Other Review

Other Review is a digest of findings that casts light on design process, contemporary ideas and creative inspiration. Through communication, we aim to examine the importance of design piece by piece.

By Each Other Company
November 2, 2018

We had a chance to talk to Dua Studio on the designing process of Sunyata for Indonesia Pavilion 2018 at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Get to know their behind-the-scene process along with their best picks in Venice.

E: How did your participation in Indonesia Pavilion get started?

D: The announcement of the competition definitely caught our attention, it sounded very exciting to us. Although, at first, we were not expecting too much on joining the competition, but then, we met Ary Indra in a couple of events in Jakarta. It was a casual invitation and talks to join the competition, and we agreed.

E: Tell us about the team behind Indonesia Pavilion.

D: It is interesting that we have never actually got to know each other before Venice. However, we are very happy to be able to work together during the whole process of making Sunyata, and up until now, we still manage to support each other. Ary Indra and David Hutama are the ones that have had the initial idea about Sunyata. As for us, we were responsible to translate and explore the idea into design, and Ars were responsible on the technology supports.

E: What is the main idea behind “Sunyata” and what does the word means?

D: Sunyata comes from Sanskrit, it means emptiness or voidness. Sunya translates to “zero”, “empty”, or “void”. It is empty but it has a meaning of being empty, so it is an active entity.

E: Why paper installation? What are you trying to say?

D: That’s interesting. Paper is tend to be seen as a fragile material. We decided to focus on how paper as a material could be perceived as a new experience, a new space to enjoy, touch and feel. Paper is a material that has very unique and particular character. I would say it is subtle, fragile yet fun.

E: The curatorial team have done the research on vernacular architecture in Indonesia for Sunyata exhibition. Tell us about your findings.

D: We think that vernacular architecture has an important role to shape our contemporary architecture. We are interested in an idea that the contemporary architecture should not ignore the value of the past, but also should not replicate it.

E: How was the preparation at the venue in Venice back then knowing that you and the team arrived a month earlier?

D: We see paper as a delicate and subtle material which should be treated in a sensitive manner. That is why we decided to go to Venice a month earlier before the opening. To cut, sew, and adjust the paper manually there. We had to sew the paper manually in approximately 24 m length. We enjoyed this process a lot, for us it was almost like building the pavilion with our own hand.

E: Looking at Dua Studio’s works, there seems to be a lot of explorations on geometric shapes. The same goes with Sunyata. Tell us more about it.

D: We love geometric shapes. They are basic, simple, and could be arranged or composed to create a particular positive-negative space in between. We love the studies about figure-ground, solid-void. We like the idea that architecture could start from the inside, from the spatial quality.

E: Name five best-designed and thought-provoking pavilions at the Biennale Architettura 2018 that caught your attention, and why?

D: British Pavilion - “Island”. Britain translates the freespace topic into their pavilion in a very clear and poetic way.

Swiss Pavilion - “House Tour”. It is very unique and fun experience to see the Swiss Pavilion, and looking the freespace topic on how scale can be interpreted.

Bahrain Pavilion - “Friday Sermon”. Bahrain had thoughtful topic and idea, it is interesting to see that a national pavilion could evoke a very global topic about architecture and society.

Vatican Chapel - "The Holy See". This year is the first time Vatican joining the Architecture Biennale, some architects were invited to design chapels. We saw an idea about freeing the chapel from specific religious sites. Each chapel represents the character and approach from the architects, manipulating our perception about chapel and its spatial quality. Like seeing something religious from the other perspective.

Aires Mateus - “Field”. Aires Mateus evokes the experience of tactility, using real soil, plants, that give particular smells and atmosphere.

E: Looking ahead, where are you guys aiming/planning for after the Biennale Architettura 2018?

D: After the Biennale, we will keep exploring on something new. We are looking for more opportunities to come, to participate in both local and international events, competition or projects. We also look forward to collaborate with more projects, exhibition, and most importantly, on studies.

E: Lastly, what are some best finds in Venice?

D: Venice itself is beautiful in general. The food—and gelato of course—was amazing. Italian food will never let you down. We had a quick morning run in the first week in Venice, and had San Marco as the background. It was an amazing experience.

But above all of that, I guess meeting people was the best one. From speaking to locals in the market, to meet random guys from other part of the world discussing about architecture and life.

Indonesia Pavilion 2018
16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia
Sunyata: The Poetics of Emptiness
26 May–25 November 2018
Venice, Giardini and Arsenale (map)


Related interviews:
The Outlines: Andra Matin, Ary Indra and Don Pieto On Their Participations at the Biennale Architettura 2018 (Apr 1, 2019) by Each Other Company
The Insiders: Immanuel-Johannes Palar (Feb 20, 2019) by Januar Rianto
#OnPaperJakarta Exhibitors on Working with Paper by Each Other Company
The Insiders: Putty Dewikarina by Januar Rianto
Felicia Budi on Less Waste by Immanuel-Johannes Palar

Other Review is published in Jakarta by Each Other Company.
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