the Ponte dell’Accademia. The tour continues in the stairway, which features a further experimental installation: a delicate wooden sculpture intended to express the onomatopes “tsun tsun” and “zure zure”.
Model Sunny Hills Japan, © Kengo Kuma & Associates
Architecture and tradition
The upper level presents models and photographs that illustrate Kuma’s career and special attitude towards the materials used in his buildings. Kuma attempts to understand the locations of his projects and to create architecture that is as open to its surroundings as it is rooted in its situation and history. This is why he thoroughly studies each respective site before preparing a sketch or model.
Model Mont-Blanc Base Camp, © Kengo Kuma & Associates
For his projects, he turns to Japanese traditions and his preferred materials wood, paper and metal. In his vision, surfaces address not only the sense of sight, but also those of smell and touch. This vision will be elucidated in eight exhibition spaces until 26 November.
Exhibition: Kengo Kuma: Onomatopoeia Architecture
Exhibition venue: ACP - Palazzo Franchetti, S. Marco, Venice (IT)
Exhibition dates: 14 May to 26 November 2023
Opening hours: daily 10 am–6 pm, closed on Tuesdays
Further Information: acp-palazzofranchetti.com