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ISLAND Awarded Special Mention

Sarah Mann, Commissioner of the British Pavilion, accepts the award of Spaecial Mention for the Golden Lion Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Sarah Mann, Commissioner of the British Pavilion, accepts the award of Spaecial Mention for the Golden Lion
Sarah Mann, Commissioner of the British Pavilion makes her acceptance speech Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Sarah Mann, Commissioner of the British Pavilion makes her acceptance speech
Sarah Mann with Peter St John and Marcus Taylor of the ISLAND curatorial team Andrea Avezzu, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Andrea Avezzu, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Sarah Mann with Peter St John and Marcus Taylor of the ISLAND curatorial team
Sara Black, Project Manager for the British Pavilion and Sarah Mann, Commissioner for the British Pavilion on the ISLAND platform British Council

British Council

Sara Black, Project Manager for the British Pavilion and Sarah Mann, Commissioner for the British Pavilion on the ISLAND platform

26 May 2018
by Kate Le Versha

Island at the British Pavilion has been awarded Special Mention for our 'courageous' proposal.

This year for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia awarded the coveted Golden Lion Award to Switzerland, with the runner-up Special Mention being awarded to the British Pavilion for Island. La Biennale praised the British Pavilion's 'courageous proposal that uses emptiness to create a “freespace” for events and informal appropriation.' 

Sarah Mann, our Director of Architecture Design Fashion and Commissioner of the British Pavilion, commented, 'the British Council is delighted and very grateful that Great Britain has been awarded a special mention by La Biennale for our project Island curated by Caruso St John and Marcus Taylor. We are thrilled by the positive reception we have received in demonstrating architecture’s capacity to be open and generous, and look forward to welcoming the many who plan to visit the Pavilion.'

This award continues Island's position as a Pavilion of 'firsts'; this Special Mention makes British Council history as this is the first time the British Pavilion has been honoured with an award for the Architecture Biennale. Island also marks the first joint art and architecture curatorial team commissioned for the British Pavilion. For the first time the public have an opportunity to enjoy views across the Lagoon from the top of the Pavilion, and this is the first time our curatorial team have left the British Pavilion empty of exhibits and instead have created a new public gathering space in the Giardini for visitors to the Architecture Biennale.

This new space feels like a piazza, with tables, chairs and umbrellas for people to relax, and tea served each day at 4pm. The empty gallery spaces below feel abandoned, holding only the traces of the previous year's exhibition. 

Throughout the Biennale, the British Pavilion is hosting a programme of events, performances, installations and debates responding to the theme of Freespace and ideas raised by Island. The programme was launched at the opening of the Pavilion with a performance by spoken word artist Kate Tempest and has been produced in collaboration with partners including Tate Collective, the Royal Academy of Arts, the Design Museum, musician Matthew Herbert, poet Inua Ellams, Studio Wayne McGregor and many more. 

The 2018 jury members for La Biennale were Frank Barkow, Sofia Von Ellrichshausen, Kate Goodwin, Patricia Patkau and Pier Paolo Tamburelli.

For more information about Island, the accompanying programme, book and the history of the British Pavilion in Venice, please visit the UK at the Venice Biennale website.